Late yesterday afternoon, I received an email from a nonprofit, foster-based rescue, Touch of Grey Rescue, whom I’ve been helping with grant writing. Honey Toes, as I would come to know her, was the most recent victim of animal neglect and cruelty in Southeast Florida. I went to work writing an application for her veterinary care immediately.
I heard my dog barking, and she wouldn’t stop, a woman reported to Animal Control. After an officer discovered her hiding under the woman’s front porch Honey Toes was taken into Brevard County Animal Control. Touch of Grey Rescue pulled her as soon as possible.
It would take weeks to get her into the safe arms of the rescue’s loving volunteer fosters and sterile offices of the local veterinarian. From there, people could learn of how this ten-year-old Boxer/Pittie mix was used as a backyard breeding dog for the whole of her life. They would see how her legs were deformed, her teeth worn down, her bladder now incontinent, her body riddled with arthritis.
But her spirit, strongly intact.
She is our perfect kind of dog to help, said Wendy Johnson, Touch of Grey Rescue’s founder.
I took one look at that sweet body of hers, her deformed back leg and toes that may require amputation, her crippling arthritis, and her indomitable spirit shining through her smile. She managed to crawl to safe haven, getting herself away from the energy of perniciously ignorant forces neglecting and exploiting another living being, and into the hands of those who would help her.
She’s now in the home of a loving foster, being taken for veterinary treatment and will be receiving pain management meds to help her live the rest of her senior years as effortlessly as possible. I felt honored to be able to help by applying for a medical expense grant, and long to help others as her.
Now, after a lifetime of neglect exploitation and horrendous cruelty, Honey Toes will get to experience compassion, health, care and gentleness from the people at the rescue.
Is there anything more needed by any one of us? People tend to isolate and remove themselves from animal suffering, as though it were happening only to the animal itself (pronoun preferred: herself). As though the occurrence of neglect, cruelty, suffering and exploitation for profit were being visited upon a being they don’t particularly care about.
It’s not my dog. It’s not a child. It’s only an old mutt.
And, so on.
And yet, incidents of animal cruelty affect us all, animal lovers or no. They make us feel the world is a brutal place, that heart consciousness and compassion are in short supply. That our own beloved animals are vulnerable in the wrong circumstances in our absence, in danger without our watchful eye of protection. Knowing that there was such a person who treated another living being this way affects our spirits. We feel darkened, as if we were soiled by the toxic sludge of hatred, anger and ignorance.
How could they? Our mind screams, people say. It makes us look askance at the guy in the pickup truck from Florida or Texas and think:
I wonder if he’s good to his dog. Or if he’s apathetic, in a culture of tremendous animal neglect and cruelty. A poor area, of those types of people…
And yet, maybe, the mind goes, maybe he’s one of the more enlightened ones. He can afford to travel here to Colorado. Maybe he’s good to his own dog, or maybe he doesn’t even have one.
The mind reels. No sane person would ask:
Do you have a dog? Are you kind to her?
In these times where our entire nation is divided thanks to extremist partisan efforts to convince us that our disenfranchisement is the fault of immigrants stealing our job at the slaughterhouse (!) or the snowflake liberals looking down their noses at blue collar workers or tying into the belief that Covid was a virus unleashed from the Wuhan lab or whatever other falsely-infused-belief-spewing hatred for each other, it feels a lofty pursuit to suggest:
We’ve all been harmed in ways we don’t all yet realize.
It feels a lofty Maslow-hierarchical ideal to suggest that the harms being committed against innocent animals is not a harm that affects us all, one that makes us like our fellow human just a little bit less.
And yet, that’s exactly what I’m suggesting. Take one look at sweet Megan Driver, founder of Saving Animals 24-7 in Victoria, Texas, the sole rescuer of dogs and cats experiencing horrific cruelty and in the line of fire of death-by-shelter, if you want to see what animal neglect and cruelty is doing to the spirit of a sensitive, beautiful, animal-loving woman.
And then tell me, that we’re not all interconnected. That we don’t all affect each other.
Then, take a look at the tender care and love being visited on a dog as Honey Toes, the symbiotic expression of healing flowing through compassionate women with Touch of Grey Rescue, and try to convince me that women and enlightened men united in a common cause to decrease animal suffering and help each other and animals in turn, can’t make the world a better place for all.
One sweet, tragically-abused, she-babe at a time.
Wanna help make the world a better place in which to live? Go help a rescue near you. Donate, foster, volunteer. You likely already have a favorite. I know I do.