Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Your dog or you

I live on the northern coast of California. So far north, I jokingly call it "southern Oregon".
Before moving here a few years ago, being a southern California girl,(SoCal for short) I had no idea how different the coastline would be from what I was used to.

Apparently, the large number of sea stacks offshore are responsible for causing the waves to break and bounce in ways that create extremely dangerous and unpredictable currents in these super cold waters. It's just not safe to go swimming in the Pacific above San Francisco.

The reason for the mini geology lesson in this post is unfortunately a tragic one.  This past weekend, here on the North Coast, three members of a family lost their lives.
A mom, dad, and 16 year old son drowned in an attempt to save the life of their family dog, who got swept away in the treacherous ocean waters while playfully trying to retrieve a stick. Their dog was ultimately able to swim to safety.  You can read the story here and here.

I was sharing this with a relative out of the area and their response was one of sadness and disbelief.
In addition to that though was their amazement that someone would be so foolish as to put their own life at risk to save an animal.   I tried to explain that many people view their animal companions as part of the family, but the very idea that someone would do this was still incomprehensible to them.

This got me thinking.  I wondered if this presumption about animals and their worth(or lack of it) was fed more so by religious belief or cultural background?  The black community as a whole is not known for fighting for the cause of animal rights.  Some might say that blacks have been fighting too long and too hard for their(our) own civil rights to worry about dogs and cats are treated.

But I'm curious. If you're a non-vegan person of color and/or religious, would you risk your life to save your family pet?  Why or why not?
I especially want to hear from those who are not vegan, because right or wrong, I assume that we who are vegan and/or vegetarian for ethical reasons would indeed risk our own safety for the animals in our care.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.


  1. As I was telling you last night, I would do a lot to save animals. My own two cats are my "babies" and I love them more than a lot of other people probably think I should. While I'm vegetarian, I do think my feelings on animal rights are more along the lines of those who are vegan.

    When I hear that there's a natural disaster, I think of the animals (often times first) and worry about who's taking care of them. As a child my stuffed animals were the "good" guys, while the dolls were the "bad" guys. Every time.

    I feel that I live a pretty charmed life, but I recognize the hurt many humans inflict and do not see the same thing from animals. I've heard so many stories about animals who have brought healing and love to people's broken lives. I have loved quite a few animals in my lifetime; they are all so precious.

  2. Such a sad story. Tragic on so many levels. I am not a vegan or a vegetarian. I currently have 5 dogs: 3 that have been ours for 10+ years, a rescue mama and one of her offspring as of the Spring this year. To say I love dogs is kind of an understatement. I love their companionship, I love their loyalty, I love how they teach my kids to be more compassionate towards other animals AND people. Our pets complete our family. I have rescued 30+ dogs off the streets over the last 12 years. Some had homes that we found and some we needed to re-home. Before I had kids, I would chase down lost dogs in alley ways, run into the street after them, at 8 months pregnant I even approached and took in a pit bull (which we still have today). I have been told I am crazy for doing these things and more. But that never really stopped me. Somehow God has seen fit to give me the ability to spot a lost dog and allow them to trust me enough to help them. Although, the only thing that has tappered my dog rescue craze has been my responsibility to my now 3 kids. As much as I love having my kids enjoy our pets and seeing me continue with rescuing stray animals, I HAVE to have boundaries for their well being. I have prayed about it and really feel God has given me discernment in pursuing a rescue of a stray or lost dog. Some boundaries: If a lost dog approaches my house(which many do since I have dogs), I help. If I am driving and spot one, I found a good spot to pull over and if I call them and they come to me, I help. If they run away, I can't leave my kids and chase after them. I just say a prayer that someone with a kind heart will help them when I couldn't. As for the tragic story with a family pet, I think my instinct would have been wanting to save our beloved pet as well, but I would have hoped that I would have had the mindset to keep them safe and out of the water from the get go. And thank God my husband is different enough from me to balance out my irrationalness at times. Yes, animals need our help. But mostly from other people and people things. They have great instinct when it comes to nature though. I think we all need to trust that a little more and give them credit and pray they can pull themselves back to shore... I pray I am never faced with making a decision to rescue my pet in what seems a perilous situation. But I do know, if my dog ran into the street, I'd probably run after it without any thought. And that still kind of scares me for my family's sake. Something I'll be thinking and praying about.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing your perspective! I've known you for a long time and I had no idea of your heart for rescuing dogs. It really touched my heart. :-)

  3. Interesting concept. I am not vegan/vegetarian. I grew up Catholic and now follow a Pagan spiritual path. I'm white, Anglo-Saxon descent and grew up in a large northeastern city but now live in the rural south. I would risk my life to save my companion animals (like run into a burning building after them.) But I would rescue my husband/a beloved family member before one of my companion animals. I would not put my family members in jeopardy/harms way to rescue my companion animal. Now the issue comes would I rescue a stranger/casual human acquaintance before my companion animals? I truly don't know--my companion animals might win out--I think it would depend on the circumstance--I might chose the human. I've stopped in the middle of an intersection and held back traffic to rescue a bird or turtle out of the road. But I don't think I would do that on a freeway and put my life and others in jeopardy.

  4. I'd protect my animals as long as it didn't endanger my life; because the people who love me need me around. I'm made in Gods image; animals are valuable but a human life is assigned more worth by our heavenly Dad. X

    1. Thanks for your thoughts and for stopping by Cody!