The thing about adjectives!

The thing about adjectives is: we need to watch how they change us!

Adjectives modify nouns. And that’s fine and dandy when that noun is an inanimate object like a table or a chair. We don’t just buy tables and chairs. We buy that ‘white table’ or those ‘retro chairs’. Adjectives help us decide whether the table or chairs are for us. And they do a lot more… ‘tell me what was it like for you?’ Answer in adjectives. ‘Describe him/her to me!’ Answer in adjectives. We build pictures with adjectives: bright, big, beautiful, dark, frightening…’ Do adjectives change our behaviour? Yes, and often necessarily so.

If the road is dark and dangerous, you’re going to be more cautious. How about the word dog? What adjectives could go before dog to change how you behave around a dog or think about them? Most of you reading this won’t alter your innate feeling for dogs regardless of the adjectives that precede them: you love dogs and if you don’t, you probably wouldn’t want anything cruel to happen them. So, what about a vet, working in a well-known practice looking after your sick dog? He talks really nicely to your dog as he proceeds to examine him/her. You have a sick (adjective) dog and his response is appropriate. But, what if we put the word ‘pound’ before dog. What if the same vet treated another dog differently because of one adjective? Would you want that vet taking care of your dog? Afterall what is the difference between ‘your dog’ and a ‘pound dog’? Getting lost or being stolen and dumped could convert your dog into a pound dog.

Sydney Nagle is a practicing vet. He takes care of lots of dogs in his practice. He also supplied a lethal drug to staff at Ashton Pound. A drug only to be administered by a vet intravenously. Orally taking it causes horrific, prolonged suffering as organs shut down. Sydney Nagle knew this: Sydney Nagle didn’t care. An adjective changed his behaviour by choice.

I’m not sure who it was that warned me as a teenager to watch out how someone you like treats others. It’s useless if he/she is kind to you and horrible to others. After all it’s telling of the person: how he/she treats other people in day to day life, and indicative of what’s in store for you. After all everyone is capable of putting on a show. We should also care about what happens when the ‘curtains come down’.

As a vet, Mr Nagle is obliged to adhere to ethics in practice. And I’m sure infront of clients he is all heart and professional. But it’s what goes on behind those closed doors that tell us more about man-kind and this is very apt when it comes to vulnerable public/private service users: like children, the elderly, and pound dogs.A lot went on behind the closed doors of Ashton. A lot went on that was desperately cruel and it’s hard to digest what was revealed in the twenty pages that formed the protected disclosure made to Dublin City Council. But again it was probably that one adjective that formulated their response: pound dogs, who cares? Because they knew; they did nothing to stop it. They were obliged to: morally and professionally.

I’m not sure how I would live with myself knowing that dogs died for days because of a substance I supplied to people with no regard for welfare of animals. I’m also not sure how this man can walk through his practice doors and hold any dog after what he has been part of.

Yes, be careful of adjectives: they can make or break you. Be careful what adjectives you assign to yourself in your internal dialogue. Adjectives: Yes, they certainly modify more than nouns. Whatever we think, we feel, and whatever we feel will form our behaviour and the circle continues. They certainly sealed the fates of many dogs who unfortunately through no fault of their own, became pound dogs. That adjective was forced on them, but it’s really important to remember they could have been your dog/s. It’s equally important to keep an eye on your pound and if it’s behaving badly, contact your council and if you meet apathy, remind them what happened in Ashton, remind them these are dogs, they matter, and they are more than their adjectives.

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