Now that I have your attention…
Here I am, surfing the web, trying to figure out how to watch So You Think You Can Dance online for free as I don’t have access to a television (technically I do, but that’s a different story). As I’m searching away, enjoying a cherry Pop-Tart that tastes suspiciously like happiness laced with artificial flavoring, there is a little furry face staring at me, hoping that I share my manufactured pastry square with her. I give her a corner, no jelly, no frosting, and she seems content. In her bug-eyed stare, I want to give the tiny creature the whole Pop-Tart but I know I can’t because dogs shouldn’t eat it. Well, humans shouldn’t eat it either, but I made a conscious decision to eat processed foods that may preserve my insides for years to come like a Happy Meal.
Anyhoo, this rant isn’t about processed food.
I don’t know about you, but I hesitate trusting someone who would say, “It’s just an animal.” Anyone who knows me knows I love animals. The only movie that’s ever made me cry was Marely and Me and to this day I refuse to see A Dog’s Purpose because I know it will do the same thing. I spent almost a thousand dollars to help a stray cat at my work and I’d do it again if I had to. Heck, I can’t even kill a bug without even a little remorse. The bigger, or slower, the guiltier I feel. The first time BF took me fishing, I felt so terrible that he had to hook my worms because I refused to do it. I felt even worse as I lowered them in the water. The guilt piled on as I waited, knowing I would inevitably catch a fish, which I would eventually eat. Then everything went downhill when a western grebe stole my bait and somehow caught its foot on my line. I went into hysterics, BF pulled the hook out, and I cried, screaming apologies at the bird who I swear was giving me the stink eye. I don’t blame him. Never again. BF still laughs about it.
But my uncommonly intense love for animals isn’t why I’m wary around those who would willingly cast aside animals. My reluctance stems from the fact that those who can easily say, “It’s just an animal,” are also ones who are quick to categorize and belittle those they don’t see as equals. Medical science says torturing animals is a sign of a serial killer or sociopathic tendencies. So if someone can so quickly cast aside a puppy as, “It’s just an animal,” how can I trust them to love me as I would love them?
Of course, you have your psycho eco-terrorist who would blow up a building full of people to save one turtle. And in any emergency I don’t see those same animals saving me before their own species. But the point I’m trying to make is this: just because it’s an animal doesn’t mean you can’t treat it with the same basic decency as you would a total stranger. It’s a gradual incline, I feel, from thinking, “It’s just an animal,” to thinking, “It’s just a homeless person,” “It’s just a prostitute,” “It’s just a gangbanger,” to, “It’s not like they’re from my country,” “They’re just immigrants,” to,“They’re just blacks,” “They’re just Mexicans,” “They’re just women,” to finally, “As long as it’s not me.”
I’m not saying you need to love animals as much as I do, or even people for that matter. But instead of thinking, “It’s just some [insert], who cares?” maybe at least think, “That sucks.”