In a society which encourages us to be self-sufficient, to stand on our own, to not be dependent on any one for anything, I feel we are actually doing ourselves a disservice by teaching these ideals.
I think it’s important to help one another, as best we can, whenever possible, regardless of expectations of something in return. Strangers, acquaintances, co- workers, or people we don’t particularly care for, they should all be treated with the same respect and dignity we would treat our own family and friends. I myself do not believe in the concept of karma, but I do believe that when we do good deeds for others, it can have a rippling effect on society, but not necessarily in ways which we will see a benefit from ourselves.
Lately, it has been bothering me to hear people say ‘I prefer animals to people’ (although it may come as a shock to some that humans are, indeed, animals). While I can definitely understand the sentiment, I truly believe that, unless our attitude towards our fellow humans change, what hope do other animals possibly have at having a better life? If we can’t set aside our differences to work together to make a better future for everyone, regardless of our alleged differences, animals will continue to suffer.
We cannot possibly begin to understand why people may act the way they do: we live what we learn, and often we do not have a choice in the matter, despite the notion of free-will (another concept I don’t believe in). Abuse, neglect, traumatic events, etc. can lead to maladjusted behaviour in animals. It’s hard to break the cycle if one has grown up in an environment which is detrimental to not just one’s self, but society as a whole. It gets passed down generation to generation, where the most innocent (children and animals) become unwilling victims, who can then perpetuate the cycle. It’s simple: hurt people hurt people. And animals.
Several weeks ago, a dog was abandoned at the shelter in one of their outdoor pens (pictured). Reading the comments on a post made on the NFHS’s Facebook page, I see many people were quick to pass judgement on the individual(s) who obviously felt they had no other choice but to do as they have done. We cannot possibly know what these people have gone through, and are going through, to have to make this gut-wrenching choice. Some people are just so ashamed to have to surrender a family member, for whatever reason(s), that perhaps they couldn’t face feeling judged, as all too often I hear from others ‘What kind of person abandons a pet (which should be treated like family)?’ I am not necessarily defending their actions, but rather, trying to look at the big picture with a more compassionate eye. While it is better to surrender in person, as we can get details about an animal we would not know otherwise (temperament, likes and dislikes, medical history), what they did was maybe not the best choice but a better one than the alternatives. What’s important is he is now safe and well cared for with us at the shelter and will find a loving home which is, I’m assuming, what they would want for their pup.
So, as irritable as I feel on a daily basis, I do my best to remember that, the way people treat me is not my problem, however, the way I react and treat others is. I can let other’s behaviour dictate my own, or I can choose to be as kind and compassionate as I possibly can in any given situation, regardless of how I am treated or how I feel.
So, go out and spread the love and remember: the ones that need it most are the ones that are the hardest to give it to.
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