Promoting understanding
and compassion for animals

May

17

Sadness, children and whoopi cushions

Posted in: Di's diary2 Comments

I had to go into the city yesterday for work and came home a bit cold, tired and depressed. My depression had nothing to do with work, in fact a general feeling of gloom had been engulfing me for a number of days. I remember thinking the other night “how can I ever feel really feel happy when there is so much pain and suffering in the world”. My mind reeled from one horrific example to the next: factory farming, children dying of cancer, a woman I had just read about with motor neurone disease at 28, vivisection, animal testing, live exports, ‘scientific’ whaling. The list was endless. Even though I like to feel that I can help to effect change, it is on such a small scale that sometimes I question my worth. I’m glad to say that I don’t usually feel like this but at the moment the task, the issues and the scale of the suffering somewhat overwhelms me.

But all of that was momentarily forgotten last night as I sat in my armchair and watched the children playing with a whoopi cushion. After everyone in the room had been subjected to the indignity of sitting on it, they then turned their attention to Marlee our dog. Marlee responded with unbridled delight (albeit slight confusion as to why such a strange noise was coming from his rear end) but as long as everyone was laughing, he was happy. He sat on it time and time again and wagged his tail so furiously that at one point he whipped Kelsea across the face. Her tears were quickly forgotten however in the hilarity and mayhem that followed.

Two things struck me about the situation.

1. How can something so infantile be so funny? (Or maybe that says something about my sense of humour.) I have always loved stapstick, I don’t know why. I remember going to the movies with my sister Helen and her friend when I was a child to see Blazing Saddles. They were so embarrassed by my hysterical laughter that they kept moving away from me and I kept following them.

2. How wonderful and ‘normal’ it is for children and animals to live and play together. As the four of them rolled around on the floor laughing, I realised that they never question his acceptance or devotion. They understand that he loves them and feel safe and secure in that knowledge. Marlee’s love will be a constant in their childhood that maybe they will not find in many other relationships. While Greg and I will always love them, others will not. Some will disapprove of things they do or say and others will reject them outright. Sadly we have all been there. Childhood, adolescence and teenage years are a magical time but also fraught with disappointment and rejection. I am so glad the children have a wonderful friend who will always be there for them – who they can rely on, to share their joys and comfort them when they are down.

And while they may not consciously appreciate these things now, I know that there will come a time when they will understand how special this relationship is. Then they, like myself, will be eternally grateful to the wonderful being who loved them without restraint and accepted them unconditionally. Who helped them to become the accepting and compassion people that I know they will become. People who possess the ability to think outside their own circumstance, even their own species and feel empathy and understanding for all creatures. (And of course experience the accompanying guilt and despair that I often feel.) I do question myself whether I really want that for them but what is the alternative – a life filled with apathy and ignorance, impotence and denial.
No sock, glove or slipper is safe in our house!

No sock, glove or slipper is safe in our house!

But for now they will focus on Marlee the clown and Marlee the sock, glove and slipper thief and I will focus on Marlee and the whoopi cushion and forget my worries for just a little while longer.

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  1. Freda Rudge said on 02/06/2011 at 5:07 pm

    i had to go through it again since i could not grab the entire escence of the post in one go.That was a very articulate and logical point you make there.I appreciate you letting me know your thinking on this.

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