Of Cruelty and Shame, of Lennox and Buck

Lately I cry and cry.  I have to admit that I’m an overly emotional person (I once had a female manager tell me I was “worse than a woman”).  Regardless of the fact that I’m given to feeling things profoundly, I’d have to say that the last 6 months or so have been exceptionally turbulent with tears.

Those that have followed my post or at least read a sampling of it before might know that my hobby is animal advocacy.  To all of you that have been to Grasping the Tale before, I apologize for the months since my last post, but it is my engagement in this second full-time, non-paying vocation that has kept me from blogging.  In fact, I haven’t really written even my poetry/lyrics with any kind of appreciable frequency.  Whichever part of the brain it is which I utilize to advocate has kept me wrapped up there so I can’t transition to the creative part.

About  the tears: it is so draining to see the animals for which I advocate suffer so much, have their innocence and dependence upon mankind be betrayed so badly.  It runs from the (unfortunately) typical cases of neglect to the worst possible scenarios.  Two cases recently have taken a toll on those of us that dwell in the “online animal kingdom”.

One is the story of Lennox, an American Bulldog/Retriever mix that was a family pet in Belfast, Northern Ireland.  Lennox was seized by the Belfast City Council for violation of DDA, or Dangerous Dogs Act, which is known as BSL (or Breed Specific Legislation) in America.  The Council determined Lennox to be a Pit Bull even though he is the breed mix stated above.  Pit Bulls are banned in Belfast as per the DDA.  Despite the fact that he only resembled a pit bull and had never bitten, attacked, or even threatened anyone, Lennox was taken.  While in their custody, one member of the Belfast Council declared Lennox too dangerous to be allowed to live, even though video exists of her with Lennox stitting by her feet and at one point even licking her.  The family fought through the legal system for two years to regain their cherished family member.  After losing the last round of appeals at the end of June, the family’s legal counsel advised them to end the fight.

During this entire ordeal, the world became aware of the story, and literally hundreds of thousands of advocates were signing and posting petitions to free Lennox and return him to his home.  Later on, well-reknowned animal behavior experts such as Cesar Milan and Victoria Stilwell offered to take Lennox out of the country and work with this “dangerous” dog to become a well-mannered, safe member of society (which, of course, he already was).  The City Council ignored all requests.  The council declared that they would euthanize Lennox at 7:00 a.m. on July 11th.

There was a flurry of activity to add even more signatures to the petitions, and media markets all over the world ran pieces about the fight to save Lenox’s life.  Hoping that the negative publicity would move the Council even if the appeals to their human decency failed, the animal-loving world held its breath.

Lennox was killed by the council as declared on the morning of July 11th.  So many mourn this senseless and evil loss of life, and sympathize with Lennox’s family, who were denied requests to see him one last time, to be with him when he was killed, and to at least receive his collar as a relic of him.  They were told they MIGHT be given some of his ashes after he was cremated, though even that has not been provided at this point.  It has of course been theorized that Lennox was either killed while the legal battle was still going on or that he died languishing in his meager cell (pictures showed it devoid of food and water bowls and even appropriate bedding).  These are just theories, though they are highly likely scenarios.

The other dog’s account that has crippled me emotionally is that of Buck, a blind elderly dog that was released from a shelter to an individual that either let him free or negligently allowed him to escape.  After weeks of searching for Buck, his body was found in a concrete enclosure.  It has not been revealed at this point how he ended up in this cement resting place or whether he died of exposure and lack of sustenance, torturous foul play, or a mixture.  The fact that he died alone and hungry, thirsty, and without even the sight to understand his surroundings is too much.  I keep thinking that some SUBhuman beings might have even abused him to death, which is worse.

I sometimes wonder whether it’s worth being part of this world when such stories of incomprehensible pain and cruelty seem increasingly the norm….

I had written a poem for Lennox upon hearing of his official end (the grief being so great that the artistic flood gates finally broke), and will conclude this post with it.  You’ll notice the title says “Part II”, and this is because Part I was written the night before as a sort of prayer (unanswered, obviously)  for his life to be spared.  I am too drained at present to write one for Buck, though I absolutely want to do so.

For Lennox, Part II                               7/11/12

Belfast now a place of scorn

As countless hearts lie ripped and torn

For all the pleas you would not answer,

Your pride and ignorance like a cancer.

You could have picked another way

Yet bathed your hands in blood today.

