Once again, the local animal welfare community has run afoul of an internet troll with nothing better to do than attack people for putting all of their time and resources into animal welfare.
This particular troll trotted out the usual nonsense:
- It’s “just a dog.”
- How can we care so much about dogs when CHILDREN ARE BEING ABUSED?
- If we had real lives, families, children, we wouldn’t be so foolishly obsessed with stupid animals.
- And my favorite – who the hell do we think we are to judge how other people treat their animals?!
Well, let’s take these one at a time.
“Just a Dog”
There is no such thing. Dogs are members of my family. They think, they feel, they live and breathe. And more than that, the dogs (and the cat) for whom I am responsible are exactly that: my responsibility. When I took these animals into my home, I made a commitment to make their lives as safe, happy, and healthy as I possibly could. That commitment is unbreakable. Regardless of how my life evolves, I will plan for their care and well-being. They are totally dependent on me, and I will not let them down.
Anyone capable of uttering the words “just a dog” cannot comprehend the profound nature of such a commitment.
“But Children are Being Abused!”
Yes, they are. And it is a terrible thing. But why would anyone think for a moment that caring about animals somehow takes away from the cause of abused children? The people who use this argument seem to be saying that by caring about animals, animal welfare people are willfully ignoring the plight of abused children (or battered women or starving people in Africa – you get the idea). I do not find helping people and helping animals to be mutually exclusive.
“If We Had Real Lives…”
Really? That’s just insulting. Taking care of animals is a crucial part of my very real life.I integrate animal welfare into my day job, my evenings, my weekends. And I do so much less than many other AW advocates of my acquaintance. We deal with injured animals, neglected animals, homeless and frightened animals. We pay vet bills and raise funds for the care of the animals, we hurt when they hurt and we suffer when their suffering ends in merciful death. And since my animal welfare community includes people who are single, married, divorced, have kids, don’t have kids, have lots of money, live from one check to the next…clearly there is no “I don’t have a life” prerequisite for loving animals.
Who Are We to Judge?
We’re the people who give up our weekends to walk dogs at the smelly animal shelter. We’re the people who open our homes to animals in need. We’re the people who pay vet bills for animals who are not even our own. We’re the ones who stop traffic to get a dog out of the road. We lay face down in puddles in the rain to get baby animals out of a drain. We give up date night to take a homeless animal to a safe place. We sit up nights with sick animals. We find homes and families for animals in need. Above all, we do our best to save as many as we can, all the while knowing it will never be enough.
So when someone belittles our life’s work, when someone implies that our lives are less important because we devote them to “just dogs”…damn right we judge. For anyone who cannot grasp how vital it is to model and live kindness to animals, we judge that you lack certain qualities of true humanity.
How we treat those who depend on us for food, shelter, water,and love is a clear indicator of what kind of person we choose to be. And I choose to be that person who speaks up every day on behalf of my furry friends and family who cannot speak up for themselves.