Today’s post will say a lot about human pettiness. And perhaps it will make you reconsider to whom you’ll write up your next charity check.
One of the terrible side effects of the economic crisis that my home country is going through, is the growing number of abandoned dogs. These are not mutts or mongrels, but fine dog breeds that are suddenly deemed too expensive to keep taking care of.
Dalmatians, Doberman, German Shepherds… Bordiers Collie… Dog breeds that require special treatment or diets. Their previous owners just decided it was less onerous to dump them to their own devices at any given side road.
A few months back, while scavenging for scrap metal, I met a very fine specimen of a Collie dog; it was male, but emaciated to the point of starvation. Its pelt was dirty and full of knots. It stared at me with its deep, soulful eyes and feebly wagged its tail.
As everyone else who has grown up watching old ‘Lassie’ TV show reruns (‘Go Fetch, Grampa, Lassie! Wow! You defused that tactical thermonuclear all by yourself! Good Girl!’), I’m very partial to Collie dogs, so, having to see how some SOB had decided that such fine animal was no longer worthy of his attention, felt as if someone had stabbed me with a knife in the gut.
I walked along the shoulder of the road for some time and the poor thing followed me, keeping its distance. It was a little people-shy, surely due to frequently tossed stones, yells and getting screamed at. Rummaging through a trashcan at a service station, I found a half-eaten deviled ham sandwich, which I tossed at the poor dog. The animal wolfed it eagerly. Then it stared at me, expectantly.
“Go away, boy. I can’t help you. I can barely help myself,” I told it.
After a while, it seemed to understand. That’s the most horrible thing. Collies are incredibly smart dogs, so it’s quite a possibility. It turned around and walked away, with its bushy tail tucked between its hind legs, perhaps looking for someone else who may be able to help it.
This small encounter made me cogitate a little. A week later, I plotted some half-assed scheme to help these stray dogs by selling enough books to give them shelter and feed them. It looked great on paper.
The operative keywords here were ‘looked’ and‘on paper’, of course.
I tried to reach a fellow author who is a great advocate of animal rights. At first, she thought I was offering her support to her cause, believing that she would get the proceeds of my book sales. When she realized in the end that this wasn’t the case… well, you could almost hear her yells of ‘scammer!’ from this side of Mongolia.
Yeah, sure, scammer. The potential animal lover would get a honest, decent book which was fruit of some very hard work for his or her money, and then some good dogs would get fed…and all of a sudden I’m now a scammer? Sigh.
Well, Strike One. It wouldn’t have worked anyway, since for the idea to work it would be necessary to sell at least a hundred books each day. Make that Strike Two.
Which gave me another idea (I’m a very stubborn little p**** on occasions… sometimes I never know when to call it a bad job and quit, specially when the idea has great potential to do a lot of good). For the last couple of weeks, I sent constant e-mails to the PR representative of a Very Important Animal Rights Organization (names withheld to protect the terminally stupid) and tried to pitch my idea to this man.
All this fellow would have to do was send an e-mail about my project to all the addresses in his organization’s massive e-mail listing, and let the recipient decide if 99 cents for a book was a fair price to help some down and out animals in the other side of the world.
Yesterday, he answered my e-mails. I don’t know if he did it just to get rid of me, but I’ll give the guy the benefit of the doubt. He praised my commendable initiative… but he was mainly interested in proposals that would give assistance to American Dogs only. Sorry. Blah, Blah.
End of communication. Strike Three for my plan.
American Dogs? American Dogs?!?! Well, I’ll be damned! I thought dogs were only dogs all over the globe!
Next time I encounter with another starving stray dog on the street, I’ll ask it for its passport.
Perhaps then I’ll be able to assist the poor creature…. after it proved satisfactorily that it is an American Dog.