EDITION OF FRIDAY, AUGUST 3, 2018 [PetPowellPress] Now and then things can get depressing and overwhelming for the hearts and souls involved in animal rescue and advocacy. And that's the other side of a mission that can celebrate gleefully the placement of a dog or cat with "iffy" social skills or a tendency to hog the remote! Yes, we have reasons to celebrate, but some times there are moments....well, you know -- things get to you.
Our pal, the longtime animal advocate Beverly Fyfe, suggested that this might be a good time to revisit the remarks my wisespouse Martha gave in 2006 at the Operation Kindness memorial service for Mercy, the dog fatally, intentionally, maliciously injured by a very misguided young man. Evil, some might say.
Mercy wasn’t “killed” outright. She suffered and suffered for 10 days and then died. Why did this happen? Courtroom testimony demonstrated how horrible this was. When she would not mate with another dog, the young man she trusted poured a flammable liquid on her and set her ablaze. And, yet, she lingered. With hope. Then, there was none and Mercy was gone.
Twelve years ago. Then-Operation Kindness President and Executive Director Jonnie England, who’d been helping in the care of Mercy, asked Martha to speak at the service. Beverly wrote, “I do not remember the words but do remember being moved to tears by the eloquent comments your Martha made at Mercy's memorial service. Would you, would she, consider posting them again? Everyone in this rescue world could surely use some eloquence about this avocation we have chosen.”
[We’ll have more about the Mercy legal case in Contemplations after the remarks and after our traditional appeals for help for animals. I hope you'll read Martha's remarks before you continue into the rest of this edition -- you may find new hope, new enthusiasm for your mission.]
Here are Martha’s remarks:
The author of the book Dominion, Matthew Scully, wrote this: “Animals are more than ever a test of our character, of mankind’s capacity for empathy and for decent, honorable conduct and faithful stewardship. We are called to treat them with kindness … because they all stand unequal and powerless before us.”
The fate of man and of animals is entwined throughout history, but a restriction was placed on our dominion over animals, and Proverbs 12 describes it this way: “A righteous man regards the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.”
We can see what the Divine Order is in our relationship with animals, but we can’t help but ask why God allows mankind to perpetrate a crime such as Mercy suffered. We know whose side He is on. After all, Psalms 34 says, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
For me, the answer lies in the fact that God gave us self-determination. Each person is given a choice of what they will harbor in their heart: good or evil.
If you have ever felt love in your heart, then you have known the existence of goodness. If you have ever felt hate or fear in your heart, then you have known the existence of evil.
The cruel murder of this beautiful soul serves to remind us that there is evil in this world. That she was rescued by good Samaritans and brought to this place, where kind arms were waiting to show her love and try to save her life, makes us know that there is goodness in this world.
Which is stronger? Well, in this case, goodness looked into the eyes of a broken, tortured animal and named her what it saw: “Mercy.” Goodness welled up in the hearts of thousands of people who learned of Mercy’s story. Prayers, and offers to help, and donations for Mercy’s care rained down on this place.
And because we know that God’s covenant with Mercy’s soul was not dependent upon how mankind treated her, and because He promises that if we are absent from our earthly body, we are present with the Lord, we know that today she is in Heaven with a Good Shepherd.
And still, you know, sometimes people ask why we spend our time and money and often our very life force on animal rescue when there are so many manifestations of evil in the world that they believe are more important. Why would we waste time fighting evil against animals when there is evil against man to be fought?
Well, in my lifetime a lot of these people asking these questions have been related to me, and they have all been intensely religious but forgetful. They forget that God called Himself and His Son a shepherd over and over again; they forget that He identified Himself with animal caretakers, singling them out in Bethlehem’s fields to hear the first news of the birth of His Son. And they forget that the birth of Christ, which could have taken place anywhere on Earth, took place in a stable where among the first things the infant would have seen were faithful animals.
But aside from that, for me the answer to why we do this lies in the fact that wars, whether they are physical or metaphysical or mental, are a series of battles on many fronts.
This is the front we have chosen: to protect helpless animals when man’s dominion over them becomes evil; to treat them with kindness; to show decent, honorable conduct and faithful stewardship. And because human beings who abuse animals always get around to abusing their fellow human beings, we are, it turns out, on the very front lines.
Sometimes we lose a battle, but we cannot give up, and we cannot stop fighting evil. We have to believe that there are more of us out there than there are of them.
Finally, what does God say of our battle?
Isaiah 58 says, “If you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.”
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ADOPTION SPECIALS, LIFE-SAVING
ADOPTIONS & RESCUES --
SOMETIMES THINGS WORK OUT
Welcome to Part II of Friday’s edition and here we go with assorted notes and a Contemplation about the legal case that involved Mercy the Dog.
IN CASE YOU DIDN’T NOTICE:
AUGUST ADOPTION SPECIAL @ DAS
Know someone who needs a dog or cat? They'll be saving lives by adopting from Dallas Animal Services.
This dog Phoebe (A1038284) looks as if someone has just said the worst words a kid can hear in opening days of August: “Back To School.” Phoebe, about 9 months old and in the shelter since July 26, is one of the many, many, many animals in the Dallas Animal Services Shelter and Adoption Center. That cat, Cham (A1037640), is nearly 3 years old and she’s spayed. “Cham” is sort of like the Dallas Cowboys and the Texas Rangers lately -- one letter short of “champ.”
