“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” — Mahatma Gandhi
A small kitten, found with burns (either from fire or chemicals) all over its back. A one-month old Pit Bull puppy, used as bait and then discarded and left to die alone. A senior dog, so neglected and matted that the hair on its leg acted as a tourniquet, cutting off circulation, resulting in a necessary leg amputation.
The stories go on and on and on, some of them so horrifying, you have to wonder how a person could even think of such an atrocious act.
And then there are the stories that, to some, might not even seem like abuse. A dog left on a heavy chain in the yard, the “guard dog” whose sole purpose is to ward off trespassers and provide security. He’s lived on the end of that chain for four years now, fed and watered every day, but never loved, never petted, never noticed.
Or how about the guy who suspects his neighbor is involved in dog fighting, but does nothing about it? After all, he isn’t positive and anyway, he really doesn’t want to get involved because it doesn’t directly affect him.
Really? All of these cases are abuse, pure and simple. You’re kidding yourself if you don’t think so.
When did we, as a society, become so uncaring?
I remember when I was a kid, a time when my mother took a stand for animals. There was a horse on a farm that we drove by almost every day, and that horse was continuously tied to a stake, unable to move, unable to lie down. There was no food or water in sight. And that horse stood in that very same spot for days. My mom, outraged by this blatant neglect, called Animal Control and the very next day, they went out and removed the horse from that terrible situation. He was later put up for auction, and a local farmer bought the horse for his children.
My mom saved that horse, if you ask me. She was outraged by the terrible mistreatment the horse was getting, and she spoke up. She didn’t look the other way or make excuses for why the horse was being neglected. She said, “Enough is enough,” and she got involved.
On another occasion, my mom and I were in the car on our way to the hospital to visit my dying grandfather. A cat darted out in front of the car, and my mother hit it. She got out of the car to find the cat dead, and we spent the next hour going door to door in the neighborhood until we found the cat’s owners. She wanted them to know what had happened, and how sorry she was. She told them that if it was her cat, she hoped that the person who’d hit it would do the same thing.
Nowadays, people don’t do what my mom did. They look the other way or they change the channel (think: the Sarah McLachlan SPCA commercial) and they hope someone else will get involved.
I’m amazed at how people don’t realize the power of One. They think, “I’m just one person, I can’t make a difference,” when in fact One person can do so much. It takes just one spark to start a great forest fire – who says YOU can’t be that spark?
Making a difference means getting off the couch. It requires speaking up, even when staying silent is easier. It involves going out on a limb. But I promise you, because I know from first-hand experience, that there truly is nothing as rewarding as doing something for someone who can never repay you.
Are you willing to do it? Will you be just One for an animal in need? Isn’t it time you got involved?