My dad has been a die-hard Cleveland Indians Baseball fan since 1954. For those of you who are unfamiliar with MLB, to be a fan of the Indians (or really of any Cleveland team) requires one to be an optimist. My dad is no exception. One day in college when I was upset about something and I asked my dad how he could deal with all the setbacks and negativity and bad people and bad things in the world, and still be an optimist, he responded:
"I have always found optimism to be a healthy antidote to much of what happens in life. I always think that something nice is just around the corner. And every once in a while, just often enough to keep me going, there is."
And it's true. I find that I'm somehow the same way. I get down and sad about life, and then there's something good that happens that draws me back into being a bleeding-heart optimist who really does believe that something nice is around the corner.
Well, tonight I needed that. After reading about high kill shelters and lost cats, and being reminded of how anti-pittie Peta is and how many animals they kill while making money as a "pro animal" organization... I was upset. On the sort of scale that's beyond my fears that Keen will never find a home and that I'm not doing enough but I'm not sure I could do more right now, just overwhelmingly upset and worried that we'll never make headway and my great great grand-niece will have a futuristic apartment with foster cats from shelters who still have to euthanize to make room for all the homeless animals...
But I'm an optimist, even when it takes a little work. And I decided to screw waiting for that corner, I'd go out looking for some positives to keep me going. So here are five.
1. Ohio, which is my home state and doesn't have the best record on animal rights, is making serious progress! Advancement for both farm animals as well as at least some legislation cracking down on puppy mills. It's not perfect and it's not everything, but it's more than I expected and it's positive so I'm counting it as a win.
2. Pfizer and World Rabies Day are giving free rabies vaccines to shelters for World Rabies Day in honor of feral cats across the country (also, www.worldrabiesday.org )
3. Speaking of ferals, Alley Cat Allies is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Boardwalk Cats Project.
4. The black momma cat in the high kill shelter that the awesome HubbleSpacePaws posted about was saved!
5. BadRap.org posted an awesomely perky summer video of pitties and their people playing on the beach.
I went to a Jesuit university and my favorite priest, Fr B, had this way of looking at the world and talking about it that really did make our hearts burn for social justice and filled us with the belief that we really could make a difference just by trying to be men and women for others. One of my favorite homilies he ever gave (sermon for those not familiar with Catholic jargon) included this:
"Hope is not answers or solutions; it's faith that something is waiting for us, that there are possibilities. Hope isn't easy."
What we do isn't easy, but we do it because we have faith that we make something better for those animals, that there are possibilities beyond accepting high euthanasia rates and over crowded shelters. On this Independence Day, I'll raise my blueberry pie to all the amazing people in the United States and beyond who work for animals whether in their day jobs, as volunteers or fosters, donating time and talent, and even just being good examples of how to treat animals. Because it's not always easy. But it is needed and it is part of what makes this country great.
I'd love to read about some other people's victories for animals, please leave some in the comments!