It was a rainy Wednesday morning in January and time was slipping by a quarter to nine. Soaked by the torrential downpour, a lost dog scampered along the side of a busy two-lane road in a large suburb. Lost, hungry and tired.
The weekend—a brisk, sun-drenched Saturday—in a small, seaside town nudged against the coast. Digging for food in the lifeless soil next to an old schoolhouse, a months-old dachshund begged for warmth and shelter from a few car mechanics working near by. Unsuccessful and downtrodden, he waddled toward a tourist stopped at a gas station in hopes of a small pat or second glance. Nothing, but weary efforts remained unheeded.
Stories of this kind are frequent and happen in any country, with any animal; a litter of kittens left to die in a garbage bin, two unwanted puppies dropped off near a traffic-filled interstate—both subjected to nature’s elements or the mercy of a helping hand. Despite these being all-too-common scenarios, what makes headlines is not proportional to how often an event occurs. Instances of animal abuse are rarely reported in the newspaper or on TV. And when a person happens to stumble across a small 60-second feature story on the local news pertaining to the subject, it’s so appalling and incomprehensible that the viewer is left shocked and confused. The truth is, millions may theoretically want to help the victim, but few take action.
The most innocent beings cease to be abused by the highest form of evolution: you and me. We, as humans, inherently posses the intellectual power of judgment, rationale and logical thought; yet, it’s somehow easy for us to disregard those that have virtually no voice, no weapon of defense and no place to run for safety. Because of this, we seem to forget that all animals have the same five senses that humans do. Anna Sewell, a British author, eloquently stated this reality: “We call them dumb animals, and so they are, for they cannot tell us how they feel, but they do not suffer less because they have no words.” The only real method of ethical enforcement is our own conscious mind, a scary concept indeed.
The question is often asked: Why would a mammal with such an enormous capacity to think, have a sick desire to hurt? Man has developed impressive technology, built structures taller and stronger than ever imagined, formulated the calculation for gravity, and performed successful heart transplants, all with the anthropomorphic brain. Above all, what perplexes me most is that we are clearly able to use our intelligence for good, yet we choose to use it for evil when we do not side with what’s right.
As Mark Twain wrote in his famous essay, “The Lowest Animal:” “Of all the animals, man is the only one that is cruel. He is the only on that inflicts pain for the pleasure of doing it.”
The two dogs previously mentioned were rescued. Not by Animal Control or the local police department, but instead by a compassionate individual who took an extra five minutes to merely stop and chose to do the right thing.