cultivate (kuhl - tuh - veyt)
v. 1) develop 2) nurture

graft (grahft)
n. 1) transplant 2) bud 3) union

Monday, January 28, 2013


Recently on the wonderfully convoluted and dramatic world of Facebook, this quote was pasted onto a photograph:

"The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty."
(Mother Teresa)

The photograph held a sweet lil' pink face, smudged with mud. Doleful eyes stared sadly from behind the bars of a dirty cell. It was just a glimpse into this neglected life.

Oh. Did I mention it was a picture of a pig? As in oink, oink, "th-th-that's all folks" pig.

I know. It was a little mean of me to string you along like that. When I first saw Mother Teresa's words applied to humane treatment of hogs, I felt more than mild annoyance. It cheapens the words of a great woman who (to the best of my knowledge) never lobbied for animal rights. She was a little preoccupied with loving people. Silly nun.

This brought to a rolling boil a topic that has been quietly simmering in the back of my mind. If I drive to the ritzier areas of town, I can literally feel my blood pressure rise. Pet resorts. Pet summer camps. Pet dermatologists. Really? What, will the other mutts make fun of teenage canine acne? Pet bakeries, spas and posh kennels that cost more than my entire home furnishings. And don't get me started on pet strollers.

Disclaimer: When watching a movie, I tend to flinch more when animals get hurt than when their human counterparts get an arrow through the heart.*

There is a disturbing trend in our society to lavish extravagant care on our four-legged creatures (unless it's a canary. then I certainly hope it's only two-legged). Now hear this: I'm all for humane treatment of animals and being kind to our pets. While I don't personally feel that our dogs are part of the family, I can handle people referring to their "furry kids". What I have absolutely zero tolerance for is the over-the-top concern Americans have for animals while humans are languishing in worse conditions than those of the pig I described earlier. The two aren't incompatible. You can save the whales and advocate for orphans. We needn't feel guilty when we buy a bag of dog food, but we had better hope the images of gaunt faces in Africa spur us into action. Perhaps there are still people in the U.S. who are unaware of the living condition of orphans in other corners of the world. I painted a sad little picture of a pig. Now it's time to paint an even sadder picture. Imagine walking onto the grounds of an orphanage. As you walk through the front doors, a faint (and unpleasant) odor wafts through the stale air. The first floor holds babies in cribs. There are soiled sheets, and bottles propped in mouths. Aha. That must be the source of the smell. Only the newbie bothers to cry. The rest of the children have already learned that their tears result in zilch. Climb the dingy stairs to the second floor. Then it hits you. The stench is overwhelming. Choking back bile, you press on and the sight before you nearly makes your knees buckle. Same scene as the first story, but now you are looking into the expressionless faces of toddlers, grade-schoolers and teenagers. They are laying in their own filth, bottles propped against rotting teeth, muscles permanently contracted, their weight flunked out of the percentile charts. These children protest being taken from their cribs, because they hardly know human touch.

Their care is worse than we would find acceptable for our dogs. Light years worse. It is a contradiction to say these are their living conditions; these are truly their dying conditions. This is (at least closer) to what Mother Teresa was talking about.

By the way, the above quote is nestled in a larger quote. Here it is in it's entirety:

There is more hunger in the world for love and appreciation in this world than for bread. We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.

So, take your pooch for a walk (or snuggle your ferret *shudder*) while you seek God's direction for His precious and valued children.

Needing Perspective,

P.S. I will not apologize for thinking of ferrets as hairy snakes with legs.

*The Professor insisted I have a disclaimer. That's why he balances me so well. But seriously. Who else gasps when a horse goes down?


  1. AMEN!
    Let me just say that I love my dogs. We call them our "Kids" (It's an empty nest thing, I guess). But anyone who has been around me when this kind of discussion comes up has heard me say, "People are people and animals aren't!"
    It says a lot about our worldview when we start down the road of giving animals the same rights and personality traits as humans.

    1. Amen, Jeff. It's a scary slippery slope, to be sure. Thanks for commenting!

  2. Hairy snakes with legs? More like out of control slinkies with claws and teeth. Still somewhat fascinating, though...

    Sadly, some of those pet people are treating their children in the same way - send them away to parties, summers, and whatever; show them off; and put them away when they are inconvenient... They are, after all, only an accessory - just like pets, homes, or cars - to the "ME" who is ever most important.

    God gave us a heart that is made to love Him. In loving Him, we in turn love all of His creation. When that gets broken, we forget how to love and who to love. Things become very skewed and people express love in many unfortunate ways. Thanks for the great post to remind us to have God's perspective and His priorities in our lives!

    And, yes... whince, cover my eyes, cry and have nightmares... Oy! But I remember that some of the earlier movies did result in both animals and humans injured and killed just so someone could have a little entertainment. How far past the Circus Maximus have we gotten?

    1. Bwahahahaha!!! Hairy slinkies with claws and teeth!

      I can't help it; when a horse goes down, I flinch. Every. Time.

      Yes and Yes! It's broken and all of creation groans...

    2. LOL!

      God forbid that our hearts would be so hard that we would be unmoved by those kinds of things.

      Amen! Looking joyfully to that future day when everything is healed!

  3. Perfect! I totally agree. You know, when I was about 13, there was an election and there were two issues on the ballot that I remember - one was a school levy for my school district which hadn't put an operating levy on the ballot for ten years and is the sixth largest district in the state, housing a large number of children living below the poverty level, offering free breakfasts and lunches, etc, etc... all the things that tend to fall on the shoulders of the schools these days. Then there was a levy for the zoo. I'm not entirely sure what the zoo wanted to do with it, I think buy animals. One passed and one failed. Guess which was which? Yeah, it was a lovely message it sent me as a young person... "it's not that society doesn't care about you... they just care about elephants more." So I wrote a letter to the editor of the local paper about exactly that - that people had their priorities wrong - and they published it. My social studies teacher made me 'autograph' it for her. I'm pretty sure writing that letter made me everyone's favorite student for the rest of the year, considering their jobs were also involved, LOL.

    In any case, it was just the same thing on a less extreme scale. Not life and death for anyone, but still - people's priorities were messed up. And I do see the same thing constantly today. Those commercials with the abused animals and the sad music... guilting you to send money... and yet here I am every day on facebook begging people to pay attention to adoption auctions, photos of orphans, stories of teenagers coming home the size of babies, and no one answers... but they all repost the picture of the sad dog in the snow, or the status that premium dog food might be contaminated with CORN ingredients... Sigh. Sometimes I just want to post a picture of an orphan and say "she wishes that were HER biggest problem..." Anyways, I know I'm ranting to the choir, but just so relieved to see someone else finally SAY what I always want to!

    1. I'm proud of you for writing a letter to the editor! What a sad state of affairs.

      You SHOULD make a memes depicting a dog whining about corn in it's food and below that, exactly what you posted here! People need the reminder. Love your passion, Katie!

  4. a sad commentary on the state of this world....


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