Thursday, September 18, 2008

Our two month "badiversary"

Two months, or eight weeks, FIFTY-SIX nights and days for Brindi in the pound, all those nights with the bed empty, no walks, no cheerful furry face next to me, no brown body wiggling with the wagging tail, not even a glimpse of her for all this time, only bad news.

It is hard to be detached about things today. My disbelief and shock and anger and sadness and grief and horror and fear and terror conspire against such a feat. I hope nobody out there has to go through this. There may be worse things indeed, but in my life, with all the ups and downs I have had, this is by far the worst, for its senselessness and frustration and duration. Among other things.

I cannot hold onto any other thought for very long.

"It is a dog, you know," says a lawyer. Many people say this, as if it would change my feelings, or the wrongness of the euthanization order. It's akin to others who said - not to me, thankfully, but friends: "It's just a dog."

Well, all I can say in response is, "It is death, you know. Senseless, needless killing that we are talking about." Just because she's a dog does not make it okay for a city to kill her, when a fence and training will take care of the problem. It is not okay to kill. Brindi is a dog, not vermin. I love her. She hears, smells, and loves me better than any human I know. She is irreplaceable. I will not simply go to the SPCA and "get another one," as one of the other dog owners suggested.

It is simply wrong to kill this dog. I cannot let something this wrong happen to an animal in my care. And I have to ask: with all the gifts I have been given, and the support coming from out there, if I can't save a dog, what good am I?

If we cannot honor these helpless creatures who love, give, and forgive us without a thought for themselves, what good are we?

Permit me

to preach just a bit (or a bit more, depending on your opinion).

As I wait for my precious old banged-up laptop to be repaired, and have the use of a friend's machine for the duration (luckily!), I have to deal with life a bit differently. My brain is gone, or part of it, without the laptop.

In any case, I was reading Granny's blog today, searching for words of wisdom. In my mind, the word Granny always conjures up the Beverly Hillbillies character, but today's grandmothers sure don't look like her. Not unlike them, though, she certainly had strong opinions and was nobody's fool.

Granny lays out her goals for the legislative situation and calls for animal law reform, pointing out measures that cost now but will save money in the long term.

A wise argument, and it struck me that it just begins to tell the story, in economic terms alone. If you add the extra dollar value that animals, such as dogs, represent in terms of savings on human health, including anti-depressants, psychotherapy, physical therapy, diet pills, and any number of other health-related costs, you would realize that they save the government a great deal of money, and not only the government, but all of us. It is time to rethink dogs and start connecting some dots. If you bring one dog into a male prison, the entire mood lightens and becomes friendlier, researchers say. Dogs kept as pets in prisons would save a lot on mood stabilizers and anti-depressants and other medications commonly to control the prisoners... not to mention extra security measures.

Many other areas of life benefit similarly from the presence of dogs. Clearly we should think of them as more than just pets or something to be controlled in urban areas. They are an infinite resource for the good of mankind that has gone unexamined far too long. We all know what dogs and other pets do for people, even those among us who do not love them recognize this. Let that irrefutable knowledge shape our policies and laws and practices.

Any way you look at it, multiplied across the lands, benefits to people offered by dogs are enormous, and true bargains in a time of increasing hardship. I would bet that if the real values were added up when it comes to dogs, we would be amazed. And I would like to see how they compare to the risks, bad as they might be at times. All dogs really want is to be with, work with people, whether that is through love and affection or sniffing out cancer. What other amazing things can they do? How will we ever know if we insist on killing them off by the tens of thousands, like plants in the rainforest?

In a civil society, that increasingly utopian place, no city should routinely kill dogs and cats. There is nothing routine about killing a dog or a cat. Anyone who has ever witnessed a euthanization knows just how true this is.

And in a civil society, the greatest protections should be extended to our greatest treasures. Before that happens, we must first recognize exactly what those treasures are, take a careful inventory. Dogs belong right up there alongside corporations. Goodness knows, they are a lot less exploitative.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.