The Only Motivation You Need is Compassion

Troll said he wanted to be "just like the silver dog"

Lately, I’ve noticed more and more animal rescuers and crossposters on Facebook making noise about some of the graphic photos of animal abuse being shared.  I wrote a little bit about the issue here Up on the Woof two posts ago.

In spite of that post, somebody did it to me again on December 7; sharing a video of a case out of Brazil. It’s made the rounds, so if you are a rescuer with a presence on Facebook, chances are you’ve seen it. The description was written in Portuguese, which I do not speak, so I clicked on it. I watched about 15 seconds of it before I’d reached my limit.

All year, I’ve been doing my best to advocate for animals. Some of the stories have been truly horrible. I guess that all year, every time I read about a case or saw a photo of extreme abuse I was like a sponge filling up with water. After 15 seconds into the video from Brazil, I reached my saturation point – I couldn’t absorb one more cruel thing. Then it was like a little safety switch went off shutting me down emotionally before anything shorted out.

For a moment, I was very very angry. I typed a comment on the “friend’s” share (under the “sharing” “sharing” comments) that basically said Don’t share this, report it! Then I posted a question to all rescuers on my own wall:

“I would like somebody to tell me what the point is of sharing photographs of horrific animal abuse that has taken place last week, last month or last year in a foreign country? Tell me, please. Because if I see any more of them, I’m going to have to go back on meds.”

Only one person answered me, and it went something like this: “I think it’s important to remember the abuse. In my world, it somehow honors the memory of the poor creature(s) that have died… or not. Some quickly put the horror out of their minds so as not to deal with the pain & I want it fresh so I will keep fighting.”

Dillon the "silver dog". Told me to quit complaining about his bark, because it didn't intimidate anyone.

In other words, the person who had replied used the posts to stoke her anger, and her anger kept her motivated.

Anger doesn’t motivate me – anger makes me feel washed out and exhausted and depressed, and therefore is not a useful emotion for me. Ten seconds of that video went beyond angering me.  I’ve kind of been floundering since seeing those ten seconds…spending less and less time on Facebook, and therefore, not advocating as much as I could be.

It’s Compassion that motivates me, and I don’t need to be reminded of what lengths people will go to to hurt animals in order for me to feel that compassion. I feel it just seeing their beautiful eyes peering out at me from behind the bars of the shelters they are in. I feel it when I see them hanging their heads because they’ve lost hope.  And when I hear their simple stories of being left behind; of being discarded; of being betrayed by the people they’d die to protect – I feel it.

I had a life-changing experience in 1989. That was the year that my lifemate and I took our four dogs to see an animal communicator. That was the day my whole perspective on animals changed, because that was the day I realized just how much they understand; just how deeply they feel; and just how individual and special each one of them is. That was the day I realized that they had hopes and goals.

Studies have shown that the average dog has the intellectual and emotional intelligence of a three-year-old child. Think about that for just a minute. Can you grasp the profundity of

Taco wanted to know "What is going to happen to me?" because we are her third home and she was worried that we were going to dump her, too.

that? Try to imagine the confusion and suffering of a three-year-old child in a kennel; or chained out in a yard alone with no food, water or shelter from the elements; or abandoned in a foreclosed house. Do you need any other reason to be motivated to help them but that they are sentient and they are innocent? Aren’t those images motivating enough without seeing the graphic violence?

I am so very, very tired. Saturated by the level and quantity of the cruelty I’ve seen this year. I just want to help the animals I can help without being terrorized with graphic images that will haunt me forever.

About yelodoggie

Ariel C. Wulff is an author, artist and animal advocate. They have been involved in pet rescue for over twenty-five years. They have written two books about their true-life adventures living with an ever-changing house full of pets: Born Without a Tail, and Circling the Waggins, and a guide to animal advocacy using the Internet as a tool: How to Change the World in 30 Seconds". Wulff also wrote a pet column and book review column for the Examiner, and was a contributing editor for They attribute their love of animals to having been raised by Wulffs.
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12 Responses to The Only Motivation You Need is Compassion

  1. Interesting that you just posted this. I have seen this as well with the more friends I accept in hopes to share the homeless pets. I sometimes comment, sometimes watch and others pass on through. I am torn as ignorance is bliss in many cases of animal cruelty. However, I have to agree that reporting the cruelty would be the ACTION to take. I am helping share animals in hopes that they get a chance and that these chances increase through sharing on Facebook with many that also share. I suppose it is all in what you are trying to accomplish. I would like to accomplish good deeds for those that cannot speak for themselves. While doing this I would prefer not to see graphic cruelty pictures and videos. I could look those up and take action if that were my plight. Don’t stop sharing, Ariel! I admired you for doing so and have chosen to follow in your Paw Prints. Annie Weddle


    • yelodoggie says:

      Annie, I see your shares every day, and it makes me feel so good to know that you are doing that. The more rescuers you network with on Facebook, the more likely you are to become inundated with the kinds of photos I’ve mentioned here. Rescuers come in all types, from the advocates like us to the extremists of Peta. What a lot of rescuers fail to realize is that they are networked with other rescuers, who are already aware of the abuse and don’t need it shoved in their faces like that.


