Companion animals

Two stories in the news this week hurt my heart: one was about an adorable young pit bull who was turned in to the animal shelter where I work. He had open wounds covering his head, face, and neck; investigators determined that the wounds were consistent with his being used as a bait dog to train dogs for fighting. We took him in, treated his wounds, and assessed him for adoptability. He is a very sweet, loving, dog with a submissive personality; gets along very well with everyone and every dog he was in contact with at the kennels. Submissive dogs are sought after to be bait dogs; they don’t kill the dogs in training. This story had a happy ending; he found a forever home with a wonderful family who were happy to adopt him. Here is a story about him from our local newspaper:

The other story does not have a happy ending. Animal rescue owners in Alabama abandoned the kennel and all the animals that were there – no food or water – for over a week. Many of the animals died, some of those who survived did so by cannibalism. The kennel owners have been arrested, but nothing can make up for what they did.  Here’s a link to the story:

The last story I saw puts the count at 45 animals dead.

Our society is sick. The saying goes that we can judge what kind of society it is by how they treat the weakest among them. What does this say about our society when people refuse to spay or neuter their companion animals? When people think dogfighting is perfectly fine? When just dropping off an animal in the desert is okay once they can’t or don’t want to care for him or her any more? When drowning kittens and puppies is an alternative to spaying their female dog or cat? When letting an animal roam free, in a city, is okay?

My heart hurts for these defenseless creatures.


I have surprised myself: I have been writing in my Gratitude Journal for 15 days (I did miss one day because I forgot!) It has been quite an exercise for me in discipline and creativity. Since I participated in NaNoWriMo, which ended on the last day of November, I haven’t written much at all.

Some days are full of the mundane, and it’s hard to pick three things to put in the Journal; other days are so full of little miracles, it’s hard to pick only three to write into the Journal. And it hasn’t become any easier – yet. I suppose if gratitude were easy, everyone would do it. Wouldn’t that be a wonderful thing? People expressing gratitude for the day-to-day miracles that happen in their lives.

Nature itself is a miracle, if you stop and think about it. A tiny seed, no bigger than a pinhead, can grow into a giant tree; birds instinctively know how to build a nest, how to migrate and which way to go. I am constantly amazed at wild flora and fauna; at the way a hawk will catch the thermals and just soar in ever increasing circles until it is out of sight.

What exactly are miracles? To me, they are the everyday things that happen without any seeming interference from anyone or anything. I know that there are natural laws at work here, and I actually know some of them, but knowing doesn’t decrease my wonder at the marvels of our world.

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Who are you?


How do you define yourself? Who are you? If the first thing you say about yourself is about what you do, then you’ve missed the point. I used to start out with wife, mother, nurse. But that isn’t who I am it’s what I am; there’s a big difference. Who you are has to do with your attributes, your inner self, your qualities; what you are describes your roles in life.

I am a parent, was a wife and mother, and that’s how I defined myself. Then I began to realize that what I did had nothing to do with who I am. I spent a couple of months by myself, groping in the dark, to try to define myself as something other than a used-to-be-a-wife-and-mother-but-now-a-college-student-totally-on-my-own. It took some time for me to realize that my roles did not define who I was as a person. Gradually, my mind cleared, and I crawled out of the black hole I had made for myself to find that I actually like who I am. There were things I needed to change; I was a perfectionist, judgmental, and needed to allow others to be who they are for themselves, not because that’s what I wanted for them.

Today, I am still happy with who I am. I don’t expect life to give me anything, but I do expect to take from life whatever I need to sustain me. I will search out what I need; in books, from other people, from the Universe, wherever I can find it. And I think I can help others who might have lost their way. I will never push myself onto others; they have to want what I have and ask. Does that sound arrogant? Maybe. But I believe I have to take care of myself or I am no use to others who might need me. I know who I am and what I have to offer.  Do you?