Walk a mile in their paws

I think some major strides are being made in the area of animal welfare. We’re seeing more and more rescue organizations cropping up across the county and legislative efforts are stepping up to better protect animals from cruel acts of torture.

We still have some distance to go in the movement to inject compassion into our laws and in spreading the message of compassion for all creatures.

But there are two major factors in human behavior that are holding back the pace of new legislation and thus the animal welfare movement overall. And those two factors are greed and selfishness.

Animal lovers seem to have, in a general sense, some common emotional traits – among them primarily is empathy. To be able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes – or paws or fins or claws – to walk around for a while, is a gift. We must be able to care for someone or something other than ourselves.

I can’t imagine not caring. I cannot imagine putting profit above all else. I cannot imagine thinking as long I profit or as long as my family is okay, I don’t care what happens to anyone else. I was raised with the message of caring for others.
Example – One winter’s afternoon when I was a kid, my dad saw walking down our street the older man who cut the grass for a number of the people in our neighborhood. We all knew he was struggling to make ends meet. He worked hard to scratch out any dollars he could muster through odd jobs.

Our yard had just a couple of small areas of grass, as a number of very large trees blocked the sunlight to an extent that prohibited the growth of a lawn. So our yard duties were limited mostly to raking leaves in the fall.

My dad handed me a twenty-dollar bill and asked me to take it to the man as he pushed his small mower down the sidewalk. My father didn’t want the credit or the thanks. He just wanted to do something that day for someone in need. It made an impression on me and I’ve never forgotten what happened that afternoon – in that simple act of kindness.

We are all better off if we care about each other. People can either have compassion, they can be apathetic or they can be hateful and uncaring. How anyone can choose to be anything but compassionate, at least to some degree, is beyond my level of understanding.

And how we can set an example to children to be anything but caring and compassionate adults is … well … unthinkable.

But we’re seeing the unthinkable every day in the news. Too often, I’m linking news stories reporting the unthinkable, in terms of cruel acts of torture committed against animals – from puppy mills to dog fighting and more. Greed and selfishness have been infecting our society for far too long.

It’s time for good people to act with a pack mentality of compassion – like an antibiotic of compassion – to reduce the swelling of cruelty and apathy. It’s time.

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