  2. I’m with you, Ariel: I don’t like seeing images of animals being abused. They don’t motivate me to do more for the cause, they simply motivate me to feel anger toward the person who posted them. I don’t like having my psyche violated in such a way.


  3. Very interesting topic. Just watched “Life in A Day” last night and nearly passed out when they “humanely” destroyed a cow. Volunteered at Children’s Hospital for a year…the number of kids there at the hands of their parents was astounding. Do some people think we are weak because this disturbs us instead of motivating us? I have only one dog. My brother brought his over this Xmas. Seeing two dogs together, playing, sniffing, nuzzling…now that’s motivation. I’ve raised four kids. Three-year-olds are very wise on many levels. They are not yet adulterated in any way. They freely speak and show emotions. I wish I could save a whole kennel!!!! I wish I could foster 50 kids!!!! Keep doing what you’re cousin…every life saved is just that…a LIFE SAVED. Profound, really….


    • yelodoggie says:

      I haven’t seen that movie, but I’ve seen lots of “humane” euthanizations. I used to be shocked at the capacity of cruelty that some humans can dole out to innocent animals, but when you consider all the child abuse, domestic violence, gang violence and random violent crime – it really shouldn’t come as a surprise at all.
      And while I’ve heard animal advocates say “you have to see the abuse, you have to share it to raise awareness!” I think there’s a point where it crosses the line. Not everyone is emotionally equipped to absorb it.
      I saw Tom’s new pup on Facebook – cute! I’ll bet his dog and yours had a blast together! Our house was like having a pack of toddlers…everyone playing and fighting and eating and stealing each others’ treats…it was a bundle of fun!


  4. Cat Crazy Alice says:

    Cousin…I can’t add any more to your profound comments. I admire your advocacy on behalf of our animal friends and hope you will continue in spite of the heartbreaking situations that come to your attention. I purposely turn off/change stations/do not read anything relating to animal abuse…my heart can’t take it. I try, within my limited means, to save those that come to my attention by fostering for the shelter, trapping strays, and donating to animal causes.


  5. lisa says:

    Thank you for this post. While I do not share abusive videos (I can’t look either, and it’s not ignorance, I KNOW it exists and I deal with the products of the abuse daily), I HAVE shared very sad stories and wonder if my “friends” feel as you do. Not all of my “friends” are rescuers or involved in the animal movement, so it was my motivation to share with them so that they WOULD care and perhaps be moved to do something. I know I do not have to share these stories with my fellow rescuers, as we are aware, and most of us are doing all in our power to make a difference.
    My husband is one that never wants to hear about these horror stories, and I would get angry with him for “turning a blind eye” or burying his head in the sand. Your words have given me a new perspective. Everyone is motivated differently.


  6. ouacstowohio says:

    Interesting responses, Ariel. I like that you brought up that unfortunately our world is full of violence against children, adults, animals, pets, war and so much more. To view that everyday would be heart wrenching, depressing. This is not a motivation for me either (speaking of the violent, graphic, horrific posts). My motivation is the one person that tells a story with a picture that adopted a pet I shared. Could be narcissistic , but I like to feel happy. I like to feel I participated in something good, GREAT.

    Love to read your articles on WordPress and The Examiner as well. Thanks! Annie


  7. rumpydog says:

    This is my 2-cents worth. It’s my opinion that those kinds of posts do far more harm than good because they turn off more people than they attract to your cause.

    I don’t want people to use anger to fight for anything. Anger is what prompts people like the Animal Liberation Front to set fires- and you see how THAT has helped the well-being of animals.

    I use my blog to help educate people about a variety of animal topics. But I use alot of cute and alot of fun to attract people who have been too-long turned off by the emotional overload that the Animal Rights community has used for too long. It’s time to change our tactics to those of attraction.


  8. Glenda says:

    First I would like to “Thank You” for all you and everyone else advocating for animals do every day. My take on this subject is whatever gets through to people about the plight of animals whether it be a graphic photo or video then I owe it to those poor souls to at least look at what they endured. All I have to do is look with my heartbreaking and a sick feeling inside but those poor creatures lived it. I feel like it is the very least I can do. I share their horror
    stories because not too bothers me. It is like I
    am turning my back on their suffering. I guess I
    don’t care if it offends anyone, it should! I just
    cannot take the Pollyanna approach. I do
    understand the feelings of being overwhelmed by the cruelty. I often feel as if I cannot hear one more horrid abuse story. So if you can’t handle it that day then pass it by and go hug your pets.


  9. Pingback: Defining “Run of the Mill” | Up on the Woof

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