On a recent Thursday night Manchester and Cheshire Dogs’ Home went up in flames as a result of an arson attack. A young teenager was arrested in connection with the attack.
Sixty dogs who had been earmarked for adoption were killed in the fire. 150 were rescued.
News travels at lightning speed through social media nowadays and within minutes of hearing about it, concerned dog lovers were asking what they could do to help. Dozens of local people turned up with dog blankets and food and a Just Giving page raised £1 million overnight. Brilliant, I thought, heartwarming.
And then, as usual, the snarky comments started.
“We live in a country where 1 million people rely on food banks for their survival and yet people can raise this amount of money overnight.”
FOR DOGS. What crazy people, we are, and what misguided priorities!
This made me so angry that I needed to blog about it. Over a week has passed and I’m still angry for the following reasons:
- It is not for other people to dictate to me which charities I should choose to donate to.
- It is fallacious and insulting to assume that people who donate to animal charities do not also donate to charities that help humans.
- Our donations are made out of taxed income. We have already paid our share towards health and social care. Some of us might well have voted for a government whose policies appear to penalise poor and disadvantaged people. Others might not but what we choose to do with what remains of our disposable income is no-one else’s concern.
- We pay taxes to contribute to securing a better life for people in this country and, through the development aid budget, overseas. The Manchester Home receives no taxpayer support, relying solely on donations by the public. If dog lovers contribute to its upkeep it is because it obviously does fantastic work for 7,000 dogs every year, picking up the pieces where humans have been found wanting.
- These poor dogs involved in the fire, taken in by the Manchester home, had already been failed by humans who bred them irresponsibly; who refused to take seriously their responsibility to their pets or who threw away sentient, emotional beings as one might throw away cheap disposable goods. It is not their fault that they were in a dog shelter.
- That they suddenly lost that shelter was the responsibility of yet another, reckless stupid human. Perhaps the level of donations reflects a feeling that people are trying to compensate the dogs for the disgusting behaviour of yet another human.
- People who love dogs do so for reasons that it is sometimes difficult for cynophobes to comprehend. A dog will never judge you. A dog just wants to be with its owner and be loved. Dogs bring comfort and love. And that is what those of us who donated, who took blankets and food, who jammed the M6 motorway in a queue to adopt and foster the surviving dogs, that is all we want to do.
So I pity the harsh, critical, negative people who want to disparage this act of compassion for these emotional creatures. Do you really think that your derision for those of us who feel we have a responsibility towards other creatures rather than dominion over them, do you think that makes you a better, more compassionate person? No-one is forcing you to make a donation and if all you can do is sneer at those you do, well you’re not the sort of person I want to be around.