Posted by: ritagone | May 11, 2011

Something About Dogs

Something quite ironic struck me today: we (Michael and I) took our 13-year-old dog to the veterinarian because she has been acting strangely, as if something is hurting her.  Too bad dogs and cats can’t just tell you where it hurts, point to the spot, articulate the pain at the vet’s and be done with it.  That could save us all a lot of trouble and expense.  Instead, we watched as the doctor went over her body tenderly, gently, probing, not wanting to hurt her but needing to find any spots that might illicit a response of pain that would show him where the problem was.  He moved her hind legs backwards and forwards, noting the joints.  He did the same with her front legs.  He moved his fingers along her spine, pinching gently to see if anything was sore there.  Nothing.  At least she didn’t try to bite him, as she did Michael Sunday night when he tried to help her up onto our bed.  (For 13 years she has been able to leap up easily onto our bed.  Sunday night was the first time that she couldn’t make it.  She jumped and failed.  He thought he would help her by assisting her.  But when he put his hand under her belly to do that, she freaked out and snapped at him.  That’s just not like Zuzu.  She is not and has never been an aggressive dog.  This was when we knew something was really bothering her.)

So the end result of the trip to the vet was some x-rays that revealed nothing much except the suspicion that she may have an injured back or some soreness due to arthritis, exacerbated by the fact that she is now frolicking through the house with a 5-month-old Havanese puppy who thinks she’s the greatest friend and playmate in the world.  So we brought her home with a prescription for an anti-inflammatory drug that will hopefully reduce any internal inflammation, with doctor’s orders to rest and stop acting like she’s twelve again.  So she and I curled up and watched a movie for two hours.

Oh, the care and attention we give our animals!

We feed them and nurture them and worry about them as much as we do our children and our own persons.  Statistics in the United States say that we spend about as much money on our pets as we do on our children, which is mildly frightening.  We even clothe our dogs in the dead of winter when there are children in the world who are freezing, feed our animals choice product while we all know that hundreds of thousands of babies and toddlers go hungry each day, and coddle them with soft surroundings while pampered pets sleep and live in posh places.

Oh, we take great care of the dog and the cat in our homes.

And yet we can’t seem to find it in our hearts to be humane to our fellow human beings.  And there’s the irony I talked about at the beginning of this piece: that we can fret and worry and spend good money on the care of a dog while we don’t seem to care that people in the neighboring country are being decimated by another tribe.  Or that we can so easily go to war against another country, knowing that thousands of men and women will end their lives on the field of battle.

Permit me another movie reference:  I watched a wrenching film the other day about Ireland’s break from England in the 1920’s.  Titled “The Wind That Shook the Barley,” it tells the story of the uprising against Britain’s occupation of Ireland, and how the Irish lads left their farms and jobs to take up arms to throw the British out, only to wind up fighting their fellow countrymen when they disputed the next step: total Irish rule versus partial British authority.  Friends and brothers who fought side by side against the British wound up enemies who took one another’s lives because they couldn’t agree on what Ireland was to look like and how it was to be governed.

Man’s inhumanity to man.  Thus it has always been so.  We treat our pets better than we treat our people.  And how it must grieve the heart of God.  There is no excuse for it, no rational reason that can defend in any way, shape or form the behavior that allows us to value canines and felines above men, women and children.

Perhaps it’s because our dogs (I’m not speaking for cats here and would never presume to do so) give us such unconditional love, no questions asked, no sass, no temperamental tantrums.  Just a loving tail wag and lick on the hand when we walk in the door that tells us that no matter who we are or what we’ve done, we are loved.  Who wouldn’t respond back positively to that kind of treatment?

And so, in this Rita’s Ramblings which is truly rambling and so aptly named, I want to walk away with two thoughts: I do love my two dogs and I want to take care of them and be responsible for them, and I do want to be careful for the people who come into my world also.  I don’t ever want to be more loving and caring for my animals than I am for the people around me.

And I hope you feel the same way!

Have a wonderful rest of the week and great weekend.

Regards, Rita

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