Sunday, April 27, 2008

Shaquille's ABC's of Life

Stories are an ancient way of learning and never forgetting. Humans are not the only ones who can share stories. Animals have this ability also, even though we have to listen with the ears of our hearts and not our heads. Shaquille, or Shaq as most of the volunteers called him, crossed over into another realm two days ago. He didn't leave because he didn't like it at Big Cat Rescue, but felt his life purpose had been served. His story involves a trail of tears and the ABC's of a cycle our society has adopted as natural and normal.

The first letter, A, represents acquisition of the animal. Our society still thinks of animals, any animal, as property and as such, have no rights and can be treated any way we choose to subject them according to our current emotional and mental needs. Acquisition is often motivated by cultural status, being unconscious and economic gain.

B represents brutality . Humanity has forgotten all living creatures are kindred spirits. Animals have no egos or belief systems. They are in harmony with their environment. They see no separation. Since humans see separation, there is a mind set of us vs. them. Artificial needs are created because in a world of separation, there is never enough. Abuse, brutality and cruelty are inflicted upon the animal because we don't understand or appreciate who they are. We demand things from them that they often cannot do without being motivated by fear to do it. We don't train or work with them from a position of cooperation. We train from a position of instilling fear into the animal until they do what we want them to do. When we see them "perform," generally we are watching fear in action.

C represents confinement . The animal is ALWAYS confined, whether it be physically and/or mentally. They are caged because of the limits we force upon them. They are very seldom able to express their innate nature. Frustration, stress and desperation are produced because they never feel freedom. You can see this in the animal, especially in their eyes.

"The eyes are the gateways into the soul." I heard this as a child many times, and it is true. Shaq was very happy at Big Cat Rescue. The volunteers gave him nothing but love. He was safe and well cared for, but if you looked into his eyes, you knew his story and could see the trail of tears. Our promise to Shaq, his story will not be forgotten.