Look Closer

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Champagne Lady

The following quote is borrowed from the Facebook page of Mark Rashid. From Colorado, Mr. Rashid is an internationally known horse trainer and the author of many books on the subject. While this refers to horses, similar thoughts could be applied to any pet or animal that we have in our lives.

What Do You See?

“I am not your therapist.

I am not sports equipment

I am not a chair

I am not a doll

I am not a vehicle

I am not your child

I am not a toy

Look again. What do you see?”

Reading this made me think about how often we bring an animal into our lives for what they can do for us rather than for what we can do for them. While many animals do provide invaluable services to and for people, how many of us truly believe that they have value beyond this? How many animals have performed their duties for which they were trained, only to be discarded when they were no longer able to do so? From the dog trained for the military or law enforcement, to the racehorse, to the show animal, to the family pet, how many animals when they become too old and inconvenient or are no longer needed, are disposed of because they are no longer of any use to us?

To their admirable credit, many men and women who have worked with service dogs in the military refuse to leave them behind when their tour of duty is done. Many have fought long and hard to bring their canine companions home with them to live out their lives. Law enforcement dogs are often retired with their handlers, and when they pass are treated with the same honor and respect as any other officer. Most pet owners who have had their pets for many years are committed to them until the end. But there are also many senior pets sitting in shelters simply because no one wanted to put up with their disabilities as they aged, as there are horses sent to auction because they can no longer be ridden or worked or shown. Do they not deserve to live out their lives in peace and relative comfort for the love and service they have provided? Do they not have value just for who they are rather than for what they can do? I think that’s what the author of What Do You See? is asking us to consider.

Photo of Champagne Lady was taken at the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, a place where you can appreciate animals just for who they are.

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7 Comments on “Look Closer”

  1. Melissa Keir Says:

    This is important. I would love to take in every senior or abandoned pet that I see. Unfortunately, I can’t. I have held a rat who is laboring for his last breath and cleaned up after a cat who was having seizures and bathroom issues. We have a local place that takes in animals to care for that can’t be released. These were once wild animals who were imprinted on humans for one reason or another…or animals that are too injured to live on their own. Now they serve a new purpose..they go out and educate others.

  2. marissoule Says:

    Thanks, Lucy, for both the quote and your comments. I can’t imagine abandoning an animal who has lived with me, been my companion and maybe my protector simply because that animal is old or no longer useful. My dogs and cats have become family and I always mourn their passing.


  3. I know what you mean about wanting to give a home to so many older pets, but there is only room for so many pets in any one home. I have a 16 year old cat that has been with us since he was a kitten. His days are waning and it’s hard to make the decision as to when we should help him leave because he’s ill, but I simply can’t imagine dumping him at a shelter because I can’t face what needs to be done. That’s great there is a shelter for wild animals that gives them a new purpose.

  4. Diane Burton Says:

    My daughter’s family have adopted only dogs from shelters. One they adopted recently was an 8 (?) year old BIG dog with a big tumor who had been abandoned. He is such a well-behaved dog (not feral,at all) that he must have had good training. After paying for surgery to remove the slow-growing cancerous tumor, he is doing well. My daughter said they wanted him to have a good home to live out the rest of his life. I really admire them for taking a chance on this animal and giving him a loving family. This 120+ lb dog can easily be led on a leash by my 5 yo grandson.


  5. That is so kind they were willing to help an older dog in need, and he’s repaying them by being a good companion. I think most rescue pets know they’ve been saved.

  6. margohoornstra Says:

    Many of our cats and dogs have been rescues too. By and large, they are so grateful, they are a joy to take care of.


  7. I do think they realize you’ve given them a second chance. The two cats we have that were literally rescued from the streets as kittens are the two most sociable and loving cats we’ve ever had.


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