Compassion starts at home.

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by mischief, Aug 16, 2004.

  1. mischief macrumors 68030


    Aug 1, 2001
    Santa Cruz Ca
    My wife and I have been aiding in the publication of a book over the last two or three years. She appears briefly in the book and was working at the Animal Shelter featured.

    Link to the website of the Not-for-proffit formed by the Authors:

    Before I get a flood of "You must be an Animal Nutcase" responses I wanted to place some context.

    In the USA, and in much of the world there's an incredible problem presented by the overpopulation and calous treatment of companion animals. My wife and I have personally fostered over three hundred kittens, most of these were the hard cases: Semi-ferals, Failing To Thrive (animal essentially gives up on living... a gutwrenching form of terminal depression in something so young.), pre-wean, etc.

    Of those a staggering number would be unrecoverable from illness or depression and require euthanasia. I have restrained dogs, cats and kittens that I'd spent weeks coaxing back to life while they were injected. I've had them die in my hands from massive systemic failures in the middle of the night. I have the terrible scent of Death mixed with Sodium Pentabarbital burned into my brain.

    I have seen animals driven unrecoverably insane by the time they spend in Shelters and have to be euthanized. I have seen fighting Pit Bulls brought in after they had lost and were dumped. I have seen "Bait Dogs" dumped in the same condition. I have seen wonderful animals surrendered by owners who simply stopped caring. I have seen other wise compassionate humans treat their Animals terribly.

    What have I learned from all of this?

    I have learned that we rarely treat our animals better than we treat our families. In fact there is a direct correlation between the compassion one shows their pets and the compassion with which one treats one's children and spouse. Humane Officers are trained to watch for patterns of abuse in companion animals for precisely this reason.

    I have learned that compassion is often reserved for when it is convenient and thus rendered ingenuinely callous.

    We must keep in mind that suffering is always preventable and never occurs in a vacuum. It is from this premise that I propose the following Hypothesis: Go to the above site. Go buy the book "One at a Time". The values of our culture that are based so deeply on Compassion need re-enforcement on a level that can only begin in each home. What better place to start that with our pets? If we as a Nation can make an impact on the suffering and overpopulation of our Companions we have a real demonstration that we can do it for ourselves and each other.

    Thoughts? Comments?
  2. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Jul 16, 2002
    Well said, thanks for posting your thoughts.

    When I was a kid, one of my neighbors owned a German Shepherd that had a reputation for being the meanest dog for miles around. I learned from the youngest son of the family that the dog was often abused by their dad and locked in their basement. Sometimes the animal bit family members. The father, not much of a surprise, was a nasty SOB. The son? He was a pretty good friend most of the time, but every so often, without cause or provocation, he'd beat me up. I didn't understand then what I know now: Rage is a communicable disease.
  3. mischief thread starter macrumors 68030


    Aug 1, 2001
    Santa Cruz Ca

    If you can rationalize abuse of one family member you can rationalize abusing another. Similarly, if you can rationalize abusing family it's easy to rationalize abusing ethnic, religious, sexual or other whole catagories of people because they are somehow "less" human.

    This is a sad state of affairs and goes hand in hand with a kind of cowardice partaining to personal responsibility. The arguement often used for not spay/neutering: " It's unnatural" is eerily close to the abstinance as birth control arguement of the far right. As above, so below as the shamanists say.
  4. Lyle macrumors 68000


    Jun 11, 2003
    Madison, Alabama
    Ah, OK. And by that token, I suppose the "far left" would embrace the human equivalent of No Voice Unheard's recommendation to "Spay and neuter our animals so that they do not contribute to companion animal overpopulation"; namely, that we sterilize human beings who aren't willing or able to accept responsibility for their reproductive behavior.

    Your original post about this project and its goals stood well on its own. However, speaking as a conservative who's a long-time pet owner and supporter of our local no-kill animal shelter, I have to tell you that it really cheapens things for you to then exploit that by taking a cheap political shot at the "far right".
  5. mischief thread starter macrumors 68030


    Aug 1, 2001
    Santa Cruz Ca
    Nice of you to overreact.

    I could get into it with you over No-kill's inherent illegitimacy but I won't. It'd take up too much time.

    In terms of reproduction: Humans have choices that animals don't: Condoms,IUD, Vaginal inserts, hormone based birth control, etc. These are the analog for people. Can you picture condoming your dog? I can't.

    BTW: Who said I was on the far left?

    Nothing like reproduction to bring out the knee jerk zealots.
  6. yellow Moderator emeritus


    Oct 21, 2003
    Portland, OR
    Thanks mischief.

    I am consistantly accused of treating my cats better then my family..

    I'll share a litte of my experiences with pets in my adult life:
    My wife and I have adopted numerous cats, donated adoption fees for "special needs" cats, contributed financially, and donated necessities. Our object of affection is SAFE Haven For Cats. Even though we live in a small apartment (~1000sqft), we have 3 cats and very much want more. My cats are my children. Children who don't ask to borrow the car.
  7. emw macrumors G4


    Aug 2, 2004
    For those of us who have pets (I have 2 dogs that are an integral part of our family), this is indeed a moving post. I would have to agree that too many people don't have pets - they have animals. There is a very distinct difference - pets are part of the family and are treated as such. Animals are property.

    Not sure about the "far right" comment, though. This thread is about compassion, not condemnation. Those who chose not to spay or neuter their pets are cannot arbitrarily be labeled as either "far right" or not being compassionate. They may simply chose to avoid situations in which their pets could procreate.
  8. Desertrat macrumors newbie

    Jul 4, 2003
    Terlingua, Texas
    Good on ya, mischief. It's just a shame that people's irresponsibility have laid that trip on you.

    I grew up helping to take care of a range of domestic animals as well as pets. I've never understood how people can be so wilfully abusive, or so ignorant as to animals' needs.

    A fair number of my pet dogs and cats, back when I was a kid and then again when I lived on the old family ranch, were "throwaways". Too many of these throwaways, however, were dealt with rather harshly, albeit quickly. And I still remember a lady at the humane shelter commenting when I brought in a dog, "Yeah, they probably drove right by here on their way out to your part of the country."

    Kudos for your efforts...

  9. mischief thread starter macrumors 68030


    Aug 1, 2001
    Santa Cruz Ca
    First off.... Thanx for the support. It's often an overlooked need.

    Secondly: I guess I did get a little out of hand with making parallels to a political position I personally find similarly appalling....

    I just got to thinking that it's really all symptoms of the same problem. This society seems to by NIMBYing itself into mass sociopathy... It's disressing to say the least and often leaves me either disgusted or depressed.

    There's a distinct lack of personal responsibility out there... it leads to some very nasty things. Everything from the main issue of this thread to road rage comes down to "Not my problem".

    I now have an infant to think about so that attitude has me more offended than I ever thought possible.

    Much of it can be explained away by Bystander Effect ( ) But even that can be removed with conscious effort.

    I think that anyone you interact with in a day that has a "not my problem" attitude needs a copy of this book. It's written as it was researched: A week in the life of an animal shelter. Every animal is tracked and a selection were profiled in narrative. It's rare to find any book with a cause that's not absolutely rabid about it's message. This one manages to find a ballance between illustrating the problem and defining a solution.

    Unlike many publications from groups like PETA it says nothing about Veganism or the evils of being Human. :p

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