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Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Jane's World

I don't think it's any surprise that liberal bloggers are pet freaks -- witness any given Friday when just about any given blogger pays tribute with photos of dubious focus and composition to their animal companions. I'm not saying lefties have the corner on pet love, but I think on the whole they tend to be people sensitive to the needs of others, and animals are the soul of compassion. I remember driving down Hollywood Boulevard one night and seeing this homeless guy curled up on the sidewalk with his dog, and I remember thinking -- what human would have that kind of compassion that they would lay down with the dirty, the crazy and the unloved and give comfort to them? It's Christ-like in a way that humans don't even seem to have the capacity to be.

My dogs are zen dogs. They are absolutely in the moment; they don't think about the past or worry about the future. They are sensitive to a degree that boggles the mind. Katie woke me up the other night to fill the water dish because Kobe was thirsty. How did she know? Did they discuss it? They have a joy in life that you almost never see in people, and I consider their care an absolutely sacred trust. No matter what else is happening in my life, those dogs are taken care of first and foremost, to the absolute best of my ability. I never take them for granted. I eat MacDonalds myself, but I drive 40 miles once a month to Lincoln City to Paws on the Sand to buy them all-organic food. They get a long walk on the beach every morning, come rain or shine. In LA they only drank bottled water, but here in Oregon the quality of the local water is excellent so they are now relegated to tap, which they are quite happy with. Which probably places me firmly in "nutjob" territory as far as many people are concerned, but I could really give a shit. My dogs are happy and healthy.

Which is why it made me physically ill to hear what is happening in Georgia, where animal control officers have taken in 321 abandoned dogs and cats since January, when the Fort Stewart-based 3rd Infantry Division deployed 19,000 troops to Iraq. They've been dumped off at the pound, or found wandering the street, hungry and dirty and frightened. They've been discovered emaciated in the back yards of abandoned homes. To date 119 have been euthanized.

Who thinks this is okay? Treating a dog like a fucking beanie baby you can play with and love and just throw away when you're done with it? Well, I guess people who think war is a good job. You would hope that the military could cough up a few dollars of the billions they are funneling to Halliburton to help with the problem, but you would be wrong. Volunteers in the community are struggling to find both foster and permanent homes for the animals before "euthanasia day." It's absolutely abhorrent.

Gandhi once said, "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be determined by the way it treats its animals." I absolutely believe this to the core of my being. If Jane ruled the world, it would look a lot more like Turin, Italy, where a law was recently passed fining you $650 if you don't walk your dog three times a day. Further, you can be fined up to $13,000 and spend a year in prison if you are found to have tortured or abandoned your pet. "To enforce the law, Turin police would rely largely on the help of tipsters spotting cruel treatment by their neighbors," they note. If you plan on being cruel to your pet, don't live next to me, because I would absolutely snitch.

So, the question of the day -- what would your world look like? If you were emperor for a day, how would you change it for the better? (After you throw Novak in chains & lock him up, that is -- that's a given.)

Update: Welcome to everyone coming over from TBogg, who happens to be another not-so-closeted dog softie. Please feel free to have a look around. BTW we LOVE comments.