Last week I had to take Tempest to the vet. She has a cough and it’s not going away easily or fast, but I have hope that it’s finally starting to show some improvement. But last Thursday I was at the vet to get her looked at. Worried, as we can’t help but to be, even when we think it’s probably a cold, and trying not to think of worst case scenarios.
I had a few minutes wait in the waiting room, and two dogs immediately came right up to me. Total sweethearts. “That’s Charlie and Max,” said the man holding their leash, and his love for them was practically visible in the air, it was that strong.
I sat there and just loved on them, and I would swear that they sensed my high emotions and were offering me their comfort. Their human seemed a little embarrassed at their behavior, but I didn’t see why he would be. They were very polite, and I certainly didn’t mind Charlie resting his head on my knees as I pet him! After a few minutes, their dad started talking to me. That typical joking “oh, you can tell they are horribly abused and neglected” that we seem to never tire of when faced with dogs who want nothing more than to meet and greet everyone. He had a third dog with him, who was sitting solidly between his feet. I asked about her, and he said that she actually had been abused, and so she was slow to warm up to people. I said that she didn’t seem scared, just wary, and who could really blame her? She was the smart one, really.
I asked how she came into his life, and he sort of lit up. He’d been at the dog park with Max(ine) and a woman who worked at a nearby shelter came in the park with this skin-and-bones dog who was shaking in fear. She’d been abused, found starving and wandering, and had gone to two homes where it just hadn’t worked out. And so this man, moved by her story and her need, took her in. He was apparently the right person for her, and I could hear what he wasn’t saying, that for him it was love at first sight. You could tell that Sarah took a lot of strength and comfort from the security he offered.
I felt so hopeful about people in this world after talking to Charlie, Max and Sarah’s human. It’s so nice to meet people who have that bond with the animals they care for, who love them so deeply and so clearly, and who help a starving and abused dog find stability and comfort for the rest of her life. But, I admit, there’s always that part of me that wants to know: why do people love their dogs and cats this deeply but still eat/kill/exploit other animals?
Melanie Joy would say that this is carnism. She has a book coming out soon, Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism.
In her groundbreaking new book, Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows, Melanie Joy explores the invisible system that shapes our perception of the meat we eat, so that we love some animals and eat others without knowing why. She calls this system carnism. Carnism is the belief system, or ideology, that allows us to selectively choose which animals become our meat, and it is sustained by complex psychological and social mechanisms.
Looks to be an interesting book. I have a lot of interesting books in my queue!