I confess, I yelled at a stranger today for the way she was treating her dog. No tags to know to whom and where the canine belonged. Tied up on a bench in the snow and rain, while the owner went into a store to get a cup of hot cocoa. The poor animal was shivering.
We are admonished in Torah to remember to care and feed our animals before we take care of ourselves. We are required to care for the most vulnerable among us. We are required to respect them, to cherish them, to honor their sacrifices. You cannot truly follow Jewish beliefs if you mistreat an animal in anyway. Perhaps because that teaching is so ingrained among the Jewish people is the reason why Israel has the highest number of vegetarians and vegans in the world. Perhaps that is why Tel Aviv is the most dog friendly city in the world as well. I don’t know.
But one thing I do know is that how we treat the most defenseless beings in our society says everything about who we are as a people. And there is nothing more dependent and vulnerable in our world than our children and our animals. People who are thoughtless towards those who are the weakest among us should always bring out society’s wrath and derision.
I wonder what kind of lesson does it send when parents are thoughtless about the feelings of their animals? What does it teach a child about what it means to be human? What does it teach a child about the responsibility that we have toward one another? How does a child learn to be kind, when they are showed a callus disregard for a creature that is a family’s pet?
It makes me despair when I see people forget to be kind.
Ok, granted I may be reading too much into this particular situation.
But we are living in an age where kindness is a rarity.
We are told to be insular, to be selfish, to forget that we are global citizens.
There is famine, war, sickness, hunger and unnecessary cruelty in this world today.
There is a lack of compassion, understanding, and a desire to care for one another.
The world is boiling over in hate.
I do think it all starts with how you treat your animals.
If we can’t care for those in our world properly, such as our pets, how can humanity care for each other the way we need to.
The dog from today is ok. Hopefully the dopey owner will put some tags on her, and think twice about where she leaves the animal.
But this episode with the dog seemed to symbolize so much more to me.
I think that is why it made me so sad today.