Be Kind to Activists, Feed the Birds

A while back, an animal rights activist who I know only casually sent out a call for help on Facebook. She was working in the Territories and needed help re-homing a dog that had been abandoned, tied for weeks to a tree.

She’d done what she could for the dog, feeding him and trying to make him comfortable in her home. But her job posting there was ending soon, and she was already on thin ice with her employers because her pro-animal attitudes weren’t jiving too well with the locals.

I’ll save you the suspense and tell you that the story has a happy ending. The dog was taken in by a wonderful rescue in British Columbia. Before this excellent resolution, however, my heart broke – not only for the abandoned dog, but for the activist herself. I imagined what it would be like to be her: all alone among unsympathetic strangers and facing the very real possibility of having to leave this dog to his fate.

As I reflect now, it occurs to me that this is exactly the sort of situation in which all of us should make an extra effort to help.

Why? Why should we take a particular interest when an activist needs help saving an animal? Because, as a friend of mine puts it, you’ll be “feeding two birds with one scone”. Three birds, actually.

Bird#1: You’re helping the animal. Just one in the sea of desperate creatures you probably see in your facebook feed each day, but he or she is as deserving of a break as anyone.

Bird #2: You’re helping ease the pain of a fellow activist. As some of you may know first hand (and as I know from studying animal activists from a sociological perspective), being an animal activist in a world that treats them as chattel can be emotionally draining if not downright debilitating.

Bird #3: In addition to relieving the activist’s short-term pain, you are giving her hope. Hope that there are others out there that feel as she does. Hope that when she reaches out for help on behalf on her non-animal brethren, someone will heed the call. In other words, you help her remain an animal activist. And that helps the animal protection movement flourish.

So how did I come to the revelation, you ask. Well, the simple fact is that I’m playing the role of heartsick activist right now. We foster cats for the Ottawa Humane Society, and the fellow we had for four months just went into the adoption centre. From a comfy seat on our couch, our constant attention and the companionship of his foster sister, he has gone to a cage in a PetValu in Nepean.

And I feel pretty much like crap about it. So crappy, in fact, that I am unsure if I can emotionally handle fostering the next cat in need.

What’s helping me, however, is the fact that, when I asked my Facebook friends to share his profile, a lot of them did. They may think it was a small thing, but it meant a lot to me.

Anyway, if what I’ve said resonates at all with you and you agree that going the extra mile to help your fellow activists is a swell idea, then I have just the place for you to start!

Neil made an adoption profile for our darling Damon. Please share it:

Help him, help me, and help the movement by giving an activist the hope she needs to stay in the game just a little bit longer.

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