That was a Facebook post relayed for comment on Reddit. I read it with a large, happy rescue dog snoring on my lap; he had already been given up to shelters twice in his young life. I found myself wondering how many innocent, loving, trusting animals would be experiencing the same cruelty, not just after Christmas but after a pandemic in which shelters have been depleted by people seeking companionship while they are stuck at home.
I suppose it is a good thing the Facebook user who composed this had her name redacted: some crazed PETA members–or my wife—might have tracked her down with mayhem on their mind. I have known people like the writers—still do, in fact—and they all regard themselves as decent, ethical people whose values are in order. In truth, they have the same ethical vacuum as dog-fighting enthusiasts, just from a different socioeconomic perspective
What is especially horrible about that message is its tone, blithely talking about a living thing as if it is just on Earth for the momentary convenience of human beings, like firecracker or a piece of chewing gum. How do people get that way? How can they walk through the world, maybe go to church, watch “Lassie,” “Benji,” “Sea Biscuit,” “My Dog Skip,” “Turner and Hooch,” “Old Yeller,” “Born Free” and “Babe” (surely they can’t have missed all of them) and interact with the animal family members of friends and relatives and still not only think like that, but confidently reveal that they think like that on social media?
I thought about all the cruelty such people inflict on dogs and other creatures every day, and al I could do is reach down to the big white head with the big grey-brown spot over one eye and give it a hug…a long, long one. “You’re safe, boy, and you’re loved,” I said in a whisper, as he furiously wagged that whip-tail, making a loud drum-beat on the sofa.
And he farted.