Promoting understanding
and compassion for animals

Apr

26

Moth Rescue

Posted in: Di's diary2 Comments

Move over Police Rescue, Animal Rescue and Surf Rescue. In our house we have Moth Rescue. Maybe it is the fact that Margaret, the childrens’ baby sitter for the past five years is a WIRES volunteer or Randi their Godmother is a vet. Or maybe it is my influence but Alana our youngest is dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of moths. She undertakes this task with absolute devotion and cares for each moth with amazing tenderness. Although only four she has been providing this service for roughly two years. She also accompanies me daily and together we retrieve bugs that have fallen into the animals’ water troughs.

When I watch Alana I begin to realise how early we are taught about the ‘importance’ and ‘value’ of living things. Few people would give a moth a second thought or even notice a beetle floundering around in a tub of water, yet she does and she gains enormous satisfaction from helping them. Though I am no child psychologist, I suspect that I am witnessing a rare and magical moment when the very seeds of compassion are sprouting and taking root. I can either celebrate and nurture this wonderful occasion or I can dismiss it and tell her that ‘it’s just a moth’. As her mother and guardian I choose the former.

So what happens when a young child hears ‘it’s just a moth/ beetle/ worm’? Chances are their perception of the moth changes from one of a living creature to that of an inanimate object, and their first lesson in disassociation is complete. Over the course of their childhood/ adolescence they hear this message repeated many times but applied to larger animals “It’s only a frog, pig, chicken cow”. Is it any wonder then that as adults, many of us find it easy to dismiss injustice and suffering with barely a blink of an eye? And that we even apply the same reasoning to members of our own race “it’s just a drunk, homeless person, drug addict, refugee”.

It seems somewhat ironic that animal lovers are often accused of being insensitive to the needs of people and only concerned with animals. Rather, I think that once a sense of real compassion is fostered it is simply a case that it knows no confines. Most animal lovers I know, feel and demonstrate compassion for all life, it is just that they feel compelled to speak up for those who cannot speak. Kelsea and Kyle both love animals but Kelsea is the first person to volunteer her pocket money for a good cause – human or animal. And during the bushfires in Victoria a few years ago I had to turn the television off because Kyle was so affected by what he saw. I remember him throwing his arms around my neck and sobbing “those poor people”. He was only five at the time.

So Moth Rescue will continue in our house and I have a feeling that Alana’s concern for the humble moth will grow into a deep pool of compassion that will extend across all boundaries and embrace all living things regardless of their ‘perceived’ value or worth.

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  1. Margi Thurgood said on 09/05/2011 at 7:44 am

    I am reminded of the ant hospital I started when i was a child.

  2. Diana said on 10/05/2011 at 12:34 pm

    I think I did that as well, maybe it was your influence!
    I also was fixated on Moths, like Alana. There was a cartoon called the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show on TV when I was a kid. Rocky was a squirrel but I thought he was a moth (don’t ask me why). Every time I saw a moth I would shout ‘Rocky’ and want to catch it and let it go outside.

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