I love it that there are people who will fight for the best care for animals. I really do! And yet I have been over-run by this very “do-gooder-ness” when it comes to my own care and enjoyment of animals. There is an extremism that can leave those of us who enjoy training animals feeling really thrown under the bus! Two stories come to mind.
Back in the days when I was still a farm wife I had a horse I used to enjoy riding on the dirt roads where I lived. We would take an hour’s ride every day around a loop which passed in front of the home of this woman who insisted on feeding my stallion an apple whenever she saw us. One particular day the horse was not cooperating, and I told the woman she could not feed him an apple that day. Boy, did she get mad at me! She swore I should never be riding him anyway, that riding him was abusive, and I was a bad person. I don’t think she ever thought about the hours I sweated away in the hay mow putting up hay for the horse to enjoy the good life that he had.
This other story is about greyhound adoption. Apparently if these dogs don’t do well on the track, they are euthanized. I know two wonderful souls who had adopted such dogs, who had room on their farm to run free, and gave them a good home, training them to co-exist with people and spending quality time with them. This created a wonderful idea in me that I might do the same, so when I met a couple of people addressing greyhound adoption at my local farm store, I engaged them in conversation.
These two people were so full of conditions that I must meet before I could adopt any of these dogs that I quickly decided they did not have any real interest in how I might provide a greyhound with a good, loving home. The entire message they delivered was about how they would coerce me to meet their viewpoint over how these dogs ought to be cared for. Wanting to see if they could be more open-minded, I shared the story of my friends and their greyhounds whom they trained and enjoyed. This couple said that greyhounds were too stupid to be trained. What??? Further conversation revealed to me that this couple spent very little time with their own dogs.
I believe in training my dogs to be good citizens with people, I spend time with them, and enjoy their company. With good training, you can exist with a dog just about anywhere. I firmly believe this. Yet when I told this couple my story of my two friends who had given their greyhounds such wonderful care and training, they placed so many conditions around my adoption of these dogs that any such adoption was just impossible.
I think that many people want to do good in the world, and there is always a cause to be advocated and to provide education around. What the couple in the story I shared above failed to realize was that just because my way wasn’t their way, did not mean it was not a good way. If they had truly been interested in adopting out these greyhounds they would have talked with me more fully about how that could happen. What they were really looking for was people to gratify their idea of how it should be done.
Creator, sometimes I meet people and there is just no way to have a meaningful conversation because they or I hold opinions about which we will never see eye to eye. Sometimes our own ideas defeat the cause we are trying to espouse. It often happens that when people disagree they form hatreds where before there were none. Creator, please open the eyes of humanity to seek common ground where there was none before and so begin the possibility of honest and sincere dialog. Amen.