Wednesday, 18 May 2011
People seem to find it shocking when I say that I trust an animal more than I would ever trust any human being. The statement seems to bring people to the conclusion that I don’t like people and that isn’t true. Human beings have a tendency for deceit, we all do it. Most, hopefully tell little lies, ones that don’t hurt anyone, but some tell some crackers. Whichever way you look at it, deceit is deceit but we often seem to find an excuse for its use. Animals don’t do deceit, no fibs or lies, they are straight forward in their attitude to people, other animals, any aspect of life. What you see is what you get.
I know that our cats will come to us when they want affection and trying to force it on them is usually tolerated but rarely appreciated. Our degu are only interested if we’re feeding them or giving them a new toy to play with. In both cases, the main thing that really makes the difference is that, despite their sometimes ignorant attitude to us, if another human being comes in the house, the degu hide and so do the cats. The message we get from their behaviour is that we are known, trusted and that they feel safe with us and that’s all I ask of them.
I think I’m probably a sucker for the underdog by way of concern for children and animals. Cruelty to either is just not acceptable. In all honesty cruelty to anyone or any living thing is unacceptable but in the case of children and animals they are so dependent that to abuse them is the lowest of actions and puts bacteria and amoeba in a higher rank of life than the offender.
What is it that brings this subject to mind? Recent events in our home have brought us a new addition.
My partner, Pat, has always been a dog person but she’s been won over with my love of cats and we’ve trundled along on the feline side for the duration of our 9 year relationship. Our dog, Tim, mainly lived with Pat’s parents and so my experience of our canine friends was a little vague. Tim died in 2006 at the age of 15 and although he and I were good friends (I used to play with him while the adults did the boring talking) we couldn’t have him live with us. It would have been cruel, in his old age, to have been taken away from the environment he’d always known and with both Pat and I working full time it just wasn’t an option.
Last year, while discussing my future ministry training I asked Pat if we could have a dog if I qualified. It didn’t take much for her to say yes. I haven’t even started my training yet but we’ve got the dog.
A couple of weeks ago, and without going into too much detail, a family member asked us if we would have their dog as they had ceased interest since the birth of their baby. We said yes, after all, that way we could be sure he’d go to a good home and he’s a lovely dog. We certainly weren’t expecting the ‘kick-off’ in the family that followed and we had to retract our offer in order to keep some kind of peace. When you’ve had your expectations built up and then deflated so suddenly it can make you change previously sound plans. A couple of times since, Pat has mentioned about us getting a dog, I think she was looking forward to having a canine friend around again. Sunday afternoon, just over a week ago, I asked her if she wanted to go and have a look at the dogs at the local dogs home.
Cheshire Dogs Home is smaller than I had expected but the tragedy of these innocent lives is frustrating to say the very least. Easily 95% of the dogs were Staff or Pitbull breed, which made me wonder if this meant that some people had decided it would be some kind of status symbol which they found also needed looking after and had changed their minds.
Pat fell in love with a beautiful white and tan chap, sitting quietly at the back of the pen. We had a walk round with him and he seemed to very much like us. This was when I was won over. He was so loving and affectionate that I couldn’t help but find myself wanting to take him home. The following day, we went back and adopted him.
These dogs come with little, if any, reliable history and so adopting one is a big responsibility because it means taking on possible problems and mental health issues which have been incurred during their lives. It has to be a decision to do as much as possible to ensure that you do not add to the animals problems and try and give them a stable and loving environment to recuperate from the past and have hope in the future.
Our new addition came to us with an infection which had not been picked up by the home and has displayed behaviours that certainly need checking. I can tell, for a while at least, he’s going to be hard work, but I can also see what a wonderful companion and friend he will make to both of us for seeing him through. We’ll all gain from the experience.
Harry is a cross between a whippet and a Staffordshire terrier. He’s a very strong dog and pulls my arm out of its socket taking him for a walk. The work starts here and that’s fine.
Humanity is truly the most aggressive and dangerous of all animals. If we didn’t cause so much suffering animal homes would not be required. I sadly see so many comparisons between how we treat animals and how we treat children and the comparisons are not always pleasant.
We all come from the same force of life. We are all part of the one divine entity. We are all from the same family and our common parent is God or whatever force you believe in.
Grant us the patience and determination to live with all your creation in harmony and peace.
When our motivation begins to lumber, grant us the grace to ensure the marks we leave on this life are not those that scar the heart of another.
Posted by Shammy at 13:33