Christmas Spirit?

I have always loved the holidays. Despite the stress of shopping for the perfect gift, trying to get all caught up on work so I can enjoy the time off with peace of mind that the office is taken care of, travel woes, etc., there is a sense of joy around Christmas that is almost impossible to deny. That’s why I’m so befuddled this year to find myself a little sad and honestly, a lot angry.

I’m angry at the person in Arkansas who let this happen to 116 horses. 119, actually, since 3 were found dead on the property at the time the HSUS and ASPCA arrived to rescue them. I’m angry at the man’s family for allowing him to torture horses for profit. I’m angry at the neighbors who drove by these horses every day and did nothing. I’m angry that this type of cruelty is so prevalent that on the same day the Arkansas horses were seized, another 43 were also taken in east Texas…removed from a field scattered with the skeletons of those for whom help did not come in time.

I’m angry at the Heddins family in Montague County, TX for their treatment of the nearly 600 dogs in their puppy mill. At the time the dogs were finally seized by law enforcement and humane organizations, the attending veterinarian stated that there was something wrong with every single one of them. I’m even angrier at the prosecutor/district attorney in Montague County who, a year and a half later, has still not filed criminal charges against the Heddins. Doesn’t this dog deserve justice?????

I’m angry when I turn on my TV and see the sportscasters talking about how wonderful Michael Vick is, what a great redemption story, and how he is going to be the league MVP this year and take the Eagles to the superbowl. Redemption story? Really?  Michael Vick quit fighting dogs because he got caught, pure and simple. Yes, he served his time. I’m not saying he should still be in jail. He deserves to be out and get a job and get on with his life. But when doctors and lawyers and teachers and cops commit felonies, they don’t get to go back to being doctors and lawyers and teachers and cops. There is a price to pay. Let Mike Vick go back to that roofing job pounding shingles in the hot sun for $12 hour. That’s justice. He doesn’t deserve to be playing in the NFL, making millions of dollars and having sportscasters kiss up to him and little kids idolize him. I’m angry that I can no longer enjoy an NFL game the way I once did, knowing that he is a part of it. I refuse to watch him play. How can anyone respect someone who got pleasure from watching one animal splatter the blood of another all over an arena. Who enjoyed hearing a living, feeling being’s last gasp of life as a bigger, badder dog crushed its trachea? Did he smile that big bright smile of his as he murdered the 8 dogs he has confessed to taking part in killing with his own hands? Michael Vick is a coward. If he was a real man, he’d know that true redemption doesn’t come from multi-million dollar sports contracts.  Watch this video of “Stallone” — make yourself watch it all the way through — and see if you still think Mike Vick is a hero.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CcM8wcspmM&feature=share

I’m angry at a post I read on Craigslist today, in the pet section, in which the poster said he was “tired of hearing about shelter dogs” and asked why didn’t the animal advocates, who were just there posting their shelter dogs for adoption amidst the thousands of ads from puppy mills, backyard breeders, and the careless who simply let their pets reproduce out of ignorance and laziness, just go away.

So yeah, I’m feeling a little bruised this holiday season. A little sick.

But I’m also very, very proud of the caring individuals I’ve worked with this last year on behalf of the animals, from the big organizations like HSUS and ASPCA to the smallest non-private rescue and volunteers. Those whose wallets and gas tanks are always on empty because they spare nothing when it comes to relieving the suffering of animals. They are the real heroes. They are humanity’s redemption.

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”. Mahatma Gandhi

Merry Christmas.

 

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3 Responses to “Christmas Spirit?”


  1. 1 Catherine Mann December 20, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    Vickie, I wish I had words of comfort…. wish I knew how to come out of the other side of this journey with all of them safe and loved…. My heart is heavy for you.

    My son recently wrote a college essay about the biggest challenge he’d ever faced. He wrote about volunteering and fostering for the animal shelter. His essay touched me profoundly…. He’s only 17 yrs old and he talked about making this a calling woven into the fabric of his life, how service is a life calling, not just something he clocks in a couple of hours a month on.

    Again I give you thanks and credit for introducing us to this journey. Yes, some days it seems there are too many to save, too much pain to hold in your heart, but because of you, there are others like me, like my son, taking on the challenge, saving one at a time.

    You’re an amazing advocate for the animals and a shining example to others. Peace to you, my friend!

  2. 2 shortdogblog December 21, 2010 at 1:34 am

    I am so proud of you, dear friend for facing the horrors of animal neglect with your stoicism, intelligence, and practical application of healing through quiet love. Without a doubt, those horses, and all animals whose paths have crossed yours, are the better for having known you. In that you should be proud. Just one Vickie can make up for a hundred heddins. Keep moving forward, look back only when you must, and know that we are thankful to have you here amongst us, working to make a difference. You are amazing, and you are my hero.

  3. 3 rpoling December 21, 2010 at 1:41 am

    Amen. To every sentence you wrote. But take heart – we recently hosted a Christmas party for rescue group volunteers and many of our guests emailed to say how much they loved meeting other people who understood them. It was very eye-opening.

    I’ve recently seen three kittens rescued from a box dumped in the woods near a lake, a dog set out with the trash that barely escaped being crushed in a garbage truck, and a rottie with nine pups went from death row to a fab foster home.

    Many, many of the Heddins dogs will spend Christmas in loving, permanent homes. The 43 horses in East Texas are all doing well and hopefully will soon be available for adoption, And do not even get me started on Michael Vick.

    Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, as they say. He’s there inside each one of the rescuers and shelter staff that deal with homeless animals day after day. They are indeed the heroes. No question.

    Merry Christmas Vickie! I don’t know you, but I already love you. 🙂


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