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On Being the Change

Dsc_0017This is Humphrey, a perfectly healthy mixed breed dog who showed up on the doorstep my girlfriend’s house one day and wouldn’t leave. She called every shelter, had him scanned, put up posters, asked around and no one claimed him. One day, she put him outside and told him if he wanted to leave he could, but if he wanted to stay, she’d be happy to be his new mommy. He fit in beautifully with her wolf-hybrid (no, she’ll never get one again), her other rescue dog and her Cairn Terrier (no, she’ll never go to another breeder). He’s madly in love with my girlfriend and stares at her adoringly all day.

This friend had her first vegan Thanksgiving last week, going to Sublime rather than sitting across from a carcass. Three years ago, she sat across from me and ordered lobster, quite frequently, at dinner. She would only consider pure breed dogs, and she had sheep skins all over her house (um, she still does, but now she doesn’t delude herself into thinking that no one was tortured for them and she uses them as beds for the dogs). She has changed her giving plan to include direct service to animals (wolf-hybrid rescue, actually, as a bit of karmic retribution). She is now a vegan.

The rainy evening after Halloween, while returning home after a black tie event, in a gown, she came upon a black kitten with part of his tail hanging off. She stopped her car and chased him down an alley, where he was hiding under an abandoned car. She proceeded to get on the wet, oily ground and shimmy under the car on her belly to grab the kitten.

His tail has been amputated and he has been named Zorro. Inexplicably, he’s just about the happiest damn cat I’ve ever met, and he now has a safe home with three dogs and his very own sheepskin-carpeted kennel (just for now, until we know the dogs won’t try to eat him during the night).

Moral of the story? People do change, contrary to conventional wisdom. They can develop empathy, their morals can transform, and they can become activists, in their own way, without ever joining PeTA or HSUS, without getting involved in the welfare versus abolition debate (or being aware that it exists), and without ever seeing Earthlings. All they need is an example to follow, and love and support along their journey.

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Awww! That's wonderful about your friend. Thanks for sharing that reminder that people can change even if they're not tapped into all the activist stuff.

    "her other rescue dog and her Cairn Terrier (no, she'll never go to another breeder)."

    Just wanted to point out that this wording is a little confusing, to me anyway. I mean, you can get purebred dogs as rescues, so technically her terrier could've been one (or her other rescue dog could be a purebred). Which I'm sure you know — I'm just thinking about all the folks who are fixated on one breed or another who think that all rescue dogs are "just mutts" (which is really problematic, of course) & then of COURSE they have to go to a breeder or a pet store to get the breed they want. If they have to have breed preferences I'd rather them have a purebred rescue they found off Petfinder or something, y'know?

    November 28, 2007
  2. great pic of humphrey and the new addition…zorro. please give my best regards to your friend… one bodacious lady!

    November 28, 2007
  3. Johanna,

    The Cairn Terrier was indeed purchased from a breeder. This woman has had pure breeds her entire life, and is now all about rescues. She'll probably never need to look for a dog or cat again, as she's a bit of a magnet for the needy now, and she's taking that job very seriously.

    On one of the morning shows this week there was a segment about getting a dog for your child, and I was very pleased to hear the guest (it wasn't the Petfinder woman frequently on TV) say she personally prefers mixed breeds but that there's a rescue group for nearly every breed and 25% of dogs in shelters are pure breeds. I often hear the stat, but I don't often hear anyone say that there are rescue groups for pure breeds.

    I found Violet through Petfinder. I just looked for the green heart, which means special needs (and probably less likely to be adopted), and fell in love at that moment.

    November 28, 2007
  4. Awesome. Thanks so much for sharing that story.

    On an unrelated note, how come the Post a comment section never remembers my personal info, even though I always check the box? Silly Typepad (unless it's my silly browser).

    November 28, 2007

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