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.”
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
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.