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Columns : The Pet Pages - Kim Aranha Last Updated: Jun 8, 2009 - 12:34:16 PM

Put a Little Love in Your Heart
By Kim Aranha
Mar 30, 2009 - 8:35:35 AM

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Love comes in many forms!

Driving along the coast road the other day, roof down, sun shining, the beautiful Bahamian water off to the left-hand side of my car, I listened to the words of the radio blaring out my beloved “Oldies”; music that reminds me of those golden days of being young and carefree without a responsibility in the world (tell me about it !!!).

I don’t usually really LISTEN to the lyrics of the music, just the entire sound and beat, but all of a sudden I honed into what was being sung.

“Think of your fellow man
Lend him a helping hand
Put a little love in your heart”

While I listened to Jackie DeShannon belt it out…I suddenly thought, “That’s it, that’s really it.” If we could actually listen to a song from the 60’s and use it as a tool for how to live the next few years, everything would be all right…

Right now there are so many issues going on, so many problems to fix. And I am just talking about the animal and environmental world.

The battle for the Bahamian Sea turtle still rages, in spite of the thousands of letters, emails, phone calls and faxes that have come in. Parliament feels that they need to revisit the issues and talk to the those few who are opposed. Though I uphold the theory that everybody is entitled to their say, The Commonwealth of the Bahamas recognizes and operates under majority rule.  How can people need to revisit the issue of a diminishing amount of turtles who are only transitory through these islands, but who actually belong to the world? If you look at a map as to where these animals start from and where they go to during their lifetime, as far as South America and across the Atlantic, how can we have the nerve to assume that we have a right to deny them to the countries who have fought so hard to conserve them? Then we come to the way they are treated and killed before consumption. Nobody can tell me that the cruelty displayed towards these animals is acceptable. If our leaders would “Put a little love in their heart” they would actually be incapable of condoning such actions.

The intolerable wait for the new Animal Protection and Control Act to pass continues to lag along.  For years now this act has gone back and forth and has been amended countless times. It is now in the Attorney General’s office and awaits being tabled…how long will that be? This act is designed to lift the Bahamas animal laws into the 21st century. It is designed to give us laws similar to first world countries. Presently we operate under laws created in 1942, that do not deal with 2009 issues and problems. The sufferer’s? ….the animals. Countless barbaric acts of cruelty get overlooked because the old laws do not provide for such creative offences of cruelty. If the people in power would “Put a little love in their heart” they could get these laws passed, so that the animal organizations could enforce the laws and make this country a better place for God’s creatures.

The wild / feral horses in Eleuthera remain an issue .Yes, I grant you that they can be a terrible nuisance to the farmers, and the farmers deserve to be protected from their ravages. We have actually, finally, reached an agreement to fence in some of the farm areas that were being damaged. These beautiful horses running wild, would be a source of attraction, in other countries, to us, they are nothing more than a nuisance. Except, that is, when a rope snare is set and they can trap one of the foals (preferably three or four days old) and tear it away from it’s Mother and sell it to be used for tourist rides far afield.  Excuse me. What was that song? Oh, yes, “Put a little love in your heart’. The last time one of those snares was set ( a few days ago) a young horse was caught and he fought for hours during the night, being attached by one leg. It is a miracle that he did not break his leg fighting. One solitary kind lady, after having receiving a call offering her to buy the horse for $50.00, put some love in her heart, and did find some strong, like minded men, who helped and they were able to free the horse. They have not seen it again, so they don’t actually know if he survived. How can people think it is okay to take a baby anything from its Mother at three days old? “Put a little love in your heart.”

So far it appears as if the people of Rum Cay really are “putting a little love in their heart” to help the manatee who recently has shown up there. They think that his name is Caruso, and he comes from Florida. He is perhaps the farthest swimming Manatee ever recorded. He needs to be given fresh water, and they say he looks undernourished. I believe that scientists from Florida may be planning to take him home.  Bravo, Rum Cay!!!! There does appear to be love in your hearts…

The song says fellow man, but without our fellow creatures this planet would be incomplete, we all need to coexist with mutual respect. It matters little if we can speak or not. Just looking into animal’s eyes gives you a window into their soul. Animals are uncomplicated, and all too often are too trusting and put themselves in situations where the one they trust is the one who abuses them.

Yesterday we were selling the last of the Bahamas Humane Society raffle tickets in the Mall, the car show was on, there were people everywhere. No, I did not bring my dogs, they probably would not have been allowed and they certainly would not have enjoyed all the chaos. A lady was looking at a car, she had a small girl with her (3 or 4 years old), “come here” she said, the little girl was gazing at her reflection in the shinny car wheels, “come here” said the woman again, the child was in her own world looking in marvel at the shiny silver wheels, the big lady took two steps over to the child, and wham, “come here” she hollered after hitting the kid… the child looked up, and did not cry she said nothing and biting her lip she followed the lady… Nobody looked twice; nobody cared…what do think life is like in that household? My heart bled for that child. If I had interfered I would have been insulted and the child probably hit more later because of my well meaning intervention:    The song goes on to say:

“You see it's getting late
Oh please don't hesitate
Put a little love in your heart”.

These days we seam to be going to more funerals, and more people are experiencing disaster. The papers are full of woe. We need to treasure our days on earth, nurture the precious environment and creatures the good Lord has created for us. We need to “put a little love in out hearts:

“I hope when you decide
Kindness will be your guide
Put a little love in your heart”.

I honestly believe if we all made a pledge to make this better, to be kinder to creatures, big and small, wild and domesticated. Take time to smell the roses, listen to a child’s laughter, study the sunset (remember how we used to have time to look for the green flash?). If we found gentler ways of having fun, and taught our children to appreciate what God created instead of how to play X-Box: Then, as the song says…

“And the world will be a better place
For you and me
You just wait and see.”

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 teenaged sons. Kim has 3 dogs, 3 goldfish fish, a beta fish,  a tank of freshwater exotic fish, 11 turtles (2 babies, 6 adolescents. 3 adults), 1 Asian box turtle and 4 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. Kim can be contacted at berryislandgirl@gmail.com

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