For the Love of Animals

With the ongoing government tyranny within our borders, and fears abound about an indivisible pandemic, we often overlook the needs of those around us who are other than ‘human’.  Yes, I am talking about animals, of course, as this is what this site is all about. Throughout time, animals have had a bad rap. They are the last to be recognized in times of crisis and the first to be used in experimentation. Once revered with deity status, their veneration has now been confirmed to be lost and forgotten in the past.

After the plandemic of 2020-2021, I began to question whether or not the humanitarian, innovative, and creative side of our human condition is progressing or diminishing, particularly with our thoughts and actions on animal welfare. The question came to the forefront when during the early ‘lockdown’ phase of the plandemic people in the United States where adopting pets at a rapid pace, only to return them once the lockdown (and their fears) started to subside and people started getting ‘back to their lives’.  It made me sad to think, that we as a species – who are supposed to be caretakers of the world – are so superficial with self-satisfaction being the norm.

However, I like to hope that after our long history of animal welfare dictates, and all our humane and environmental educational efforts, our attitudes and empathy toward animals, and nature in general, might have shown some growth towards communities having a more compassionate viewpoint when it comes to nature and the animals in our care. Oppositely, we are finding this is so. We are still ignorant children in the Garden of Eden, intentionally disengaging ourselves from the millions of animals that suffer each day at our portrayed ‘kind-hearted’ hands – and we are still happy at the claim of ignorance.  

There is no doubt that all animals, including humans, have empathy. But are we at the top of the pecking order, so to speak, with our empathic abilities? There is on-going research into that, and we are beginning to see where humans fall. Studies are showing that humans are experiencing a drop in their empathic abilities than their natural counterparts. Without getting into the specific differences between us and our fellow sidekicks, the philosophical question must be asked; are we, as humans, slowly losing our empathic abilities, and if so, are animals now more empathic than humans? And does this decline relate to our moving away from an agriculturist lifestyle to that of a technocratic one? Humm, just something to think about.

When I was a little girl, I enjoyed the long ride along Route 20 to my grandmother’s farm in Richfield Springs. The whole ride, other than messing with my brothers and sister, was a scenic one of agricultural farmland. It was one of those family trips that bonded us together, singing and talking all along the way – with the occasional “tone-it-down” from my father.

As we drove through the small town on the outskirts of where my grandmother lived, we were welcomed with hand waves and hellos and the honorary stop at the local food joint, we were met with lots friendly banter. Later, when we pulled into my grandmother’s farm, we were met with pigs, dogs, chickens, roosters, ducks, swans and cats. Grandma was there, always greeting us with a smile upon arrival.

One of the special things about my grandmother’s farm, apart from the trip ‘out of the city’, as my mother called it, was the relationship that I had with nature. I would often trek up the tall grassy hill, behind grandma’s house and into the woods. I would follow the stone fence deep into the woods and just sit upon an old log. Deer, squirrels, chipmunks and all sorts of critters came and left. They were just as inquisitive about me as I was about them. We looked at each other longingly with great curiosity. It was a special time for me; creative thoughts abounding. I felt nothing but admiration for those that were there. The hectiveness of life, just melted away and I found myself pulled into the calmness and serenity of being.

I honestly believe that humans are born with a sense of empathy and ethical values already assembled, but both need to be refined through community and family. It seems that technology and the fastness of our society today, get in the way; and because of this we, as a society, have forgotten the basic occupiers of empathy – which is essential for working and living together. We are wrapped up in the tech, that we have forgotten to slow down and sit upon that log and reflect on what it truly means to be human.

With that being said, when I see breakthroughs of empathy it gives me hope for humanity. We all have that drive to help where we see injustice, wanting to be a part of the solution. We want to help when we see an animal in distress. We are drawn to the birds feeding on the feeder, the chipmunks playfully running across the patio, the dog barking incessantly, or the purring of the cat in our lap. We cry when an animal we relate to passes away. And we give money to Charities that help those in need?  Unlike animals, who base their life on emotions, we have the natural ability to overcome our fears and all other challenges that lay before us. These innate abilities give us the power to put the oppressive emotions of fear, anger, hate, indifference, … behind us, engaging ourselves in becoming; playful, enjoying the fullness of life, getting back to independent happiness, and thus shaping our own future. 

It will be hard, I know, due to the fact that we have become such a technology-based society, and we have forgotten how to feel and relate to and connect among other humans, let alone with other sentient beings. I disagree with many scholars and writers that our world is quickly becoming a desolate place, where computer screens and cold science beliefs now control and separate us. If anything, it our tech has provided us with an awakening; toward seeing things as they really are – that we have lost touch with ourselves, with nature, with reality and with each other. One good thing is that we are empathetic beings and will be always; we just need to put tech in its place and treat it as a tool not replacing it for our humanity.

