Tuesday, 28 June 2011

I'm staying at home with the bunnies

I have returned from the annual mud fest that is Glastonbury Festival - a national treasure in my eyes. It is probably more special than ever to me now because we are facilitated in enjoying the event by being able to use a campsite designated for folks with disabilities. The campsite is an absolute godsend and testament to how committed the festival and individual organisers are to enabling everyone to participate. They all have my greatest of admiration, as do all the attendees who are so determined to enjoy life to the full despite pain and/or bodily malfunctions/compromises. I find it reassuring, to be honest.

Having checked out what I'm walking back into work to tomorrow I'm also reassured that it is safe to return! No major catastrophes except the very sad health diagnosis of a little dog called Charlie, who has since been put to sleep. She had a health problem that should have been rectified years ago and is now too insurmountable for us to overcome. So sad, and yet so unnecessary.

'Consequences' was one of two themes I took away from this year's festival outing. It struck me more than ever that people (at the festival) act before thinking through what effect their action might have. I don't know why this was such a revelation to me but it just seemed that everywhere I looked there were people doing things to satisfy their immediate need without thinking about the impact of it.

This concept resonates even further into the wider community when I think of what we do and dogs like Charlie, and when I look at the wider world and the two news stories I first encountered when I got home last night.

The first was from my local paper (warning, this is shocking). There was an article about a man who had tortured a baby rabbit in a pub after no-one would buy it off him. Allegedly the man waved the rabbit around by its ears, forced a lit cigarette down its mouth, slammed its head against a hard surface, set its fur alight and then broke its neck.


All the way through reading this article just one thing stood out - why had no-one intervened?

The next article, which has likely received far greater publicity, was of the two police dogs who were left in a locked car in soaring heat. I understand they both later died at the vets.

What stood out for me on this was how? How can two dogs be forgotten?

I am in no way attempting to draw parallels between the two incidents but what did strike me was how one got far more attention than the other, and why? Is it because a dog's life is perceived to be of greater value than a rabbit's? Well, probably partially, but if we are honest it is more about who the perpetrator of the crime is, isn't it?

I could go on, but I think it is far more productive to focus on the positive news I learned from Mr Steven Patrick Morrissey at around 9pm on Friday night. I think I was a solitary whoop in the crowd, but who cares, because he told me that the ban on wild animals in circuses had been passed. News I've been waiting to hear for very many years and a triumph of good over evil (ahem). I can't tell you how incredible this news is to so many of us, in particular the good folks at CAPS. It proves to me once more, that as a nation we do value animals lives and have some of the best laws in the world.

The other highlight I have to share is the fabulous picture above that was waiting for me in my inbox. This is Monty and Jerry, adopted from us at least 2 years ago. Their story is sadly an all too familiar one now - from an animal hoarder's home, dogs stacked up in cages, breeds unrecognisable due to their degree of neglect. These two in particular had suffered, more than anything psychologically. Had they not been taken on by the folks who adopted them there would not have been a happy ending for them, such was there depth of disturbance. One is still troubled to this day but they are with deeply committed and experienced dog lovers and proves yet again how great humans really can be.

I've learnt something else whilst away this weekend. It was eloquently articulated by the wonderful Jeremy Hardy. During his comedy set he explained that he is often accused of 'hating people'' (something that you'll often find muttered around our office) but what is actually the case is that he hates what people do.

I frequently hold out such faith and hope in humanity but all too often (in our field) they do things I absolutely despise and despair of. I'm not quite sure how you ever really separate the action from the person (and that was essentially Mr Hardy's cheeky point) but as a whole I so desperately want to believe that as a species we are fundamentally good. Let's hope there's plenty of proof of it this week or else I'm staying at home with the bunnies (oh, if only!).