Of Haunting Images and Hope

Okay, so time for a more serious post.  I hope you’ll stick with me long enough to read this one through.

I’m sure everyone has seen those horrific photos on Facebook and elsewhere on the internet. The ones that show an animal starving or abused or neglected.  They’re horrendous and just who the hell wants to see them anyway?  Ye Gads, once they’re seen it’s difficult if not impossible to un-see them.  It just ruins a person’s day (I had someone tell me that once).  Honestly, I understand just where those people are coming from.  I hate the photos for the very same reasons.  I’ve always had a problem with getting images out of my head.  Some people can’t stand to see horrible things, but I take it further in that once I see something horrific or disturbing, I can’t seem to get rid of the image…ever.  It stays with me, in my head, and pops back up at the oddest and most inopportune times.   Of course, it’s the emotion that is behind the image that stays with me….but it is the visual that truly haunts me. Forever. It’s like a kind of demented eidetic memory.

But you know what?  These photos are necessary.  It’s easy to say “I know what happens; I don’t need to see it.”  That really isn’t true though is it?  I mean, being told “that dog was starved to death,” isn’t nearly as moving as seeing a dog that had been starved to death. Sometimes words just aren’t enough.  And of course that’s what makes people so angry….the photos hurt their heart.

I support the fight against animal cruelty in all forms but I especially work towards ending horse slaughter.  It’s such a needless and inhumane business.  And I know that by supporting animal advocacy groups I’m helping to keep animals from being exploited and slaughtered and I realize that raising awareness is the key to change.  But I’ve often wondered if I can continue to deal with the constant horrific images floating around in my head and in my heart.

I had a revelation one night and it came, as they usually do I guess, through a dream. I dreamed of watching a horse slaughter transport truck go down the highway from a spot high above on a rocky hill, and seeing a horse, a splendid fawn colored, spotted horse, falling out of the truck thru a gap at the top of the side wall.  In real life, this would of course be physically impossible…but then…this was a dream.  And in my dream, the truck was so completely overloaded that it caused her to fall out, to basically be forcibly shoved out through a small gap in the sidewall of the truck.  In my dream I sat there gasping in horror as the horse fell completely out of the truck. I was just sure it was dead because there was no way it could survive the fall, let alone make it off the busy highway without being hit. Instead, to my absolute delight, it ran across the highway and up the hill where I was sitting. It came to my vehicle and leaned down to look in the open window as if to talk to me. I looked into its sensitive eyes and face, knowing that it was free of the horrors that had awaited it, that it had escaped, and I was inspired by the hope I saw there. I awoke with this amazingly beautiful image in my mind.

And that, people, is the image that will be sticking with me from now on, regardless of anything else that I might see. That horse, that one magnificent horse, can turn into hundreds and into thousands and then tens of thousands of horses that are saved from future slaughter, from future horrors that they do not deserve. That image of hope in her soulful eyes, of future, and of survival moved me far more than the horrific pictures I’ve seen.

It moved me more because that horse represents everything animal advocates, myself included, work towards.  Her heroic escape from an overloaded truck headed for a slaughter-house, gallant run to safety, and entrance into freedom represents a journey.  It is a journey that we must all take to stand up for the rights of animals who cannot stand up for themselves.  It is a journey that requires facing our fears and standing up to evil itself.  It is a journey of hope and hope is what gives us all the strength to fight animal cruelty every day.  Hope is so much stronger than evil.  Hope can move mountains and save horses.

 

 

Horse Rescuers — the Oft Lonely Advocates

I love, love, love to see advocates share the love like this writer! I know…that’s a lot of “loves.” But, too often there is divisive behavior that hurts the cause and ultimately hurts the animals. I think it’s great when people can be a voice for a cause — whether they’re at an event in person or just in spirit. We ALL count, we ALL matter and we ALL make a difference. So I say thank you to every advocate out there. You’re all doing a bang-up job!!

Equine Preservation of North America -EPONA

Many devoted animal advocates often attend events and demonstrations that support the cause we’re all backing and we cannot thank you enough! It may be as a part of a strong picket line or a peaceful protest outside a political office, or the storefront of a place that supports inhumane treatment of animals. These activists have the amazingly powerful ability to get together, swap stories, meet each other, and engage earnestly with other members of their like-minded community. They give much needed support to each other and are alleviated of any fear of isolation by being reassured that there are many others who feel just as strongly about the cause as they do. There is a group all too often unable to attend such events but who nonetheless are just as adamant in their stance for animal rights. Of course we’re talking about horse rescues.

become a gift to others and you will always be well received

The people who run horse…

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A Resolution Worth Keeping in this Year of the Horse

 

I know that I made a bit of a fuss in a previous post about how many of us, certainly myself, are going to make some pretty lofty promises to ourselves for the coming year. We’ll then watch those oaths peter out quickly as we scrape together legit justifications that deep down we know are just lame cop outs. “Hey, I’d totally go to the gym if it didn’t look like it was going to rain sometime in the next few hours,” or “That lasagna is healthy. It has a bunch of zucchini in it,” or “I know I was going to cut down on shopping but how can I not buy cashmere at this price?”   We’ll somehow become masters of the impenetrable excuse.

But this year there is one resolution that I will keep. And I know I’ll keep it because it’s something I actually find fulfillment in doing…which is always a plus.  Exercising, dieting, financial responsibility…boring! There is just one resolution I can’t wait to make a reality. Namely, continue to do what I can to make a difference in the well-being of animals. This isn’t a new idea. If you know me you know how passionate I am about animal advocacy, but I am more determined than ever to make a difference in the lives of the creatures we share the world with.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of evil in the world and a shocking number of people are all too willing to exploit or destroy animals; animals who, frankly deserve better. I mean, for god’s sake, dog fighting is still an industry! Can you believe people engage in that?  Not to mention the continued slaughter of our horses.  Don’t even get me started on that one because I could talk your ear off….and none of it pleasant.

Sadly, this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many small ways to contribute that can and will add up to a big difference. This is both a terrible and an uplifting thought. The great thing is that becoming more deeply involved won’t be hard and I’ll be welcomed with open arms (as would anyone who wants to help). The depressing part is that the only reason it’s so easy to join in on such a worthwhile cause is because there are so many acts of cruelty being done out there.

Yes, this resolution is one I can’t help but feel good about and who knows?  Maybe it will end up being contagious. 

Not to be a complete contradiction I am also going to try harder at the whole vegetarian thing. Yes, yes, I know I’ve stumbled in the past, but hey, it’s a new year and that’s the whole point of these resolutions, right?  Let’s start fresh and make those changes we want to see.  And this change is something I’m very determined to make within myself so it’s a goal I know won’t fall by the wayside.   I hope you stick with me as I work on this one.  I’ll share my successes and my failures.  It will keep me honest and provide motivation….as if I needed more motivation. 

So bring on 2014!  The Year of the Horse, yes!

 

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Artwork by the very talented Susan Monty
(click photo to visit her site)