Being an animal advocate is difficult and in todays times under a president elect who doesn’t see the world of animals and the environment as we do is going to be a huge challenge now more than every before.
A bird is squawking and it’s not a sweet song. It’s a screeching cry for help. As I walk down my neighbors driveway to see what’s going on, my heart skips a beat and in that moment, I hate humanity. This poor bird is stuck to a glue pad meant for rats and mice. Her wings are glued to the pad, her legs, stuck in the glue are broken and she’s screaming in agony.
Enjoying a bowl of oatmeal one morning, I hear crows sounding off in a way that is quite disturbing. I see them in the mighty oak above; two of them screaming with alarm, looking down at me, or was it at me? I look in the direction that they are looking, only to find a fledgling sitting on the ground unable to fly. Rushing back to shut the door so my dogs don’t come and try to help, I pick up the little fledgling and take him to a safe place in my back yard, closing the gate so that the dogs can’t get back there. I went inside, listened and watched. The parents did indeed go to their baby and an hour later the fledgling was gone and all was quiet again.
While waiting for an employee in a feed store, to check stock for me, I see glue pads on top of the dog food bags in the stock room. Every third bag has a dead rat or one struggling on the glue pad, slowly dying with no one paying any attention.
People standing talk holding their trophy of a wild animal, often going extinct, bragging about the life they took so they can stuff it and hang on their walls.
Many animals, held in captivity in tanks, behind bars that are for our entertainment and money is just wrong!
There are many stories like this, where we have all witnessed some kind of killing spree and inhumane treatment of animals, yet in continues. It continues because people are still uneducated. Products are sold to poison, trap, choke, shock, kill, restrain inhumanely and cage yet if we don’t come to their rescue, who will? Until we step up our game in the name of humane education and safety in the animal kingdom, nothing will change.
It’s not easy being an animal advocate but who said life is easy. I have been harassed, called names, told to mind my own business, shot at, (yes that’s what I said) shots fired in my direction when I took videos and pictures of a supposed animal sanctuary’s inhumane conditions. Still, I continue to be their voice because once my eyes were opened, I can’t close them… ever again.
I have also been thanked, hugged, rewarded, licked, whipped by happy tails, witnessed the softness in a fearful dogs eye, seen the look on peoples faces when their dog goes from so called hyperactive to willing compliance, seen tears falling from the eyes of a teenager when I taught her how to give fluids to her puppy who had Parvovirus and she couldn’t afford the vet bills. Her puppy survived! This is what has me continue to be an advocate for all animals.
I bring politics into this, because under Trump and his cabinet are people who don’t care about animals or climate change and yes, they are a delicate symbiotic relationship between the two. Things will get worse if we don’t take a much bigger stand than we have ever done before.
Here’s my commitment to being an animal advocate for this next year and every year thereafter.
I will NOT:
- Use pesticides in my home or on my property
- Stand by when I see any form of abuse or neglect.
- Be quiet when someone tries to justify the killing of rodents and understand why it doesn’t work.
- Turn down a client for lack of funds.
- Use choke chains, shock collars, prong collars or any device that causes pain while training dogs because there are other more effective humane ways to train.
- Ride in a horse drawn carriage.
- Go to any place that uses animals for entertainment; Sea World, Circuses, etc.
- Give booster vaccinations to any of my animals.
- Use toxic chemicals on my animals for pest control.
- Continue to be open and educate myself in the field of dog training and behavior.
- Continue to educate others on dog body language.
- Ask questions so that I can be a better educator.
- Be a better listener.
- Blog about everything dog.
- Spread the word about Fear Free Pets.
- Be a model for humane practices in the horse world; no bits, no metal shoes, no forced running in circles in a round pen, better saddle fit or better yet go treeless.
- Feed my animals clean food.
- Study with Dr. Susan Friedman; behaviorist.
- Speak out and loudly if needed on behalf of all sentient beings. Speak to my senators and stay in tune with legislature than can hurt our animals.
- Try to be patient, knowing change is happening yet there’s work to be done and there is hope.
Of course, read and reread more Wendell Berry and Jane Goodall for continued inspiration.
Please share your commitment to animal advocacy for this next year. We can support each other if we know what we’re up to.
Blessings all ways!
About the author: Jill Breitner is a dog trainer and expert in dog body language. She is a certified Fear Free Professional, completed studies in Animal Behavior and Welfare and the author of Dog Decoder, a smartphone app about dog body language, available in iTunes and Google play. Find her on her Dog Decoder Facebook page.