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Columns : The Pet Pages - Kim Aranha Last Updated: Nov 12, 2012 - 3:06:04 PM


Love and Respect
By Kim Aranha
Nov 1, 2010 - 4:50:15 PM

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Potcake / Pitbull who was surrendered to the BHS

Love, care, commitment, warmth, friendship, companionship, these are but a few of the emotions and conditions you experience when you own a pet… Never again are you alone, always a friend at your side waiting for you, unconditionally accepting of you, as you are. When you put your key in the door at the end of the day there is a furry face delighted to welcome you home, no worries if your make-up is smudged, your hair a mess or your clothing less than designer label…They want to greet YOU, the real YOU under all those trappings that we have grown to think are essential…They want to be with their friend, mentor, protector, and master!!! (Note:  “master” is now politically incorrect when used in connection with pet-ownership, but, in essence that is a term that is still widely used).

 

The pet in your life can see through those artificial adornments and improvements that we all use. In some ways the fact that an animal can actually see beyond the artificial side of things and get to the real person, makes them almost superior to us in that area, doesn’t it? I mean, how many times have you met somebody, and your dog’s body language is telling you beware, invariably months later, your dog turns out to be right.

 

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A future guard dog and protector!

I’m afraid that I am one of these people who are very cautious about fellow humans who do not like dogs (or like children for that matter either)…How can you not like dogs? It is like: Not liking a sunset, or the breeze blowing off the sea, or twilight over the English countryside in summer, or a clear blue sea with starfish under the boat as you skim across the banks…It is impossible not to like dogs, in my eyes it is impossible not to respect dogs…Look into their eyes and it is like looking into their soul…And whilst we are on THAT subject, I do believe that dogs have a soul, they were created by the same God who created us…They were created to be OUR companion animals, our friends and helpers…They are too important not to have a spot near their masters in heaven…. A heaven without my dogs would be a hell for me!

 

These wonderful friends that we hold so dear to us, canine and feline…are the lucky ones. Daily, as President of the Bahamas Humane Society, I encounter poor dear animals who have been kicked out of their homes for crimes as small as not barking enough, chewing the carpet, digging up a plant or knocking something over…they have been beaten, locked up, chastised and then brought to us in disgust for surrender or worse in some cases to be put down, killed, for a crime so small that it brings tears to my eyes. At the shelter we use all our energy to find loving and caring homes for these poor animals, we try and restore their faith in mankind… So often, in spite of the disgraceful treatment that they have received from man’s hand, they still come up with a wagging tail, ever hoping to receive a stroke instead of a slap from your outstretched hand…

 

How can man be so different I ask myself? How can, on one hand, there be people like myself who love and nurture their pets and other animals, and on the other hand there be humans who couldn’t care a toss for animal life, who mistreat and hurt intentionally…yet we were all created the same…what went wrong with those who hurt, starve, kick, torture and maim?… Why do they do it?

 

I am so often bemused and confused with other people and their attitudes. I cannot understand why some people will not and do not want to ever own a Potcake. Potcakes have two ears, two eyes, a nose and tail, and as far as I can see are like any other dog except that each and every Potcake is quite unique, unlike a “breed” dog who is identical to thousands of others of the same breed. Why not own a Potcake? Why does a “breed” matter so much? Friendship comes in all shapes and sizes, colours and fur – length.

 

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A highly intelligent and unique face!

We need to become more like dogs and see through the trappings, the breed specifications, and see the dog beneath the fur, the wet nose, the waggy tail and the heart of gold…all good dogs possess those qualities and do not need a fancy name, or a pedigree or high price tag to give love, comfort and friendship to their owners.

 

A good friend of mine Fina Johnson, who is a great lover of animals, and owner of a very beloved Potcake “Figie Valentine” a rescue dog himself,sent me the following prayer. I cannot read this  without tears coming to my eyes.

 

Dear God, please send me somebody who'll care!

I'm tired of running, I'm sick with despair.

My body is aching, it's so racked with pain,

and dear God I pray, as I run in the rain.

That someone will love me and give me a home,

a warm cozy bed and a big juicy bone.

My last owner tied me all day in the yard

Sometimes with no water, and god that was hard.

So I chewed my leash, and God I ran away.

To rummage in garbage and live as a stray.

But now God, I'm tired and hungry and cold,

and I'm so afraid that I'll never grow old.

They've chased me with sticks and hit me with stones,

while I run the streets just looking for bones!

I'm not really bad, God, please help if you can,

or I have become just a "Victim of Man!"

I'm wormy dear God and I'm ridden with fleas,

and all that I want is an Owner to please!

If you find one for me God, I'll try to be good,

and I won't chew their shoes, and I'll do as I should.

I'll love them, protect them and try to obey....

when they tell me to sit, to lie down or to stay!

I don't think I'll make it too long on my own,

cause I'm getting so weak and I'm so all alone.

Each night as I sleep in the bushes I cry,

cause I'm so afraid God, that I'm gonna die.

And I've got so much love and devotion to give,

that I should be given a new chance to Live!

So dear God, please answer my prayer,

and send me someone who will REALLY care..

That is, Dear God, if YOU'RE REALLY there!

Unknown

 

 

 

Please read this prayer to yourself a couple of time. Close your eyes and imagine the animal in question. Imagine being without friends, no-where to call home, no warm dry bed, no safe place. Imagine being hungry, tired and sick, and have people chasing you and throwing things at you. Imagine being all alone and frightened, and never hearing a kind word spoken.

 

This is the plight of many dogs and cats in this country…they are receiving some help. There are many groups here and in the islands, who do their best, and do very fine job, helping these poor unloved animals, but, we need more people to act.

 

Caring is not enough, we need action…We need help. We need people to raise their voices and condemn neglect and cruelty. We need help in teaching people what it means to care for and respect an animal’s life…We need to show people what they are missing by not having an animal friend in their lives.

 

In my humble opinion, no child should grow up without a pet, a little boy and his dog (or in my case a little girl and her dog) should be best friends. I have very fond memories of seeing my sons asleep with a Potcake friend curled up on the bed with them, providing all the protection and love a little boy could ever ask for at bedtime.

 

We are already making a difference, but let’s raise our voices a little higher. Let’s do just a little bit more, let’s save a few more animals every  week and care a little more deeply… Lets put the happy back into their faces and treat them as the Good Lord intended us to treat the COMPANION animals He created for us!


About the author: Kim Aranha grew up in the Berry Islands with her first dog, a beloved potcake named “Friendly” (who was anything but!). First educated at home, and then in boarding school in Switzerland, Kim moved to Rome, Italy in 1974 to pursue a career in the dramatic arts and ended up working as an interpreter. She moved back to The Bahamas in 1980, and now lives in Nassau with her husband Paul, and their two grown sons. Kim has 4 dogs, 2 goldfish, 11 fresh water  turtles, 1 Asian box turtle and 3 Budgerigars. Her idea of relaxing is being home to take care of all her pets. Kim is President of the Bahamas Humane Society, and serves on the board of BREEF, and is co-chairman of the Bahamas Sea Turtle Conservation Group. Kim can be contacted at berryislandgirl@gmail.com


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