They say ignorance is bliss, and I suppose it really is. I remember being about my little one’s age out with my folks somewhere and wanting to ride a pony. Not only did we not have the money, but when I saw them I became really upset. It was way too hot and they did not look happy trotting around in a circle tethered to each other and with flies swarming around them. I have always had a sensitivity to and awareness of animals … When I was seven my mother tried to teach me to cook turkey for Thanksgiving. I will NEVER forget the horror of seeing the bag of parts and the dark crevice. *shudder* (Hence, why I have not eaten turkey since I was six.) Eventually a documentary would lead to me becoming a vegetarian and now I am almost vegan. It’s not a rice cake kind of thing (I like whiskey and cigars;) rather it is how the animals are treated and then slaughtered. I have been ignorant on some things such as carriage rides. Of course I now no longer consider them romantic and will not take one again. Interestingly enough, I discovered some time ago that the first Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was organized in England as far back as 1824. It was primarily established to prevent the abuse of carriage horses who were driven through freezing cold winters and stifling hot summers; often with little food, water, or rest. The horses were beaten if they refused or became unable to pull the carriages. But on this day I saw two healthy ponies who were not only out in the early morning for a couple of hours; they were being given shade, water, and hay. I did not want to deny my little one the joy seen here so evident on her face. I try not impose all of my feelings on my child; she is already showing sensitivity toward animals just as I did. So I let the handler hitch her up and, clearly my progeny, she started peppering the man with questions. “Is she a girl?” she asked hopefully. “What’s her name?” she wanted to know next. Obviously not used to inquisitive little girls, the man just shrugged. Deciding to turn directly to the animal (something I would have done) she said, “Well, you HAVE to have a name!” and the little pony raised her head as if in agreement. “I’m going to name you Chewy!” she exclaimed! “I think ‘Chewy’ is a great name!” I said as we paused in our ride while the pony obliviously chewed a hole in the fancy country club’s green lawn. Both of us stroked her mane and offered her praise. When my little one’s ride was over I told her to be sure and thank the man but also Chewy as well. “Thank you, Sir,” she dutifully chimed, followed by a much more enthusiastic “THANK YOU CHEWY!” The 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, once said:
“I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being.”
I hope I am teaching my daughter not just to be a human being but also a humane being.