It's what makes us feel human...
I don't mind sharing that this story brought me to tears. Right here at my desk in my office where I do my day job - the one I should be doing now...and should have been busy attending to when I read this story. I'm an animal lover, yes. But I have also become a farmer (hobby or part-time many will be quick to point out); along with that has been the realization that some animals will live miserable lives and we cannot save them all. Frankly this dog is one of the lucky ones. Lilo will find a loving home because of this notoriety and may even be reunited with his family in one of those feel good stories we see Steve Hartman do on CBS News. I hope so in fact. But this is not a one off story, there are lots of pets and their people in this predicament.
My tears didn't run down my cheeks for Lilo, though I am sure he was confused and scared and I do care about that. The woman and kids behind Lilo's note are who brought my tears. I am physically aching right now, wondering where they are and how they're doing. I understand the tough decision mom had to make. I stopped at PetSmart on my way back to the office after teaching this morning. I grabbed for the normal dry food we feed Chief and was taken aback by its price. I'd remembered paying $41-$45 for this size bag not too long ago. I guess I am blessed that I hadn't noticed the price creeping up the last several months. But damn, when did it become a deal to have it on sale for $61.99?! My first thought was my families I encounter through LITE. Even the less expensive brands I looked for were well over $30 for a large bag (Chief weighs 145 lbs). I wondered what already food insecure and perhaps shelter insecure families were doing to be able to continue buying pet food. So, this topic was already in the back of my mind today.
Once a week or so I chat with one of my guys inside about the pet or pets they've left behind on the outside, been forced to give away, or simply lost. I see the hurt as they share their stories. I also experience their genuine interest to hear about Chief or the farm animals and my stories about them. Just yesterday a guy asked Tammy as she wheeled the library cart into his block about Chief. Pets bring us joy; even other people's pets. There's something about being able to keep and care for a pet that makes us feel good. They give us unconditional love sure. But there's so much more that we get by being able to care for them, to feed them, to protect them, and to shelter them. Even when we cannot do this for ourselves and our kids, we can draw comfort from having such a companion. In short, having pets makes us feel human, even when the world is telling us we aren't...human I mean. Make no mistake about it, when we let a mom with two kids and a dog exist without shelter, we're telling them they are less than human.
So, yeah, the dog is a sad deal. But my tears came because of that family. They're somewhere in Tennessee but I see them in the faces of so many families we work with right here in Kosciusko County, Indiana. And I don't know where you're reading this from, but I know for certain these folks are in your backyard too.