Thursday, November 15, 2007

Let's Do Something...

It has been a fantastically busy, hectic and wonderful past couple of months. I’ve been working extra hours and spending a lot of time writing. I’ve also re-started practicing yoga and feel completely blessed by it. In between the nut-so work hours and writing, I’ve still been trying to fit in a few good deeds.

Here’s the thing, and I’ll bet some of you have experienced this: The badness can be overwhelming. I’ve been reading more and more about the horrendous circumstances animals are in around the world…really disturbing stuff. As an animal lover and vegetarian, it’s hard for me to grasp how human beings can be so cruel to innocent creatures. Dogs being skinned alive in China for fur trim on clothes sold here in the U.S., baby seals being clubbed to death in Canada, dog fighting, the atrocious conditions of dogs in puppy mills. I want to just sit and cry when I read about these things (and sometimes, I do).

I’ve also been reading/hearing more about the state of our environment-the recent oil spill off the coast of California has done incredible damage and killed many, many birds and other wildlife. The ice keeps melting, but people keep telling me “That global warming stuff is all a bunch of bunk. It’s a political thing!”

I went to our local greyhound rescue to walk some of the dogs and felt sad when I saw how many there were without homes, and sadder still when one of the women there told me about the treatment these dogs experience before they are rescued. Anyone who thinks racing greyhounds is “harmless” should go and see how they live behind the scenes. These dogs live in cramped cages where feces and urine spills down from one cage to the next. One dog at the shelter had gnawed portions of fur off because no one at the track had bothered to treat her with flea medicine. They have scars on their bodies. The lucky ones are taken to adoption centers like this one, the unlucky ones…

Well. You can see the state that taking in all this information puts me in.

But that’s the thing. If I just sit here and stew, just let all the bad stuff wash over me and keep me down, I get depressed. I think long, deep, painful thoughts about how cruel the world is and how much hurt there is around us. And I don’t do much else. The miraculous trick, I’ve found, is to DO SOMETHING GOOD. Can I save the world? No. Can I barge into the greyhound tracks and let all the dogs loose? No. Can I forcibly stop people from driving gas guzzling SUV’s and living in humungous McMansions? Nope. But I CAN do something! I can walk a dog and make their day. I can recycle. I can tell others in a non-judgmental way how they too can make some easy changes. I can think twice before impulse buying. I can be kind to every animal I meet. I can smile at people who look grumpy. I can pray for someone or for a cause I believe in. I can donate money to the Humane Society of the United States who is working tirelessly to make positive changes. I can make things a little better.

So, that’s my new battle cry. “I can do something!” And so can you.