Another horrible tornado hit the Mid-West this month. Washington, Illinois and surrounding towns were devastated but, luckily, most people were spared. Joplin, Missouri was slammed by an F5 in 2011 and killed around 160 people. I think the death toll for this latest tornado is 30 or less, so far. Even one death is bad.
I am glad to see several facebook pages for lost and found pets in the tornado-hit areas. I know that many pets who survived Hurricane Sandy in 2012 are still not claimed and homeless. I guess it's just how I'm wired but my heart breaks more for the pet survivors than the people survivors. Perhaps it's because they can't tell rescuers where they live, who their owners are and where it hurts. I've always been more of an animal lover than a people lover.
Animals love unconditionally. Animals don't care what you look like, how much you eat, what you wear, if you are pretty or ugly, if you are rich or poor, what car you drive, how big your TV is and whether or not you have the latest smartphone. Feed them, love them, provide them with shelter and attention and they love you. Period. They are loyal, faithful, loving and honest.
Scrolling through my facebook home page, I found a link about a male and female dog and their puppies in a town less than an hour from me. The owner can no longer afford them (no longer wants them) and has said that they will either dump them off in the country somewhere or take them out back and shoot them. I am flabbergasted. What the hell kind of human being does either of these things???
These are the dogs in question. I can barely afford to feed the five dogs I have now, not to mention the cats I have plus a bunny. Come spring, I'll have 3 chickens too. I also don't have enough kennel/fenced off yard space for more dogs. And I doubt my dogs would really welcome more dogs. But how can I just sit here and do nothing but share the posting on facebook when I am so very close to them? Five healthy dogs threatened with abandonment and/or murder....
What to do, what to do....
The county I live in lacks a decent shelter. A local vet runs a "shelter" in his office but his kill rate is probably upwards of 75%. We need a good no-kill shelter that takes all types of animals including livestock. The University of Missouri in Columbia has a top-notch Vet School. I have recurring dreams of a large animals shelter (think hundreds of acres with many structures - a set up like Best Friends in Utah) that helps provide experience for advanced vet students as well as a "home" for stray and unwanted animals.
In my dreams, I've won a sweepstakes or lottery and have purchased around 1,000 acres or so of farm land here in Missouri. I build a small cabin and section off a couple acres for my personal use. Then I have a full-service, highly advanced vet clinic built that can treat pretty much everything and all kinds of animals. Then acreage is sectioned off for various animals and structures are built to house those animals. Cats, dogs, horses, chickens, birds, cows - even wildlife - coyotes, bobcats, possums, foxes, etc.
These animals were here before we were. We stole their habitats (homes) to create our own homes and then strip malls were created. Fast food joints, Wal-Marts, Mall of America. We just keep nibbling away at natural places. We aren't that far from paving all land. We are supposed to be stewards of this world and her creatures. Instead we have become land barons and slave owners. Heartless, ruthless, fat, spoiled, ignorant.
So, tonight we I go to sleep, I'm sure I'm going to dream about these five dogs and ways I might be able to save them. Maybe by saving them, I can save myself. Maybe I can be an inspiration to others to save animals, to save themselves. I know I can't save the world but I'd like to save my little part of it. But how?