Sunday, December 10, 2006

A late wedding present

A wedding present for Jen, and many many others. Congratulations

I know there are things that are much more important to humans, but, how we treat those in our care says a lot about us.

I cannot abide mistreatment of animals. This includes ignoring them and not meeting their basic needs for companionship as well as outright abuse.

You do not get a pet unless you are committed to taking care of that pet for its life. They do not understand when you are not interested anymore. They do not understand when you do not have time for them. They do not get it when you are too busy.

I love dogs. I LOVE dogs. I do not have a dog because i do not have the time to devote to a dog. Dogs are pack animals. They need to be where you are and to be doing what you are doing.

I love cats. We have three of them. Em and i clean cat cages at a shelter every Sunday morning. It’s all i can do not to bring more of them home every week. The kittens are no problem, as they will get adopted right away. It’s the 10 year old cat who is shy that i worry about. The one who has been in that same cage for the past 3 weeks. The one who was surrendered because her owners moved to a new apartment that didn’t allow pets. How could they do that? To take a pet that has been part of their house for 10 years and dump her. It makes me sick.

You all know what to do already, because you would never be so callous with an animal in your care. But, get your animals neutered. Get them microchipped. And love them.

The other place i volunteer does counseling for kids from 6 to 20 years of age. The kids who are thrust into foster care are much like the cats in the cages. The cages are bigger and many kids are well taken care of, but they are as puzzled and frightened as the cats are about why they are in this cage. It really tears me apart to talk with these kids. So many of them are hopeful about getting back together with a parent. From what i can see, some of the parents care more about themselves, and the alcohol or drugs or the latest boyfriend.

These kids are as abandoned as the cats.
And as with the cats, i show them what kindness and affection i can when we are together. But what they really need i do not have to give them.


Girlplustwo said...

but you give, nonetheless..and that is more than many.

throwaways of any shape break my heart.

what's that, you ask..oh, that's just me, dragging you onto the dancefloor.

urban-urchin said...

wow meno. You inspire me to be a better person.

these kids break my heart, children should never be throwaways. never, ever.

SUEB0B said...

Yes, thanks for all the work you do.

I was a shelter volunteer too. It is so tempting to become filled with rage at all the stupid people who abandon their animals for some stupid reason ("We got a new couch and we wanted to keep it nice" for example).

But I soon realized that I could not carry all that rage and keep going. I had to let it go with a shake of my head.

Anonymous said...

I wish that I could express the same sentiment as eloquently as you have.

Isn't it perplexing that you are required to have a license to drive a car, a permit to carry a gun, a passport to travel and yet......anyone with a hormonal surge can procreate.

Giving back to society isn't exactly for the faint-hearted. Thanks, Meno.

thailandchani said...

I could write a book on this! I agree with everything you've said, including the basic principle. Animals, nor people, are disposable when they are no longer convenient.



QT said...

Meno - I agree 1000% - many people are raised to believe animals are disposable. I have two dogs (sporting breeds at that!) and it is a challenge to kepp them occupied, or to explain to someone that I have to go home because they have been in a crate too long.

Thanks for volunteering for those animals - it means just as much as anything you could do for a person.

Anonymous said...

My sixteen year old shelter cat Sammy is sitting here as I comment: he is so much more loyal and loving than most people and he has probably saved my life twice, how could somebody dump their 10 year old cat at the shelter? At the worst couldn't they find a willing aunt or cousin or friend? As for children, people think its like getting a teddy bear, or they don't think at all. I wonder what message young people get from Britney--two babies won't keep her from partying, I guess.

Mother of Invention said...

They,(animals and people) are all part of our larger extended family and they shoukd be treated as such. You never think you can even put a dent in the solution, but you can feel good that you've done your part and far more than most. It is at least rewarding to know you've made a difference no matter how small.

(I just want to take that 10 year old cat home!)

karmic said...

You are spot on about dogs. *A* is a dog person and I love them too. But with our crazy hours we are holding off on getting a dog for now.
As you said they will be a part of our family and if we can't give them the best, what's the point?

Lynnea said...

You know how some people are smart enough to say I can't have children because I wouldn't be a good enough mom or dad? Well I am smart enough to say I can't have a dog because I just couldn't devote myself to one the way I ought to.
I admire your ability to volunteer and not spend your days depressed. Watching children suffer through abandonment would have me on edge constantly. I want to adopt every lost kid in the world.

Josephine said...

Cruelty to animals is a major source of depression and point of contention in my life.

