Saturday, August 2, 2008

Living Up to the Name of This Blog

It's been a long, tiring, but rewarding trip to get to this blog today. So many disappointments but much more successes keep one going after several decades of trying to make the world a better place. My chosen venue is helping people to help animals.

So many have said in the past, why help the animals when so many people need help? I have pondered that question many times and hope that all of you have also. It is called teaching mankind the lesson of humanity and humility.

We, the human species, have so many flaws. The biggest flaw is the lack of humanity toward our own kind and any other creatures we encounter. Chosing to teach this lesson through the animals does make sense in that we have to start somewhere. Animals don't solicit the competitive spirit or the jealous spirit, or just the plain "I am better than you" spirit. Since these aren't part of the relationship between mankind and animals, it is easier to teach lessons using the unconditional love of animals. If we can teach mankind to be humane toward animals then possibly we can learn to love our fellow man.

My concern in this day and time is the attacks being leveled on the animal shelters and animal control agencies. I spent many years blaming animal control for the problems but I have changed. Becoming friends with a wonderful person helped me to see that animal control is not the bad guy. We have been raised with words such as pound and dog catcher, negative words, to describe a terrible job that we, yes, we, the public, has cast upon a few people who have to clean up our mess. I have heard of terrible ACO's but have not met one personally. I have met some who were more animal lovers than others but none that I felt would deliberately hurt an animal. So therefore, let it be said that I am pro-animal control in that I feel attacks on animal control and shelters only serve to hurt the animals more than is necessary.

So many depend on "riling" up the public to pursue their agendas. Spreading the bad serves little good on this issue. Does a responsible father want to take his family to a shelter and chance to see "barrels" of dead animals? So what happens is this responsible father takes his family to the local Petsmart or Petco to adopt and another shelter animal has to die because he didn't want to expose his family. Why do people insist upon condemning a shelter to the public knowing that it will keep the public away? Because some are not in a real world, but rather a perfect world where the public would come running to save the animals. It doesn't happen in this world and this is the one I live in.

Yes, we have an obligation to change our shelter system but it can be done in such a fashion as to encourage people to adopt at the shelters instead of turning them away. And no, I am not talking the movement of "no kill". I hate that term, it is deceiving. Roger Caras, long time President of the ASPCA and authored over 60 books, would not use this term to describe the ASPCA after they relinquished animal control to the City of New York. Although he said that the ASPCA fits the "no kill" definition, he preferred to not defer to the term. I have seen him quoted as saying the "no kill" movement is a hoax. I say George Carlin would have a field day with the term.

Spay/neuter, I can't say it enough, is the way to stop the influx of animals into our shelters. New programs such as free basic obedience training, low cost clinics for vaccinations and spay/neuter, financial aid for senior citizens to pay medical vet bills, required education prior to adoption, etc., could help get us where we want to go. Stopping pets being given away for a can of beer outside a liquor store, stopping pets from being smuggled in from Mexico, stopping the backyard breeders, and working with the kennel clubs for more responsible and less breeding. Establishing the value of animals again is important, making it harder to get a pet rather than easy. Our society doesn't respect easy come and then it is easy go. We are a society that lives for disposable. But if it takes work to get and hold on to a pet, then we have a little more respect and value for it.

Okay, folks, your turn now. I'm just getting started. Let's talk.


Happy Camper said...

Wow, great article....trully great article !
It validates one of the reasons I believe teaching children lessons in humane treatment early so they can grow into caring people. One of the first things Wino did at our shelter was wipe out the teaching portion. If we are to change this; we must go gently into the arena, lest we scare off the decent folks. Nobody with anything to offer, wants to try and make a point in a war zone. I personally have had a horrid experience with No Kill. I couldn't come up with one good thing to say about Wino or his strategy (or lack of one), but I hope to lead people to the truth in such a way they will listen. The nut jobs will never hear so I don't waste time on them, period. Sure would like to link to you from Oreo's blog...... and you can let me know at your leisure. I feel this wold broaden her reader information base.

Honesty Helps said...

It just doesn't make sense to exclude the children from humane education. I hear the Whino saying that educational efforts should be directed toward the current pet owners (adults) as long as we are "killing". I disagree and here's why.

I have a lovely friend who has been a humane education teacher for twenty years. She is in the school system teaching nothing but humane education everyday. When I am sitting in the lobby of the humane society that she works for, a low cost spay/neuter clinic, I ask the others how they learned about spay/neuter. In probably 75% of the cases asked, they would point to their kids and talked about my friend. They didn't know she was my friend, just a teacher to them. This was a revelation to me, I had not given it a thought before.

