Promoting understanding
and compassion for animals



Book excerpt 4

Posted in: From the book3 Comments

Passion and compassion


You answered my prayers
and fulfilled my dreams.
You were my teacher, my friend
My greatest love for so many years.
I still think of you now…..
But I wonder what stoke of fate befell you,
that you should be born a cow?
You never had a chance.

Do you grieve for animals lying dead on the side of the road? Have you ever rescued a frightened kitten or taken a lost dog home. This is what compassion is all about.
The dictionary defines compassion as, suffering with another, sympathy, pity, commiseration or an act of mercy.
I find that it rules my life. It doesn’t however, rule everyone’s.

Some years ago a situation provided me with a fascinating insight into the various levels of compassion that seem to exist in different individuals. This story was relayed to me by a person I once knew.

While driving to work, the person saw a ginger kitten lying in the middle of the road. They stopped, picked it up and took it to the vet. Upon discovering the extent of its injuries, and with no owner to claim it, they agreed that it should be euthanased. The thing that struck me about this story was the number of different responses that different people would have in the same situation.

  • There is the sadistic type, who seeing the kitten in the middle of the road, would de-liberately run it over.
  • There are those who would drive past, not wanting to be burdened with any responsi-bility.
  • There is the responsible, compassionate but rational type who makes sure the animal receives medical attention but somehow manages to stay detached from the situation.
  • Then there are people like me, the animal lovers. They find a kitten, take it to the vet, pay for the treatment, even if they can’t afford it and then give it a home.

What began as a simple question – “Why would I do that?” escalated into a flood of opinions, beliefs and emotions. I reasoned that the kitten only existed because of someone’s negligence in not having their cat desexed, despite the shocking overpopulation of cats in this country. Plus the fact that somebody had obviously hit the animal and not stopped and that countless other people had driven past, oblivious to its pain, fear and suffering, sickened me.

I suppose my answer to the question “Why?” is that I consider myself more ‘human’ than that. I feel compassion and I hate the thought of something being in pain, frightened and alone. Paying for treatment and giving the animal a home, is for me an unconscious effort to compensate for the negligence and cruelty that other humans inflict.

Poddy and Tabby – two little kittens that I rescued from a garbage bin at the Sydney Royal Easter Show 1982. My sister Helen and I hand raised them using a dolls bottle. They then went on to live a life of luxury in Mosman (complete with their own private beach) after one of my school friends persuaded her mother to let her keep them.

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  1. karen knight said on 06/06/2011 at 2:25 am

    What a beautiful generous spirit you have. Keep up all your good work:)

  2. rebecca said on 10/06/2011 at 3:47 am

    So sorry about the cow :( I believe events like that change people and have contributed to who you are today. Also love your thoughts about the kittens. You’re spot on with identifying the types of people and how they would react in that si…tuation. It’s a familiar one to me. 5 years ago my mum found a 3 week old kitten and brought it home. He was sick and weak so I surrendered him to the vet (not knowing much about animals back then). 2 days later I decided I wanted him back and I had to pay for him. That decision changed my entire life as he was the first animal I ever rescued… and there have been many more since.
    Can not believe someone dumped kittens in the bin at the easter show! Actually I can believe it… but it never fails to disgust and sadden me how heartless some people can be.

  3. Sirena Naef said on 14/06/2011 at 6:32 am

    Great points altogether, personally I’m gonna have to bookmark this and come back to it. I’m curious if you have any follow ups to this post?

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