Friday, February 19, 2010

At Our Mercy

(Picture Left: "Morris" --Neglected for a number of years in former home. Finally finding compassion and responsibility.)

From: Lawrence White

Sent: Feb 17, 2010 10:17 PM

Subject: Abandoned and left to die

I was out shooting photos in a rural part of upstate NY today when I spotted a beautiful but very thin dog standing on the side of a rarely used country road. Of course it had been snowing for two days so it was obvious that this dog was in distress.

With that in mind I ran into the nearby hamlet and picked up a few cans of dog food. When I came back this big boy ate all three cans in short order and gulped down some fresh water.

While he was eating I inspected the scene and it soon became apparent what had happened. Some heartless fool had simply pulled over to the roadside (in spite of the snow, tire tracks were still visible), let the dog out and drove away. The dog had stayed in that spot the entire time waiting for his owner to return. This dog's loyalty would not allow him to leave.

With the freezing temperatures and continuing snow it is a miracle he survived out in the open.

After about an hour of coaxing he finally decided to get into my car and he is now sleeping at my feet in my studio.

This is a great dog who has a generous spirit, a huge heart and a deep desire to please. He loves love. I imagine he is about one and half years old and weighs about 80 lbs. He will fill out now that he will be eating consistently.

Due to my work schedule and issues with my landlord - sadly I am not able to keep him here for any longer than a few days. However he is so handsome and so agreeable I know that he will find a good home with someone who wants a real pal to hang out with. Please cross post and let me know if you hear of anyone who is interested. Thanks. // LW Contact:

I am posting the above appeal that was sent to me in email and requested to be shared.

I do so for a couple of reasons:

The first is to obviously lend support to a good Samaritan who went out of his way to do a merciful deed. One hates to imagine what would have happened to this pitiful and loyal dog had the compassionate photographer not happened along.

But, the other reason is to wonder out loud what some people are thinking?

In these days when every community has a pound or Animal Control shelter that is required to accept every animal, why would some people choose to abandon a pet to the elements -- especially during a bitter snow storm and in the middle of nowhere? (Trust me, upper New York State is extremely frigid in the winter and almost constantly gets snow.)

There seem to be no limits to the cruelty and callousness of some people in our so-called, civilized nation.

Incidents like these are sadly common and have to tell us that "Humane Education" in our culture is apparently just a phrase. For example, while there is a law in New York City that requires Humane Education be taught in schools, the law is not enforced. Unless shown and taught compassion in the home, most kids grow up with little or no exposure to the rules of decency, mercy and humanity to both animals and other people.

This might help explain why things like "bullying" and physical "fighting" have become almost epidemic in schools throughout the country.

We tend to idolize celebrity, physical prowess and winning in our country. And while one can certainly appreciate the talent, dedication and hard work that go into winning an Olympic medal, an Oscar or the American Idol competition, what about the other things that make us "human?"

Things like empathy, mercy, selflessness, enlightenment and yes, "humaneness."

Something is tragically missing in our society when daily, videos of kids beating each other up are posted on You Tube and thousands of pets are abandoned either to pounds or on lonely road sides.

Yesterday, in a conversation with a young man who recently adopted a Chow from us, I had to explain that "most of the animals dumped at the pound have been victims of serious neglect. A well-cared-for cat or dog abandoned at Animal Control, is the exception, not the rule."

This was in reply to Chuck's queries and seeming shock that the loving and sweet dog he and his partner helped our organization rescue, needs to have almost all his teeth pulled (due to neglect and disease) as well as treatment for severe ear infections.

"I don't understand how anyone could so neglect such a loving and gentle dog like Morris," Chuck lamented.

"Believe me, " I replied, "I could keep you on the phone for hours telling you about just some of the dogs we have rescued over the years who were in far worse condition in terms of neglect. We should be grateful that Morris' former owners dumped him now and not when the infections from his teeth went all through the system. At least we can reverse the situation now -- even if it means he has to eat soft food for the rest of his life."

In another conversation yesterday with an animal lover and potential adopter, I exclaimed, "I feel far worse for all the animals in neglectful or abusive homes than I do for the millions of stray cats and dogs in our country."

"Really? Why is that?" Georgette asked, obviously taken aback with the statement.

"Because most animals are amazingly resilient and clever in fending for themselves. The stray dog or cat can learn to forage through garbage or kill small rodents if they have to. They can find shelter in abandoned buildings, basements or junk lots. I have rescued hundreds of strays over the years and with very few exceptions, they were in far better shape than most of the abandoned pets we have rescued who were dumped from homes."

"That is interesting," Georgette answered. "We tend to think strays have it far worse than owned pets."

"Think of it this way," I said. "The dog chained up in someone's back yard or the radiator in someone's apartment has no where to go. S/he is completely at the mercy of his human owners. S/he is dependent on the human owners for shelter, food and basic care. Many people fail in that mercy and care. When they do, the animal can starve to death, suffer from matting and skin diseases or suffocate/bleed to death from an imbedded collar. Feral cats and other strays rarely starve to death. And certainly no stray or feral dog is going to die from an imbedded collar!"

"I never thought of things that way," Georgette replied thoughtfully.

"Well, if one watches the 'Animal Cop' shows, they're not out there picking up stray cats and dogs. They are either chasing 100 terrified cats in some 'hoarder' situation, seizing starved, chained dogs from someone's back yard or picking up the embedded-collar dogs. These are the miseries that people create, not nature."

Some organizations may brag about the high volume adoptions they do to "loving homes."

But, if all the homes are so "loving" how then do so many millions of pets end up abandoned each year either to road sides or shelters? Why are cruelty agents constantly having to rescue animals in near-death states from human homes? And why are most shelters and rescue groups having to spend millions in veterinary care for animals who never received this basic care in their former homes?

It is not the stray cats and dogs who are commanding and getting all this expense and effort. Most stray and feral animals have long given up on human compassion and on the contrary, flee from and avoid humans at all costs. The fact, is most stray and feral animals don't need humans to survive.

A big part of me now feels that instead of directing so many resources towards the rescue and "re-homing" or "adoption" of animals, a big chunk of those monies and resources should instead be directed towards actually getting Humane Education in ALL the schools.

Because unless and until things like compassion, decency, responsibility and humaneness can be taught to the young in our country, then millions of animals in human homes will forever be at greater peril than those roaming our streets.

They are forever at our mercy.

The question to sadly ask in too many cases is, "What mercy?" -- PCA


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