Adopt A Pet

 In Animal Care

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Before you groan and say, “Not another animal story – what about the suffering of kids and abused women?” Permit me to indulge in a little plagiarism and quote from a recent article in the New York Times which is the result of numerous studies undertaken
over several decades.

“Psychologists, lawmakers and law-enforcement officers are increasingly making a connection between animal abuse and other forms of violence” (Charles Siebert – The Animal-Cruelty Syndrome, June 13th 2010)

Animal abusers are prone to violence and aggression. Our society is plagued by these themes and it is no small matter to be overlooked. My second quote from the revered statesman Mahatma Gandhi should ring this idea home.

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”.

We have here a multi-faceted and enormous problem that we are grappling with that is certainly not exclusive to Trinidad and Tobago.

For those of us living here however, we need to recognise the problem and that any form of cruelty is an expression of something much more profound. This will not just go away and there is no quick fix. The moral fibre of our beloved country is rapidly disintegrating evidenced by the destruction of the family unit. Children having children is becoming the norm and the responsibilities and consequences of their actions is customarily handed over to reluctant parents or grandparents. It is a cycle of dysfunctional behaviour where the wrong lessons are learned and the basics such as morals, love, respect, sharing and kindness are not on the curriculum.

As youngsters growing up in England these invaluable lessons were taught to us in our favourite class! We waited in anticipation for this class every week. Nobody was ever sick or missed school that day because we got to play with the animals in the biology room. Yes, we had a room full of hamsters, Guinea pigs and even rabbits. We were encouraged to have pets and be responsible for their well being. The lessons spilled over into our every day lives and impacted on our interaction with each other and family members. The majority of us grew into caring, responsible nurturing parents. That generation went the proverbial extra mile for our friends and loved ones. Our marriages lasted, because we tried that bit harder and we respected ourselves and had respect for others. It is the most natural and obvious transition from a caring child to a caring adult, and yet it appears to have gone completely over the heads of our educators.

Because the very basic family tenets have been overlooked or discarded, we are left with a society that does not realise that an animal has basic needs and that they too have feelings, as does a human. Are you getting the picture? It is really so basic and fundamental but momentous if grasped by the masses. Crime has come of age; we are reaping what we have taught our children for the past 30 years and we need to slam on the brakes and reverse the downhill decent. It can be done and we need to start RIGHT NOW, in the classroom, with the animals.

I foresee positive changes within the next ten to fifteen years. Yes, it will take that long but if we do not make a start, it can only get worse – total lawlessness, and worst of all, lack of compassion for our fellow human man. Life has become cheap.

How is it that we can walk past an animal in obvious need of care and attention, perhaps a broken leg or worse, and feel nothing? If our hearts have become so hardened to suffering then God help us!

There are a few battling against all odds to alleviate the wilful neglect and suffering of animals. A wonderful sanctuary was recently opened in Oropouche, A NO KILL facility! Sadly they have no assistance from Government and need to depend on the generosity of the public. Without letting the “cat out of the bag” a few companies that hail from the South have truly earned their angel wings. What a fantastic group of people, I applaud you whole heartedly.

We also have several young vets and some maybe not so young (smile) that give generously of their time. I recently assisted, in a very small way, a wonderfully enthusiastic and caring vet perform spay and neutering operations on some homeless cats who are resident on the South Wharf. Notice the conditions under which he has to operate. My question here is, couldn’t we as a group of retired caring animal lovers come together and purchase a small second hand van that could be equipped as a roving ambulance? Is there anybody out there willing to take on this challenge? Does anyone care?

I have written a children’s book entitled “Laila – A Trini “pothound” A tale of Survival. It is aimed at the young and seeks to instil in them all of the values I have mentioned above. It is my fervent hope that it could be put in every child’s school bag. Perhaps our present Minister, Dr. Tim Gopeesingh would be will to “try a ting!” as all else appears to have failed.

As a final note remember a pet can return love, give comfort and it is also a fact that a pet can enhance and prolong life. We have evidence of cats having coexisted with humans as far back as 4000BC. We see cats depicted in many wall paintings as part of the agricultural scene; where there is grain there are rats and mice. For thousands of years cats have roamed the homes and castles of our ancestors and in Egypt were even elevated to the status of Gods. Perhaps Cleopatra and her feline entourage would make a nice topic for another article!

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