One of the biggest battles i have engaged in over the years is protecting our animals from at least the most overt forms of exploitation. These guys have been exploited by humanity up the yinyang.
lets be clear... all animals that have anything to do with human beings are exploited. we exploit them for food, for profit, for companionship, for therapy and assistance, for entertainment, for teaching opportunities, for feel good warm and fuzzies. we exploit them to stoke our ego's, to engage in control, for power, for righteousness*(the proverbial hero vs the asshole.) we want to be the best animal whisperers, the most fantastic furry guru's, with a click and a pocketful of treats, a jar of coconut oil, and a fridge full of raw food we are animal cure-all's. when we use them or their stories to further our own personal or professional or social or rescue related ends...we are using them. lets call a spade a spade.
we need to acknowledge that we all do this in one way or another.
omg, the weight of even our rescue expectations in animal relationships is crushing.\
thank god they don't know they are being exploited..they are really nice and trusting in that way.
and i guess they in turn exploit us too...they sure suck half my dinner and most of my bed out of me just with a yearning look in their eyes. they have the staff and volunteers jumping backwards and forwards to meet their physical and emotional needs in every possible way.
but here is the thing..shyla in her most manipulative posturing pose to get something she wants out of me...is doing it solely because she thinks she needs something from me.
what i try to protect her from is not from humans using her to fulfill some deep seeded maternal nuturing need (me) or to fulfill some even deeper seeded do-gooding or social justice need (also me,) my job is to protect her from anyone trying to use her or her story to personally impress somebody.
i live with these guys. they are not pure magical lights. they are as messed up, as tattered, as selfish and self serving as we are in mankind. the difference being..they are vulnerable, they are victims, they have absolutely no personal power unless we in our almighty-ness decide to give it to them.
now what IS magical about animals (and very small children) is what they help us to feel.
that gentle warm rush of softness that enters thru our eyes and slides into our spirits.
no one else may at that moment see it, or feel it and they don't need to for us to still feel that gift.
in order to stop exploiting animals to simply benefit how other people see us...we need to understand this. animals exist for their very own purpose. just like i exist for my own purpose.
we may travel along together, for awhile. but their purpose is not to improve my purpose and i can't possibly improve their purpose which i think may be to bring such a warm and gentle surge of softness into my spirit.
but their real purpose is to be themselves..and the real purpose for me is to be a better person myself.