It’s that time of year: shy foals shadowing their mums; furry doe-eyes puppies and kittens flooding our Facebook feeds… It’s all cuteness overload, well, until the ‘rescue mind-set’ kicks in: there aren’t enough homes for all these foals, puppies, and kittens. You find yourself asking out loud to yourself, ‘WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE?’ A lot of these foals we see are a result of indiscriminate breeding where some come from mares exhausted after making it through another Winter – not to mention giving birth AGAIN! A lot will be be put back into foal straight away. Some of the luckier ones we see via rescue pages made it out of the pounds or barren fields into rescue space before they gave birth! Their filly or colt will never know the life of their parents. But what about all the others? People are breeding and they don’t own land; some invade other people’s property to feed their horses; they don’t feed in the winter, and most don’t even own a bucket for water! Meanwhile, animal rescues struggle to rehome the mass amount of dogs coming into them whilst councils are dishing out puppy breeding licences as if these breeders were making inanimate objects! Elsewhere, Kittens and puppies are being born into homes where their owners wouldn’t know a vet clinic from the inside! It is both heartbreaking and infuriating to find kittens a few days or weeks old fighting for their lives. Imagine how we would manage as people? And so, with human greed and selfishness, the vicious cycle of animal neglect continues-an automatic cruel inheritance – not genetic; man-made!
Life is really akin to a lengthy corridor with a generic start and finish line. Along this corridor are many doors. Each one is a door of choice. We have so many choices on this path to the end! As humans we are gifted with freewill and choices. Most of us are blessed to have our full mental capacity to make rational choices. We know the difference between right and wrong! Yet, there are still those who mindfully choose ‘wrong’.
At the end of the day, we all get to the same finish line! But what about the foot print we leave behind? I guess, it might depend on the doors of choice we choose to walk in and out of along the way.
Fortunately, some of us don’t even consider certain doors of choice which entail ‘personal gain/selfish need fulfilment but the price is ‘other/animal suffering’ an option.The enticing headline for some, is ugly to most of us!
So, what is it that we need to do to make those doors of choice less attractive to others to enter? Hefty fines, prison sentences… what about early intervention? After all we can’t really change our IQ but our EQ can be intervened with! Yes, someone with a low emotional quotient can gain a higher EQ with intervention – like teaching empathy, mindfulness, and care.
You see, there are the other doors we can choose and with the right EQ – doors of choicewhose titles are initially maybe less attractive and enticing at first are the worthier paths to take.Words like ‘sacrifice’ and ‘selflessness’ sum them up. But the sub-heading reads: rewarding, a sense of doing good, giving back, purpose & personal peace of mind.
Yes, some of us will get to the finish line with lots of paw prints etched onto our heart-scape. We will have memorable tears of those we lost too soon and those we had forever. We will have loved completely and gave without limits… we will have been loved unconditionally. We will be happy and content with what we did with our lives.
In the last two weeks, two particular rescues reenforce for me how human choices and behaviour can cause such misery, fear, and confusion in animals! A young dog was rescued from a place where the human hand meant pain. In his rescue space at Babydog Rescue, the power of care and compassion caused his fear and aggression to come undone! While being petted, his big brown eyes look at his carer as if to say ‘what is this? I love it!’ Yes, the power of touch!
I was part of a rescue this week, which An Cat Dubh organised. There was a young donkey dumped in a forest and he was there for two years! It was a special rescue as when we pulled up with transport, there were many caring people waiting, to bring a donkey named Delaney home! And yes he was, to An Cat Dubh!
Back to life’s finish line! Beside us will be those who caused unnecessary suffering, who used and abused animals for money, who inflicted pain to distract from their own and who got thrills out of torture for their own negative needs. What do you think that day will be like for them?
I recall a hospice nurse telling me about a man dying. No medication could control the excruciating pain that was pulling his body apart. But that concerned him less than a another pain: the one caused by deep deep regret! It was crucifying his mind.
‘I’m sorry,’ he repeated again and again. ‘I’m so sorry,’ he screamed out to the room empty of friends or family. All he had was her to listen to his cries of regret.
So she asked him who it was he wished he could say sorry to. And as he took his last few breaths, he told her about a Collie who stayed by his side, who remained loyal, who watched over his house from morning till night. A collie who he inflicted so much pain on, for that Collie took on the weight of that man’s world.
Yes, we are a sum of our choices. When people choose to abuse animals, make them suffer in any way, well, that choice should be punished with the animal welfare legislation in place! And as individuals we should never give up on an animal suffering until a resolution is reached. Wouldn’t you want someone to fight for you if your day to day life was one of fear, hunger, and pain?