“It’s disgusting that people would do this,” she said. “It’s sick. This is one of the worst cases (of neglect) I’ve ever seen.”
The bad and the ugly is taking an older dog, such as Tribe, not letting her walk enough to wear down her own nails, leave her starving on the side of the road. The ugly is her being hit not once, but twice by cars. The bad is her condition. The really bad is that Tribe is not alone, there are many dogs, cats, horses and other animals experiencing abuse, neglect, outright abandonment and cruelty this very moment!
The good is Animal Control Officers like Bonnie, the good is people like Sally Hull of Hull's Haven Border Collie Rescue, Darcy of D'arcy's Arc in Winnipeg, the people who have joined forces to have a single voice for small shelters and all rescues in Manitoba. Manitoba Voice for Animals has been working to find Tribe a foster to care for her and help her golden years be her best.
The comments you see expressed on social networking sites, blogs and in emails express our outrage (entirely justifiable), our horror (completely understandable) and our disgust (if you aren't then stop reading right now). They show our displeasure and strong feelings about this dog and all animals who have been treated like her with no love, no respect and no care.
The old saying, "The more I get to know people, the more I love my dog (cat, horse, fish, ferret, etc)!" can be no truer than when you hear the voices of animal lovers united in outrage. I would love to be able to harness that sense of outrage and channel it in a slightly different direction.
When we feed the negative, when we build comment upon comment we do get our feelings out. No doubt about it. We also don't get a chance to use that energy to say, "Hey someone cares!" or "Hey, someone is looking out for animals, let's help!" It doesn't give us a chance to say good things about rescue, about animal control officers who truly put welfare first, about shelters working hard to have a no-kill world.
As loud as our voices can be in outrage, the do NO GOOD! We only add to the UGLY, we only remind ourselves and others of the BAD. We don't get the chance to speak out, and be heard, about the choices people have. About the resources available to them that the side of the road is not acceptable and here's why...fill in your reasons...
We don't get to use our voices to shout out about rescues needing fosters, shelters needing loving forever homes, we don't get to speak up for the animals. When we spend out time on the outrage too long it passes and our voices are lost in the noise of the day. No one is left with an idea, a clue, that there are better choices, better options and we lose a chance to gain a friend, a foster, an adopter.
When we get past the first few chances to speak with outrage we have a small window where people pause to get their breath - a moment that the media and the public share - where we can fill it with good information. We can use that small window to paste a link, post a blog, write a comment, volunteer our selves and our voices for the greater cause of caring for our animals!
Responsible pet owners do not do this to their animals. This act of cruelty is going to be a rally point for people. We as people care enough to share our resources, our knowledge, our passion and fill that window with something other people and the media can use. Links to rescues, links to vets, links to Facebook groups and fan pages where the questions of "What can I do?" and "How can I help?" meet face to face with the people who can properly answer them.
We can choose to turn the outrage into something that can bring good, we can choose to use our space of time to be heard in a way that gives people tools, choices and resources. Options for something better for themselves and animals.
Be outraged! Be angry! Be offended! Be careful...the hateful words you say today could drown out the information you would wish to share tomorrow. The unfocused anger could leave us with no energy left to speak out and advocate for change.
It's okay to say this is terrible but it is even better to follow it with but together we can do something to change it!