Thursday, November 12, 2009


Sad-eyed pooches, whales, polar bears ... on which, on what do I focus?

I had three 29-gallon fish tanks when our son was growing up. What a beautiful sight it was -- the pale lavender "grow" light -- the red, the blue, the gold, silver, brown striped, freckled creatures living, waiting for their food. Our son stood on a small ladder, and fed them once a day.

But sometimes -- more than sometimes -- too often, they died. And then, the scooping up of a tiny creature, flushing him/her/it away -- that's a sadness for which there's no solution -- sadness over something living, no longer alive -- at least it helped us teach our son the facts of life.

We had a dog named "Teechie" (as in 'teach"), a cat named "Helpy" and a large, white pigeon named " Little Soup." They helped. Pets teach you other facts-of-life things.

The cat tore at our burlapped walls. We found a new owner for Helpy. When our male pigeon laid an egg, we were shocked and thrilled. We let Little Soup fly around the house once a day, even though pigeon poop was a bit of problem. A friend, emigrating back to Porto Rico, was delighted to inherit Little Soup. When we moved to Malibu, a neighbor, who had "Daisy," a dachshund, was thrilled when Teechie became Daisy's live-in playmate.

Sad-eyed puppies waiting, needing a human to care for them -- that touches me, but I turn away. Reflexively, I find myself thinking of the sad-eyed children. The ads tell you that one dollar a day (or some amount that's feasibly small) will sustain a child, and probably, maybe, perhaps his/her family as well. The ads work on me, but I don't enroll.

I read today (before I sat down to write this) that there are more than a third of the 47,000 animal and plant species on the list that the International Union for Conservation of Nature tracks, in order to help governments identify species in need of protection.

15,700 species to be protected?

Stop-stop – I tell myself. My mind jumps to Al Gore -- his climate, environment things -- stop-stop – too many things in every direction -- my energies have to focus on my own domain and people who need me -- my hands, my money, my mind on their needs.

I can't take on a child. But if I could, that would be number one on my list.

What started this choo-choo train of thought -- Dolphins -- look at them.

These amazing, large, mammals, who are endowed with an intelligence, an ability to "talk" with us -- they're being murdered, killed, hammered to death by men who make their living from selling live dolphins -- they kill the ones that aren't sold -- why? Because they can't afford to feed, and maintain dolphins whom the trainers and other markets don't want.

Stop-stop – I can't stand killing creatures -- large or small or even tiny -- stop! stop! What about the mice who invade our kitchen. Or roaches. Or termites? Where do I draw the line?

Do I kill -- do I help?

... two four letter words, miles of thoughts apart ...

I've got to keep termites out of the wood that holds up our house, and rid our house of roaches and mice -- for my survival I've got to kill them. So, for my survival, what do I choose, or want, or need to help?

My dilemma is ... well ... its Fran's, Sue's, JD's, Shareen's, Beth's ... once I start putting down names I can't stop – it's names of practically everyone know. (Fran gets top billing, she has so many living things that she nurtures. And Beth won't kill mice. no matter where they are.)

Okay, I think we have to try to help Dolphins get back to the waters where they'll take care of themselves. And homeless dogs -- every time I'm on the street I see dogs as the children of the people who have them on their leashes -- dog lovers, who care for them and give and get love from them.

And cats -- they're loved, and needed by the guys that have them.

Okay! So go ahead -- enjoy, but don't mourn the fish.

Polar bears, whales ? The other 15,700 or so living things? I guess you have to stay close to your home, and your own life, and what you can handle. And say "stop-stop" like I do, when I can't find a consistent formula for everything.

Except children. Help the children. They're the life that goes on after we're gone – help them anyway you can manage it -- hands on, money, or thoughts that help other helpers -- HELP A CHILD.
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