Back to the adoption special: DAS is donating school supplies to Community Partners of Dallas for the organizations campaign to help students. During the special, if you make a donation of school supplies, the adoption fee for animals is lowered to $10. Without the donation, you can adopt for $20. The big shelter is at 1818 N. Westmoreland at I-30. Call the shelter at 214-670-6800.
[LARRY ASIDE: Remember, DAS will again participate in the national Clear the Shelters event on August 18. As you can see from the shelter report chart below, there’s an overabundance of dogs and cats at the shelter. They’re not all going to make it to Clear the Shelter Day. Check out that August 1 euthanasia stat and the shelter population -- yep, in a 13-county region with nearly 7 million people the needle of death is still used all too frequently. FYI: You can see the DAS stats by going to dallasanimalservices.org and clicking on “about.”]
TWO CANINE FOLLOWUPS --
THE GOODHEARTS PREVAIL
The Story of The Puppies
A couple of weeks ago we told the story of our pal Tomi Ortiz working to keep a litter of puppies out of the wrong hands. There was some success, as these smile-inspiring photos of Ariel and Annie suggest. Tomi got the great Janie Perelman involved with this effort. Tomi opened her note this week with “I just wanted to share a bit of good news...I received a call from my ex-sister- in-law letting me know that the potential puppy buyers her brother had scheduled to come get them had backed out. They backed out because they didn’t look full Pitbull…which sends chills down my spine! Makes me wonder why they wanted full pitties. But with the help of Janie, she was able to find a rescuer who will take them ... God sent me another Angel by the name of Rhonda who was willing to foster them for the night. ... I’m just so happy to know they will be safe and wanted to shout it to the world!
“ The dogs awaited their rides at O’Connor Animal Hospital “where they treated the puppies like little princesses. Jamie named them...they got their first round of shots, have started the deworming process and Janie even got them microchipped. Waggin’ Tails came to pick them up -- along with another Janie rescue named ‘Cowboy.’ They’re on their way to happier lives.”
You can follow Wagging Tails Transport and Rescue of Pleasanton, Texas, on Facebook HERE.
The Story of These Dogs
You may recall these two from an appeal on their behalf just after the middle of July. Anita Edson of the ASPCA in New York City still has roots in the animal community in Dallas -- she once toiled for the SPCA of Texas. But in this case, she was trying to help place a couple of dogs who belonged to a Dallas friend who was going into assisted living and couldn’t take the dogs along. That friend is also known as an animal advocate. Sadie is a 9-year-old Pom mix and Rocky is a neutered, 5-year-old poodle blind in his right eye.” Here’s how it turned out. Anita says they were placed together with an acquaintance of the dogs’ human, a caregiver who knew the dogs and what they’d need. nita sent a thanks to all the local folks who’d worked on this “rescue.” She wrote, “I appreciate you taking the time to share on your own social networks and keeping [my friend] in your thoughts/prayers.”
THREE FROM MESQUITE
Judi Brown, the volunteer biographer for Mesquite Animal Services, sent us notes about three dogs moving closer and closer to the needle.
“They are Sheila (39263799) a 2-year-old wonderfully marked Pittie girl surrendered on June 30 -- first human handed her off to another guy who dumped her at the shelter. She’s a busy, energetic 50 pounds.
Cassie (39258515), a 2-year-old old Pittie mix, was surrendered on July 30. “The reason given is that she was unwanted.” She recently had a litter of pups. She also likes to stick with the human who’s showing her attention. And, “She literally laid down next to our shelter cat.”
Bella (39268316), a 4-month-old Lab/Shepherd mix, was “surrendered because the owners didn’t have enough time for her.” Bella, however, makes time for any human. She’ll roll over for belly rubs and, at 36-pounds, prefers to be indoors.
To ask about helping to save the lives of these or any animal in the Mesquite Shelter, call 972-216-6283 or email email@example.com.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
READ OUR EARLY EDITION, TOO
Yes, we posted an early edition on Thursday that focused on animals facing the needle in the crowded small shelter in Wilmer, on I-45 south of Dallas. One of the dogs is this one, Big Boy, a victim of his human’s death and the lack of a place to go. Here he is in the shelter, perhaps the saddest dog photograph ever taken.
There’s a chance to save this guy. In fact, he may have already been claimed, but he is one of many. After you read this contemplation, scroll down and read Big Boy’s tale, too.
Among the people who attended the Mercy service at Operation Kindness were then-Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins and Chief Prosecutor David Alex. If there was any good that came out of the horrible death of Mercy, it was that the district attorney’s office began putting sincere legal pressure on people who mistreated animals. Sure, people continue to mistreat them, but since the Mercy incident the organized legal effort has been enhanced in order to make sure the bad guys pay for the way they break Texas’ animal cruelty laws in Dallas County. Ask some old-timers: They’ll tell you that not all that long ago, animal abusers could grin with a sneer, laugh and walk away without feeling the pinch of a set of handcuffs no matter what they’d done to an animal. If you click HERE, you’ll see a round-up and photos about the Mercy case. And -- be warned -- if you click HERE you can read the Fifth Court of Appeal’s affirmation of the verdict declaring the bad guy guilty -- the opinion has ugly details. I can’t even bear to type the bad guy’s name and I don’t know where he is today. He was sentenced to four years in prison and ordered to pay a $5,000 fine. It wasn’t enough, but it’s what he got in September, 2007. The prosecution wanted the max -- 10 years. That’s legally. Morally, he’s got Mercy on his soul for the rest of time.
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