I dreamt a most vivid and sad dream. A light overcast sky. A vast, clear, open, green grassland and on the far side, a hill running the width of the horizon. Sitting quietly, confidently in the middle of the distant hill, a gigantic obscure figure, an animal resembling a bull or a bear possibly, I could not tell. And sitting beside this mysterious being, way down near the ground, a fraction of the size, I am zoomed in like tunnel vision on my little Michael peacefully washing his face, stopping briefly to look around his immediate space. I am filled with an overwhelming sadness for he does not see me and I cannot speak to him. And then I am zoomed away. And he is left in the far distance. And I cry.
I had this dream a few weeks after little Michael passed away last January. I have relived it numerous times in my waking hours since, including today. Coincidentally, I just realized at this writing, today is the first anniversary of his diagnosis of Lymphoma. He was a dear loving little heart and I miss him terribly.
This is the first post in my “Pets as Refugees” Category. Over time there will be others illustrating the connection between the Institution of Pets, an apt term borrowed from Professor Gary L. Francione, and animal exploitation. Briefly, due to our manipulation of animals we refer to as “Pets”, we have caused to come into existence totally unnatural, completely dependent beings that are bought and sold like slaves. Millions of these innocent creatures end up on the streets of urban centres around the world where they are subject to disease, abuse, uncontrolled reproduction and live short, difficult, incredibly sad lives. Many more millions are dumped in shelters where they are routinely killed for lack of adoptive guardians or institutional monetary means of support. A relatively small number are lucky to find loving homes to live out there lives in “peace”. Michael’s tragic demise was the culmination of almost fourteen years of relative peace after approximately two years of life as a “stray”. We humans owe all existing “companion animals” our diligent care while at the same time not encouraging any more. They do not deserve such a tenuous path.