You heeded none, for you thought best

To lay an innocent one to rest.

I hope your conscience one day wakes

And your hands shake in fits and quakes

When you see doings that you sought

Have not justice, but murder brought.

You’ve disgraced yourselves before the world;

In Hell’s fires your souls be curled

Around a spit and searing slow

For how you have brought Belfast low.

I can’t see why you’ve made this choice

Now countless cry in Lennox’s voice.

 

 

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Belief

It’s been a bit since I posted (I haven’t had ideas, plus it’s a crazy time of year).  I thought I’d share a poem I wrote.  I’ll warn you, though, that if you’re profoundly religious, you may not like it.  As for responses to this post, please don’t try to comment in the attempt to convince me of anything.  Please just take it as that it’s my blog, and I’m sharing my thoughts.

Belief                                                                 1/11/10

You ask me if I believe in God.

I do when I need to ask

why things are the way they are,

when I pray for loved ones

who are suffering,

even, I’m ashamed to say,

when I’M in crisis,

actual or perceived.

I need to feel there’s a God

when I question why there’s

so much hate,

why I have so much hate,

Why people do the Un-Godly

things they do to each other,

often in His name.

I want someone to be listening

when I wonder why we kill

for foolish things like jewelery,

shoes, money, and skin color,

act with cruelty to our peers,

disregard the needs of others,

even PRAY for harm to them.

I needed to pray for Joshua,

for Steph,

for Jacquie,

for Candy,

for my father,

and for many others

who needed aid I could not provide.

I need to have Him there

when I ask why there’s

a Michael Vick,

and others like him

who WON’T get caught,

why there are puppy mills

and dogs being tied to cars

and dragged.

I need to ask of Him,

why He gave us all this free will

to behave like monsters.

Why does he let Catholics

kill Protestants in Ireland

OVER BELIEF IN THE SAME GOD?

How come Muslims and Jews

are going to slaughter each other

until the apocalypse?

Why were thousands of people

allowed to die on 9/11,

millions to die in the Holocaust,

countless others only He knows

in all the wars in history?

Why have we enslaved others,

and still continue to do so?

How come people are hungry

while others can afford

to let food spoil?

Why do we stab each other

in the back,

metaphorically and literally?

Why?  How come?

I ask myself if I believe in God,

but if I only do

when I need these answers,

when I need help

or my loved ones do,

I can only then pray

to have that question

answered too.

Another Re-used Writing

This is another “prompted” piece from the past, and the prompt was actually a photo, which I posted at the end here.  I hadn’t gotten back to my usual lyric writing yet at that time (I was writers’ blocked for a few years), so my reactions to the prompts at this point were editorial-like writings.  I thought they might finally get to see the light of day in this forum, hence this and my previous entry.

The Reel Life 8/1/09

Life is a film. A movie, in fact. There’s a beginning, a middle and an end to it, just as any film has. There is even a back story to the beginning, often mysterious at that. There are supporting characters, antagonists, many settings and changes thereof. Life is even like the films that are a series of acts, a la “The Godfather”, “Star Wars”, even “Austin Powers”, though fortunately not as ludicrous.

Many plot twists will occur, ones that the viewers never saw coming, and there also are moments you could predict with your eyes closed and under water. Sometimes the plot develops so quickly you wonder, “How did I get from that scene to this one?” You will even question the meaning to the whole story.

Some of the life-films are epic in their length, while others are tragically short. These life-films don’t generally stick to a genre, rather they flit from comedy to drama, from tragedy to human interest piece, from romance to documentary, from mystery to satire.

There are political scenes, love scenes, revelations, soliloquies. There are monologues, dialogues, denouements, thrills, moments of violence, acts of kindness, and acts of forgiveness.

There are moments when you simply can not wait to get to the next scene. Some scenes are embarrassing, uncomfortable, or strike a chord that hits home. There are also boring moments you wish you could fast-forward.

My good friend Billy said the world’s a stage, and we are its players. Bill never got to see a film, but I think he’d agree with me in this comparison. There was much he understood before his time, before his own ending.

Unfortunately, these films do come to an end, and these endings can be funny, peaceful, sudden or drawn out, horrific, or, extremely rarely, just the way we want them to be. The endings are nearly always unpredictable, but we keep guessing anyway.

Ultimately, the director makes decisions without your consent as to content, duration, theme, and tone, but you can sometimes figure out where the story’s going. You just need to look at it frame by frame.