This Sunday some local folks will be going for a little walk. It should be a lovely day, as spring is in the air and it appears that summer, glorious summer, is right around the corner. And this walk should be a lovely one, but the reason behind it is a bit serious, and one we need to have a dialogue about in this community. You see this walk is the annual Fort McMurray SPCA Walk to Stop Animal Abuse. And why do we need to talk about this, and a walk to both raise funds to address it and raise awareness? Because animal abuse is happening right here, and right now, in our community.
I was there when a small kitten named Oscar was fished out of a dumpster downtown by passersby, and I even wrote about it. And you have probably read other stories recently, about abused dogs, and newborn puppies thrown away like trash, and sled dogs being kept in poor conditions. And these are only the incidents we know about. I shudder to think about the kittens that are not found, and the incidents of abuse that we never see.
There is a very direct and proven link between those who abuse animals and their inclination to inflict similar abuse on people. I believe that those who can abuse an animal are lacking in compassion and empathy, and after all if one considers human beings a big animal then we are just as vulnerable to that lack of compassion and empathy. This dark link is one of the reasons we need to discuss animal abuse, because this abuse of animals can indicate that there is far more going on, a deeper current of abuse and violence that may touch human lives. But that is only one of the reasons we need to discuss it. We need to discuss it because of another firm belief I hold.
That is what I believe, and I believe that animals fall into the category of helpless. They depend on us for everything, and so we are responsible for them. I believe that we are judged by how we treat those who are vulnerable, and if we abuse them then we will be judged harshly - and rightly so. If we fail those who need us most then we deserve to be condemned, because then we have failed not only them but ourselves. This isn't about fluffy kittens and puppies, although one cannot look into those little trusting eyes without melting. This is really about all of the creatures who share this planet, and about the responsibility we as humans have to those who inhabit it with us.
I encourage you to sign up to walk this Sunday. I encourage you to raise pledges, or just outright donate to the Fort McMurray SPCA so they can continue to do the work they desperately need to do. They are one of the things that stands between us and a failing grade as a society. We may not be able to stop all incidents of animal abuse - but we can support an organization that fights that dark side of our world, and that tends to those that are helpless. It is organizations like the Fort McMurray SPCA that may well determine how history judges us - and I hope that through our support of them history will judge us kindly. It is one day, one walk - and time to change the way history will see us.
And as they like to say at the SPCA
"Paws Up" to you for supporting!