Category Archives: Inspiration

What would you do if…

dog-motorcycle…you were in a parking lot on a 95 degree Fahrenheit day with 96% humidity, and found a sweet pup like this leashed to a motorcycle with a black leather seat?

Unattended, no water and no shade?

Was I a crazy bleeding heart animal rights advocate for calling the police and making a report for animal abuse?

I was called some pretty nasty words by the dog owner who sped away before the police arrived. And the employees at the Walmart where I found this pup thought I was nuts for thinking anything was wrong with this situation.

If I was wrong, I don’t want to be right.

The police would take custody of a child left in such a circumstance. Why do they think it is OK to do it do a dog? A dog can perish quickly under such conditions.

I hope the pup will be OK, and I hope that hearing from the police will teach the pet owner a lesson. I also hope that he has no children.

I am all about hope.

BZTAT

Children who abuse animals: It’s not something to ignore.

I recently traveled to Las Vegas for a trade show and conference. During my trip, I rode in a taxi and chatted a bit with the cab driver. No matter where I am or what I am doing, my conversations generally come to a place of talking about animals, and this conversation was no different.

“I have a little dog,” the driver proclaimed proudly. Then she got serious. “I was walking down the street in my neighborhood one day, and these three boys were beating the crap out of this little puppy with sticks. I demanded that the boys tell me who their parents were, but they wouldn’t tell me. Then they threw the puppy at me and told me to keep it. I never saw the boys again, but the puppy is now my best friend.”

I am so glad that puppy found a friend. But what about those boys? What led them to act so viciously towards a defenseless creature?

I will never know. I will also never know the real story about what happened to Okey, my own rescue cat who inspired this website. I do know, though, that many youngsters like those boys have been abused themselves, and harming animals is a negative means for coping with their own trauma.

Young people who harm animals are in need of help. Without it, they may grow into serious abusers as adults or develop other serious emotional problems.

Have you witnessed children abusing animals in your community? Do you know what to do if you do witness such acts? Are you willing to get involved to help the children and the animals?

I encourage you to do a little research to find out what resources are available in your community for youth in these situations. Contact your local law enforcement officials, children services organization, domestic violence shelter, Humane Society, etc., if you know of children who purposefully harm animals with malice. Ignoring the problem makes it worse, not better.

Taking action is for the children’s sake as much as it is for the animal’s sake.

(Contact the National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-4-A-CHILD® and the  National Domestic Violence Hotline 1.800.799.SAFE (7233) to get information on resources in your area.)

BZTAT

Animals Teach Kids about Empathy

Written by Vicki Stringfellow Cook

It has been established that animal cruelty, child abuse, and domestic violence are related.  But what can we do to address these connections? Teaching empathy to children is one strategy that is gaining support among experts.

Research has clearly shown that when animal abuse occurs, women and/or children are also frequently at risk.  According to FBI profilers, psychiatric professionals, law-enforcement officials, and child advocacy organizations, people who hurt animals may eventually direct violence toward humans.

Evidence has also shown that a child’s attitude toward animals can predict future behavior.  Reports about several highly publicized school shootings indicate that the young killers had abused or killed animals before turning on their classmates.

Cruelty to animals is considered one of three symptoms that predict the development of a psychopath, and it is included as a criterion for conduct disorder by the American Psychiatric Association.

People who are capable of such acts have a severely underdeveloped sense of empathy – they lack the ability to comprehend or care about the distress or agony that they are causing.  Without empathy, it is easy to think of others as unfeeling machines.

Teaching kindness and respect for animals is the first step in teaching children empathy.

Many animal welfare organizations promote the concept of teaching children empathy.  In 2007, the Doris Day Animal Foundation published a report entitled The Empathy Connection, which states that empathy is a basic skill that every child deserves and needs to learn.

Other organizations that promote educating children about empathy and compassion toward animals include the American Humane Association, the ASPCA, and the Humane Society of the United States.

Empathy training is also becoming more common in schools throughout the country.  One program initiated in Boulder, Colorado by Ellen Mackey is modeled after Jane Goodall’s Roots and Shoots program.  The concept of the Roots and Shoots program is that every individual can make a difference and all people need to work together to foster respect and appreciation for animals, people, and the environment.

Another program offered by the Humane Society of Arizona uses the Six Pillars of Character from the Character Counts program to teach kids about having empathy and compassion for animals – and for each other.  Dr. Kris Haley, Manager of Humane Education, believes teaching children kindness and compassion toward animals leads to a greater understanding of their relationships with others, and he feels that understanding this connection can be used by schools to address the problem of bullying.

Programs such as these proactively address the issue of violence toward animals and people, and they are an important component in an overall strategy toward reducing the number of future incidents by helping our youth build their capacity for empathy and compassion.

Okey’s Promise Keepers: Blog the Change

Blog the ChangeToday is Blog the Change Day promoted by Be the Change for Animals. Blog the Change Day is a special day for pet bloggers to blog about a cause near and dear to their hearts, inspire the involvement of their readership, and share that vision with the BtC community. This event positively impacts animals and advocates one-on-one.

Blog the Change day is obviously a natural fit for Okey’s Promise, as this whole site is dedicated to a cause and vision that is near and dear to my heart. In fact, I have been asked by other bloggers if they could write about Okey’s Promise for their Blog the Change story today.

Be the Change for Animals also posted the Okey’s Promise video on their Facebook page today. I am VERY grateful.

We have raised $1855.00 in pledges through the Kickstarter fund raising page so far. Although it is still a long ways from the $5000.00 needed, I have a strong belief that we will get there. This project HAS TO HAPPEN. It just has to. Why?

Because it has captured the hearts of too many people not to.

That $1855.00 was pledged by everyday people who care and want to see it happen. Their numbers are growing, as each one pledges in whatever amount they can afford to share. They, and all those who have helped to get the message out, are every much a part of this project as I am.

Okey’s Promise Keepers care about animals. They care about children. They care about making our communities safer for both animals and children. And they recognize the power of art to do just that.

As my good friend Yvonne DiVita said it on her blog Lipsticking today,

Art for a cause exists because people feel art in their heart and soul. It speaks in a language that has no words, needs no words, is only the touch and sense of what you feel. When you are exposed to a painting or performance that vibrates through your whole being, introducing you to colors and sounds and thoughts that you did not know you were capable of thinking, you become one with the art. There is no other way to describe it. The colors are unique to the art. The understanding is unique to the person. The purpose is all encompassing. In this instance, it’s – save the children and the pets, and we save ourselves.

Together, we can make a difference. Together, we can use art to make a promise: to do better for our communities’ children AND their creatures.

Will you join me and the rest of Okey’s Promise Keepers in keeping that promise?

Okey and I thank all those who have joined the cause.

BZTAT

Wanna pledge your support to Okey’s Promise? Every little bit helps! Make your pledge here, and/or grab the widget to put on your website. Thanks for your support!

Please visit all the other Blog the Change blogs!