411 Focus

How people treat their "pets" provides a pretty accurate gauge of how they treat people

Contributed By:Dorothy Nevils maslivend@sbcglobal.net

Best friend? ...NOT!

Dogs have gotten a dirty name, and I watched it happen. It wasn’t their fault. It was the people. Dogs have been dogs for as long as I can remember, memories from as far back as the bottom of those “land of Lincoln” ones I continue, even now, to hang onto… memories that generations of dog-enemies have raised their legs to desecrate, then passed down to their own offspring.

How, when, why did it start? I do not know, but it seems more than a trend, a road that has no end.

I oft remember my very early years in Southern Illinois, the then two story Bruce School – turned tavern, that stood on the west side of Route 3, about a mile or so north of the overpass where, years earlier the Illinois Central, loaded with people who wore my skin, filled segregated “cars” that smelled of fried chicken, crossed over, as they made their way toward “the promised land” and a better life in overcrowded “flats” in “the promised land.”

I remember Dick and Jane… and Sally with the golden curls, wind-tossed to catch the sun, something that couldn’t happen on my head. There was Puff, and there was Spot, two who got along, one never attacking the other, but living congenially on page 3 or page 13. I never saw them fight… never heard anything beyond, “Oh, Jane. See Spot run…”

That was enough for me! Words! Words! Words… that connected me to all sorts of things, feelings… They became my “safe space,” the place where I had control. They – and animals – gave me a space where I could create – recreate, really – how I saw myself, others, and God’s creation!

There is a part of us over which we have control. We can choose to be loving and kind, or the opposite… embracing, or dismissive… kind, benevolent, humane, or cruel. Our choice of words ultimately defines who we are. Dick and Jane, and even Sally… were vulgarized. Why? Because people preferred the negative, the ugly, the profane! Remember Lassie? Kids, grownups… EVERYBODY loved Lassie! She found people – and animals – in trouble, then bounded to her family and “told” her “peeps” who they were and where they were… and took them to the unfortunate soul! I daresay not a soul with all the physical requirements for speech – not even the guy on the corner selling fake 24 carat gold watches – could outtalk Lassie!

That’s “the world I grew up in!” Unfortunately, too many folks have no respect for animals. Cruelty (or disregard) to or of animals or people is the same coin, just flipped over. How people treat their “pets” provides a pretty accurate gauge of how they treat people.

I was out in my “garden” – well, it’s not a garden yet, but it’ll get there – pulling weeds, plant-ing, staking… just enjoying time turning this weed patch, once again, into a space that will provide food for the body, mind, and soul. The big black dog was enjoying the freedom of romping around freely. Then he began to bark ferociously, as he is wont to do when the tiny, tiny little dog from a couple of houses down challenges him from the other side of the locked gate.

I tossed my tools down and started around the garage to chasten the dog when I heard the sound of a large rock hitting the concrete just a step or two from the space I was about to enter!

What seemed a young adult, stood there, in the alley, his arm not yet at his side. A mixture of anger and disgust flooded my soul!

We both began at the same time, I screaming angrily, and he caught completely off guard.

“Why did you throw at my dog?” He mumbled something – an apology, I think that, even if I could have deciphered it, made no sense. I said, pointedly, slowly enough for the dumbest of God’s children to understand. “He’s in a yard! He can’t hurt you!” Fury slung the words at him and my whole being detested him.

I wonder, “How do people get that inhumane? How do they ‘grow’ to such a level of ‘sub-human-ness’?” I cannot fathom it! …Makes me wonder, “Are WE the intelligent species…?”

Story Posted:06/06/2019

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