You only have to look at household recycling to have the best example of the effect that educating children has had. The success of the recycling effort has been contributed to the education of the children who in turn took it home. Children love to "teach" their parents, to know something their parents don't know. What if someone had said don't teach the children, do you think household recycling would be as successful as it is? I doubt it. Adults have other things on their minds, are bombarded with advertising, and life is going a hundred miles a minute. They don't pay attention but children do. Let's have more faith in our children. Geez, they are the future pet owners and we don't want to educate them???? Rely upon ignorant parents to educate the future pet owners, is that what the Whino is saying? His perfect world, I have to live in this one. How jealous I am.

Happy Camper said...

I love the George Carlin quote. I often feel I am an open book, caught in a crowd that can't read.I try not to get preachy, but I do want to make the point that if no kill seems to good to be true, it probably is.......Like you I home people who see a crowed shelter go back to confirm their impression. I think ofte people don't know it is a permanent situation. Like I say, we have 435 cats in this shelter..

music man said...

Oreo is right again ! Your perspective on species interaction is right on. We learn to be kind through practice. As we go on with our lives if we could just teach one person the value of paying attenion to our animals and our gut. We met Oreo at a dog park and I had the radio blasting. Here comes this woman with 3 huge black dogs, and asks me to turn it down. The bass was affecting the dogs and making them edgy. I have labs and I thought nothing made them nervous. Not true.
After talking for quite a long time and watching the dog interaction I saw her point. Dogs are always reading each other and part of that is vibration. Our dogs which had been watching each other began to play with abandon. I have not taken my boombox to the park since.
Oreo turned out to be the smallest of the three and the most prolific author. She gave me a card with a couple of websites and now I have joined the dog people. I haven't seen them at the park for a while, but I do check her site.
the turtle

Honesty Helps said...

Now we know the story behind the name!! Don't blame Oreo, would have done the same. I watch my dogs like a hawk when we are out. Music, conversation, etc. takes that focus away and that is when something happens.

I'm not one for dog parks anyway. Remember we're talking LA here, not "normal" cities. I lived down the street from one of the first ones in LA. You would hear the dogs fighting, people yelling and this was after the park closed. It was being used for dog fights. Plus I always worry about disease. There are things we don't have vaccines for. Maybe that is a little extreme but I am a doting mother. And I have a huge black dog too.

Back to teaching humanity, we have to start somewhere and I feel doing with such lovable creatures as cats, dogs, cavies, rabbits is an easy way. Or you can do the hard way and try to teach people to care about other people, then care about pets. I prefer to start with the animals because they don't talk back, or create friction with opinions, or yell and scream. If you had a choice to learn from the animals or learn from a person who does talk back and creates friction and does yell and scream, which one would you chose?

music man said...

So you and Oreo are ganging up on me !! I had never thought about starting a dog fight, or for that matter why the dogs didn't play. We could learn to focus from animals. They do a much better job of body language than humans do. Keep up the good writing, and put up a picture of your "family" I like the pictures on Oreo's, that woman must sleep with a camera in her hand.

Honesty Helps said...

I would love to put up pictures but unfortunately I can't. My life and the lives of my critters have been threatened. I had to give up my home of over 10 years because of these threats. I must make someone very angry and of course, they don't do their own dirty work, they "call to arms" on blogs such as this one. It looks innocent enough but I know what is being done.

If you get a chance look up the ADL-LA group. I am not accusing them of my threats but they are an example of the radical element in Southern California. They are also great supporters of our favorite person on this blog and he has yet to disavow them. This is a question that is asked over and over, why doesn't he separate himself from this extreme group.

Oreo is much better with the camera than myself anyway. I have two dogs, 3 birds, and 4 cavies (guinea pigs). All rescues. And all of us are in a very safe place now. Glad that you are onboard, you are the people I want to reach with the truth. Oreo said you have a couple of delightful chocolate labs.

Anonymous said...

You are right. Our animals are treated like dixie cups. Used and then thrown away. Dixie cup love is what my late roommate used to call this type of relationship.

Honesty Helps said...

I love that phrase "Dixie cup love". It describes what is happening so well. I hope you don't mind if I use it??

Happy Camper said...

Dixie Cup Love ? Good wording and I should probably put the post on it. We are a society of self absorbed people, reaching almost a level of sociopathic behavior,the true defination, of course. People look at things only from their own view, It is over when it is no longer convenient, and again; do we want an animal kept with a person who longer wants it ? wonderful blog.Oreo