It took a multitude of generations to get where we are. Communities have been slowly moving away from independent empathic individuals connected to the natural world, towards producing clusters of dependent disconnected workers belonging to a greater technocratic whole. Everything we have been taught throughout our life is on rejecting individualism towards a mindset of social production (consumer/product).  Like our bonded brethren, when we are born, we are assigned a number in the agriculture market as a “product”. Our number is bought and sold on the open market on how much labor we will produce. Although we are equal in that we are ‘products’ with other sentient beings, our movements as humans are a little bit more gilded. The only difference between us and our comrades is that we can make laws and fight back to make our lives a little bit more comfortable.

So, getting back to the question on whether or not the humanitarian, innovative and creative side of our human condition is progressing or diminishing, particularly with regards to animal welfare. With our eyes now wide open, it all comes down to us. Sit on that log, look around with wonder. Reflect on your own humanity. Teach our children respect for each other, respect for animals, respect for differences of opinion, respect for different species, races, religion, or whatever! Look at animals as ‘equal consideration’ – and that comes from each individual looking at their own ethics and morality.  

Refuse to look at the world as a product – but as symbiotic comrades.

How to add back ‘Humane” Thinking in our Schools.

With all this talk about remote learning, it has me wondering how, going forward, our children will view the natural world around them. Will it be a vision in their mind? Like living inside a 3D virtual machine? Where nature has become a memory.

Yes, it seems that technology has taken over, like a vice. And while it appears that other animals are evolving naturally by adapting to the environment around them, the evolutionary trajectory of humans seemingly tends to gravitate towards modifying their environment and not adapting to it. I wonder, is this drive toward virtual environments just a natural advancement of our human evolution or is it an evolutionary modification that is forced upon us? The answer is the same as in the nature vs nurture debate. Each person can go on evaluating throughout the ages, with both sides having compelling arguments. Here is my take.

The rapid changes in the global economy, and the United States Department of Education’s attempts at finding a one-size-fits-all solution for American education, has thrust schools towards making STEM subjects—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics – high on the list when it comes to teaching and testing. This shift is not entirely a bad thing as it provides our students with the ability to become competitive in an ever changing technological global market and must be included in our school systems. And this push forward in technology is nothing new. The discovery and inclusion of technological advances has steadily been going forward since the first humetech learned to speak and write on the cave walls. But I have a question. Does this shift to a totally ‘technological’ mindset diminish the importance the Humanities (and nature) plays when it comes to the whole student?

I would like to note, schools that have a symbiotic balance with all assets of the education system (administration, curriculum and instruction to teachers, students, family and community) provides a balanced and true outlook, looking at the qualities that our unifying self (natural and technological) have. We cannot dismiss that we are of both worlds, with no disconnect. We cannot take one over the other. I think this is most apparent as with our current Coronavirus bug, water shortage issues, or the current global warming crazes.

Therefore, when it comes to education and the ‘whole’ adolescent, we need not diminish the importance of technology (science, math, engineering, etc.). However, we need to put the tech with equal footing with all other parts of the education system that are just as important. By doing so, we strength the individual and broaden their intellectual foundations. Teaching them that the tech combined with their creative side can help promote critical thinking skills which can solve current personal, societal and world problems. It also makes them engaged as citizens and thinkers, reinforcing ethical responsibilities and values which helps them understand the impact that they have on their environment and society. By equal footing of humanities and tech we create well-rounded academics, students and thinkers that will continue to learn, grow and contribute throughout their entire life.

In closing, this methodical ‘tech only’ view has now created a humanitarian crisis. A worldwide madness of “indifference” toward our society, nature, animals and our fellow human beings. Humans are now detached, explosive and distasteful towards anything “other”. This could be in the form of destroying a person’s reputation because they hung up colorful lights to that of killing their own children because they were using video games too much. The rigid science of today has no feelings, no ethical codes, and no humaneness. By encouraging and teaching the human race within this sterile ‘mode’ of ‘science’ we ignore all that makes us human and thus creates just mindless bots – ready for any command.

An Unforgiving World!

After all these years, I am still awed by how each moment becomes a special memory. Yet, it is only to be experienced by those that are living within the moment as words cannot express the moment to the clarity of the viewer’s experience to the general audience.

As I sit upon my porch, looking around enjoying life, I noticed a wobbly baby sparrow jumping on the ground, and then onto a low growing leaf. She snuggled into a small spot, encasing herself in the safety of a large sunflower that was hovering over her, as though protecting her from the onslaughts activity above her. A crow squawked overhead and she hunkered down hiding within the leaves.

I sat throughout the day watching to see if her parents came to her rescue. I noticed in the flower beds that there were numerous babies with their parents, wings flapping and mouths open. Parents were fluttering around finding food and bringing it back to their offspring in numbers. However, for this little babe, nothing. Every time a parental bird stopped nearby, she too flapped her wings and opened her mouth. But unlike the others, there was know-one. It was heart breaking when nature slates one and not another for survival.

This little bundle of joy was not going to survive, unless somone stepped in to help. As we rehabilitated a wild bird before, and already had the knowledge, we decided to take it upon ourselves to help this little one. From sunrise to sunset we went out and fed her. We had to feed her every hour. After a week, she would recognize our movements, and with excitement, she’d jumped onto the railing, flapping her wings, with mouth open waiting for us. Another week went by and she began eating on her own. It did not take her long before she started to fly. It was small at first. Flapping her wings from plant to plant in the front flower garden. Then she went from a plant to a small tree and then from the small tree to the large oak across the street. With each flight her bravery grew and so did our pride.

