I have always had a soft spot for animals. I had a funeral for a fish, not when I was 3, but when I was about 8… When I was in 9th grade, I fell in love with The Smith’s Meat is Murder album and stopped eating meat for 3 years (though, in all honesty, it actually had more to do with the fact that I ran track and had read that runners could improve their times if their bodies didn’t have to use extra energy digesting meat… trust me – I had no problem eating a hamburger when the time came!) In college, I went through my “green” stage: only buying items sold in recycled containers, no animal testing etc.
When I was out on my own, however, and supporting myself, $6.00 was too much for a small tube of “cruelty-free” toothpaste. So, I returned to my old Crest standby.
Obviously, I am a girl with strong convictions.
I’ve been known to be late to work because I stopped to help a cow that was loose along the road, return to his farm. I cannot watch Animal Cops on Animal Planet, because my blood boils that people could be that cruel to animals.
But, I am also not afraid to go out into the woods and scout dinner to put on the dinner table. Deer are beautiful creatures and I have a lot of respect for them. I love the way they move. But I also love the meat they provide my family. And I don’t pray before I spray down a red hornet in a cloud of poison. I believe I have found a healthy balance in taking care of animals and my family.
I found my balance before we had children, though I believe that having my first child solidified it even more.
Motherhood made it clear to me that, no matter what, my child came before the stray cat outside. But that soft spot still manages to seep through, and my daughter has caught it honest.
Either that, or it’s a genetic thing.
My daughter loves hunting and fishing with her daddy. She also loves animals. She has never been a baby doll kind of girl. It’s always been stuffed animals for her. When we go for walks, she has always loved to stop and watch turtles or frogs or bugs along the way. Her kindergarten teacher thought she had a real chipmunk for a pet, not because Abbie had told her that she did, but so many of her stories were about a chipmunk named Chester and the funny things he did.
So, I wasn’t surprised when she came into my room crying the other day. She had been watching a show on Animal Planet and a commercial had upset her.
Through her sobs, she told me that it showed injured and abandoned animals. She wanted to know what we could do? and could we bring them home? and why mama? why don’t people take care of their animals?
It was a sad lesson for her to learn. She’s aware of stray animals; one of our cats adopted us after being abandoned, and we feed one that lives along the side of our building. She wanted so badly to be able to save them all. I tried to gently explain that we couldn’t – we can’t take in all of the hurt animals.
But, I suggested we think of things that we could do to help. I suggested that, though we couldn’t bring them into our home, she could set aside some of her allowance each week to donate to a place that helps animals and help them with their costs. After awhile this seemed to settle her mind some.
And then she went and drew this:
The girl is gonna make an awesome event organizer one day.