This morning, there is snow in the valley where I live.
It’s the day after Labor Day, I remark to my husband.
It’s 27 degrees showing on the readout, down 60 degrees from yesterday’s 87, he confirms.
I glance out on the front porch to find a flock of migratory birds at our feeders. The magpies and the Steller’s Jays are snatching the peanuts off the flagstone porch we threw at seven o’clock, and icefalls are forming in the bird fountain where the water flowed freely the day before.
Just yesterday, some friends were joining me and my husband for grilled salmon and Cabernet on the front porch. We were laughing in the dry heat about the upcoming snowstorm.
Did you hear the forecast for snow and freezing temperatures tomorrow?
Nah, I sipped my Cab, I don’t think so…
So much is happening in our nation, all at once. I feel absorbed in the frenetic energy. I got involved in the rescue dog advocacy movement back around the beginning of Covid, as I needed to help creatures more vulnerable than myself and in need. Since then, my stressphone, as I now feel about my smartphone, has become my lifeline to ascertain whose life is on the line and whose life was saved, whose life is going well, and whose life just needs a little bit more support in the way of veterinary care.
And yesterday, there was far more danger for all the dogs than I felt manageable. From the dogs in high-kill shelters in California to those in Texas, I shared as much and whom I could, and yet I still felt as though the world were crumbling under the pressure of survival.
And I now have dreams in which all of the dogs featured on my feed during the day appear in my nighttime theatre. Every morning I awake to find their fate: Were they rescued in time? Still needing help? Didn’t make it out?
They are active players in our society in flux.
To add to the energetic intensity, there was the fire burning north near Fort Collins, Cameron Peak, dogs in high school gyms in California needing supplies on account of the Creek Fire, at-risk dogs in shelters in California and San Antonio, pleas for help for dogs that people in rural areas outside of Austin, Texas, literally dumped and left to fend for themselves. There were the 20 dogs rescued out of the San Antonio Shelter by Texas Humane Heroes (still waiting for the confirmation), and thankfully, AGWC Rockin’ Rescue pulled Kilo, the Mastiff that was dumped for needing medical care by his people, out of the East Valley Shelter in California.
So much movement going on in the dog rescue world.
And yes, people are now treating shelters—when they bother to bring the dogs there instead of driving them to the nether regions to starve, freeze, and suffer illness and disease—as dumping grounds. It’s the harshest of all breakups: taking custody and control of a vulnerable animal after willfully ignoring the need to spay and neuter and thus prevent their birth in the first place, and discarding them like an old lamp.
When I consider the plight of the dogs in these high-kill shelters, I see plainly that the same people dumping them in fields and woodlands are some of the same people suffering from the ill effects of socioeconomic deprivation, who are placing all of their hopes and aspirations for a better life on some of the other people who couldn’t care less about whether they live well or die. These people are being manipulated by their own needs and natural want to thrive. People with all the admiration and astonishment for the soulless opulence of a mendacious, showboating narcissist co-opting the White House, who cannot see through their green haze of envy or want for more in life to realize how they are being used and exploited, voting against their own self-interest.
All of it is tied up in the mix—because the same mentality and ethos devaluing life to the point of detached emotionality is the same mentality caring not for their fellow human being. It’s no way to live and no way for humanity to survive, much less thrive.
As long as people keep choosing the lesser part of humanity, holding onto principles of single-issue pro-choice voting, or fear-based anti-immigration while ignoring the harm being done to humanity already here, or clutching their AK-47s and screaming over their right to bear arms while delighting in the stripping away of other’s First Amendment right to freedom of speech, we will continue to feel as though we are a nation at war with itself.
And the dogs—those vulnerable, young, beautiful, trusting, sentient beings wanting the least of our love and promising to give us their all, have become the latest casualty in our sociopolitical civil war.