Animal Welfare In memory of

We are just normal people…

Sometimes, I think people believe we have super powers.  This is a misconception.  The people involved in animal welfare are just normal people, like you.  We are normal people, who care and have decided to act to make this world a little bit better.  We won’t completely change the world, but we might help to achieve a small progress and the animals who cross our path will be offered a chance at a better life.  Sometimes, this is not possible, so we relieve their pain.

We are like you.  Most of us have a job or other commitments and we have little money.  We can’t really accomplish miracles, we are not gods.  However, we believe that we can’t ignore what is going on around us and we are trying to take responsibility and care for our planet, which has been destroyed for centuries by human greed, and its fruits.  One can ignore or one can take responsibility.  It is not the easy path to take, but it is a choice we have made.

We are not the only ones.  There are other people out there who care and will get out of their way to improve this planet and it inhabitants.  They are not motivated by the cuteness, but are just compassionate.

These last few weeks have been particularly difficult for people involved in animal welfare.  Emails and calls about dumped animals have become banal.  We are either asked to take people’s pets or the public ring us about the poor souls that have been thrown on the side of the road.  Kitten season is upon us and we know well this is going to get tougher.

However, every so often, we meet people out of the ordinary, people who have decided to take responsibility.  These people could be you, they could be anybody.  Tonight, I would like to tell you about one of them.

Last week, we received the usual call about a feral cat in a garden; except that the call wasn’t that usual in the end.  Martina had been feeding a few cats (along with the many other animals she has rescued), but noticed that one of them had deteriorated rapidly, losing a lot of hair.  She wasn’t asking us to take her away, just to help her to trap her feral so that she could be seen by a vet.  Catching Pumpkin was very tricky and other cats were trapped before her.  Maggie spent two entire days using whatever inventive device could come to her mind, but Pumpkin would have none of it.  The chicken would tempt her, but a soon as she saw Maggie, she would go away.  Each time we saw Pumpkin, her condition was worse and she would break our hearts.  Martina managed to trap her though and she rang us this afternoon to announce the good news, or what had to become the fatal news.  Deep inside, we all knew that we might not be able to save Pumpkin, but we could help her…

Martina said good-bye to Pumpkin this evening, knowing that she might never see her again; she explained to Pumpkin that whatever would happen in the next few hours would be for her own good, that we would try to do what was best for her.  It was a difficult decision to make…

Pumpkin left us tonight; yet, she had been watched over by her guardian, a compassionate human being who had taken the responsibility of looking after her, feeding and caring for her and her companions.  Hadn’t Martina been there, she would have died alone and in pain.

I petted Pumpkin tonight, after she had been sedated – this was probably the first time she was touched by a human as she was so skittish.  She was looking around with her frightened, but beautiful eyes.  Inside, I thought that it could have been a lot worse if someone, Martina, hadn’t taken responsibility.  Tomorrow, Martina’s wish will be respected and Pumpkin will be buried in a beautiful spot facing the sea; she won’t be rotting on the side of the road or in a dark corner.  She will be given all the dignity she deserves because someone cared.

Martina is just a normal person; she is like you – and so are we…

One reply on “We are just normal people…”

I’m sorry that Pumpkin was put to sleep, Em. But judging by the chronic condition of her fur there was no hope. I know that sometimes animal rescue and putting animals to sleep can appear contradictory but this forms a vital part of what we do.In fact a lot of people cared for Pumpkin and made her their primary concern. Martina, Maggie, and yourself, were just three of those caring individuals, who tried over the course of several weeks to help Pumpkin. If compassion means anything, it means action. And that action occurs in Vet’s surgeries the length and breadth of the country at all hours of the day or night. Many years ago, 1964, in fact, I rescued my first dog. I even managed to rehome him fairly quickly. Buoyed up by this experience I launched into a full on rescue of everything I could find. Birds, rabbits, cats, dogs, and even a fox cub. They all died! But when you’re 7 years old the necessary knowledge and experience don’t exist. I remember thinking at the time how cruel and indifferent people were to the plight of animals.But this was a harsh time in Ireland and a period of dire poverty for a lot of the population. But even then people cared. Individuals did a great deal to alleviate what suffering they could and ran little shelters. Others formed groups to lobby for better legislation on behalf of all animals. This movement slowly took hold and began to grow and now its fruits can be seen all over this country. There are many properly run animal welfare groups out there all working towards achieving the same goal. Individuals unite to form groups. Groups unite to effect change nationally and society moves into a better place as a consequence. Pumpkin was taken away from her pain tonight by the actions of so many people who did what they could. All over the country tonight many groups were out in the cold and the dark rescuing animals, bringing them to the vet or to shelters. Tomorrow, we, all of us who call ourselves animal welfare people, must move on to the next animal in need, and help them as best we can. Because of your efforts, and Maggie’s, and Martina’s, more people know what animal welfare means and what it involves. There is so much more awareness today and so many individuals and groups all working towards the same end, that success can only be a heartbeat away.
Both you and Maggie did right good today.

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