With each night she flew across our suburbia road to her “sleeping tree”. It is a gigantic oak tree, full of leaves and other sparrows chatting away. Our little baby was growing up. As any parent, we would cringed as fast cars drove by, oblivious to her flying around.

For months, the whole entire summer, we watched her. She became self-sufficient and independent. Awww! We sighed a sign of relief as our baby was now on her way.

As morning broke, we noticed her on our porch. She was excited and happy. In the next breadth she took to flight across the road to her favorite tree. However, this was a memory that would be burned in my mind forever. As she flew low, a fast car came around the corner and hit her head on. She had no chance. The person driving, oblivious to this little life around them, continued on.

It broke my heart to have to bury this innocent soul. I often was asked the question of whether or not the fate of this tiny bird was slated at birth and was I was only extending the inevitable?

Someone asked me, if it was worth it. I stated with absolute clarity, “Yes”. Our existence effects others lives and create ripples that can be felt throughout time.” Although her life was short, she filled ours and will never be forgotten.

Our Newest Addition

I could not resist. I had to have her. Who could resist this sweet young girl rolling around in the cage, looking up at you with those beautiful green eyes? I fell in love, even before I held her in my arms. I knew she was mine. So I took her home.

The past year we have had our share of heartbreak, losing our loved ones to various ill’s, from heart problems to old age. A family of 12, we are now down to two. Coming home from work each day, the house seems spiritually quiet and my purpose in life seems to have escaped me, that is, until Baboosi entered our lives.

Drawing her out of her shell wasn’t easy. When we brought her home her first instinct was to hide. She found a good spot away from all of the noisy routines of the day and for the first couple of days just listed to the sounds around her. She came out every once in a while to use the cat box and to eat, but all in all she was very scared. It took all of my might not to pickup her up and kiss and cuddle her, letting her know that it would be ok. But I know that this would do more harm then good. I had to be patient. Letting her come out on her own steam.

After the third day, I periodically went into the room to talk with her. I did not want to violate her space or her security or faith in me, so I did not pet her or touch her. On the 4th day, she came out and laid on the bed with us. We approached her to pet her she ran back to her safe spot. This was remarkable, her coming on the bed. On the the 5th day, she started playing with my toes under the covers. What a surmountable amount of trust. I was finally able to pet her.

The next few weeks Baboos began to show her personality. She loved to run, lay in my Christmas cactus, watch the birds outside my window. She would run up to you with her tail straight up, then bolt as soon as you reached down to pet her. She loved her small mouse, throwing and catching it around the house. Another couple of weeks, she now comes into the bedroom, jumping between my husband and I. She would “plopp” herself down as to announce that she his here and “pay attention to me”. She purred very loudly as we petted her and she loved to get kisses on the head. When she got her fill show would bolt off the bed, as if she had something better to do, her tail strait up in the air – stating her proudness.

After a good couple of months, Baboosi runs the house. She announces herself when she enters a room and runs onto our bed every night to say good night. She has brought a lot of love and noise back into our house and we are very excited that she has welcomed us into her heart.

Tatooing, docking & clipping, Oh My!

Tattooing and/or giving your pet a piercing has become a trend among pet owners.  There was one case of pet tattooing in NY by a Brooklyn tattoo artist on his dog. He posted pictures of the dog on various social media sites, which, of course, went viral. He claimed he did it while the dog was sedated in the vet’s office after surgery, but that didn’t make any difference to animal activists. ASPCA was outraged over this incident. Yet, where are they when a vet can tattoo a dog under the guise of identification purposes?

New York and Pennsylvania, to date, are the only states to specify tattooing and piercing as acts of animal cruelty and therefore have made it illegal. 

Our question to ask is should tattooing and piecing of pets be considered animal abuse and why?

Pet Fashion Industry – Where to Draw the Line?

https://youtu.be/IzbDSUnWFkE

In February, the New York Pet Fashion Show — the largest pet fashion and animal rescue benefit in the country —  returned to kick off New York Fashion Week and the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. PetsPyjamas rolled out a Petwalk for their Pet Fashion Show. The runway show, featured Made in Chelsea’s Rosie Fortescue and her miniature Dachshund, Noodle, showcasing the latest Pet-a-Porter trends.

Since ancient Egypt Pet Fashion shows have been the thing. What was once hidden at fair’s and playgrounds are now right up front on the internet where pet parents showcase their fashionable displays of cute pets decked out in a number of creative outfits. And, as you can image, these shows have driven the growth of whole new fields in the pet fashion industry – one of such is the pet style expert.

While we start from a place of enjoyment and entertainment, some people place concern for the well-being of pets, implying that fashion shows go too far. Claiming that pet parents, and their fashion accessory partners, put undue stress on their charges. Should be put certain regulations on the Pet Fashion Industry to make sure that pets are property cared for?

Let me know your comments below.