In countless occasions, I have abandoned friendships when I found out that the friend believed in human sovreignty over animals.

I have been called a cloud walker and a hippie. But I grew up a naturalist, climbing trees, admiring buttercups. In my opinion, because of our advanced ability to reason and engineer, we are burdened with the responsibility of ensuring that our lives not only don't harm other humans, but that our lives also do not harm animals.

But, God in Heaven, the atrocity. We are a bunch of brutes, and this is, in many ways, still the darkest of ages.

Bob said...

It is amazing how egocentric humans are. We share this planet with tens of thousands of other animals. We are the only animal that is capable of the awareness of these other species and their place in the ecosystem. And yet 99% of us totally disregard them, or worse yet use them to our advantage without regard of their place in this world. Every living creature deserves respect.

We weren't always the dominant species on this planet. We may not always remain so. It behoves us to keep that in mind in case we have to justify our continued existance.

I admire your efforts to help these children in need and the abandoned pets. It shames me that I'm not doing something similar. Thank you for your efforts.

Carolie said...

I am right there on your side about the animals...which is why I do not have a pet here in Japan as much as I'd like one (my extremely elderly cats live with my brother, as I was unwilling to subject them to a trans-continental and trans-pacific flight--I wept more leaving them than I did leaving my mom!)

As for foster kids, there is a great link here to purchase Christmas gifts requested by foster children. I couldn't resist a request for the whole Narnia series by a 14-year-old boy! I've linked to Baggage's site, because her post has a bunch of helpful links, including a link to Amazon where you do your normal shopping, but 12 to 15% of your order goes to Little Wishes.

Carolie said...

Patches, I am completely on the same page with you!! To take it a step further, how come anyone, no matter how drug addled or messed up, can have a child, but those of us who want to adopt have to have tens of thousands of dollars and jump through a bazillion hoops?

There is a thirteen-year-old here in Japan who I desperately want to adopt. She is being shuffled monthly between the houses of her two aunts and her uncle, none of whom want her, all of whom complain about having to take her...but none of whom are willing to let someone "non-family" raise her. She's parentless and so very lost and alone, but with the greatest smile you've ever seen. She loves me, I love her. But instead, she has to stay with people who don't want her. *sigh*

meno said...

jen. :)

u-u, it's pretty awful sometimes. I am not one of those people who could adopy 27 foster kids, and even if i was, it would still be a drop in the bucket.

suebob, i've seen that "couch" excuse too. People can really suck. But you are right about the rage, i can't let it consume me.

patches, oh how i wish that there was a reverse birth control pill so that you had to take them to get pregnant. Or a license. Imagine the uproar if any politican suggested it though. I'd vote for them.

chani, i just don't understand how anyone could say that animals have no feelings and discard them like trash. Arrogant assholes.

d-man, can you lick your own balls/ass? That would be a tick worth knowing.

qt, wow, that's a lot of dog. Thank you for taking good care of them.

gr, two of our cats are shelter cats too. They are the best, and the real loser is the person who gave them up because she "couldn't care for them any longer." Translate, they aren't cute kittens any longer. Time to get some new ones.

MOI, it's frustrating not to be able to take them all home, but then i couldn't really care for any of them as they deserve.

sanjay, good for you. Many people don't understand the work involved in getting a dog. What fun it will be when you can get one though. Do you have a breed in mind?

maggie, that's why i don't have a dog either. There's just not enough time in the world to be sad about all the things there are in the world to be sad about. I kind of just put it in a box and hope i'm doing a tiny tiny bit to help.

josephine, that would be a friendship breaker for me too. I do eat meat, but i buy the free range stuff and try not to feel badly. We are brutes. I somethings think that we don't deserve to be here. How's that for a depressing thought?

bob, exactly. Why do people think that they are so important that they can dominate the rest of the world for our own gain? Also, i didn't do much volunteering until i retired, i just didn't have the time/energy. Someday you will.

carolie, i can't imagine leaving my cats, but i can't imagine putting them through that ordeal either. I'm glad that you found a good alternative. Thanks for the link.

Mad said...

Thanks for this post. There were at least two other guests at the wedding who wrote about cruelty to animals and one other who talked about the problems with the foster care system. These issues clearly resonate and I am so honoured that you chose to discuss them as part of this wedding. Thanks.

Melessa Gregg said...

I thought I was the only person who 'got it' about dogs and chooses not to have one even though I love them. I have four children, I don't have the energy that a dog requires. Maybe when the kids go I will feel differently. We have cats too.