On Respect for Life


Life is fragile.  My accident taught me how it can change in literally a blink of an eye.  This past year was filled with introspection and reflection on life and where I’m going.  Healing from the TBI is a process.  I have needed to find acceptance of what I do not wish to face.  I will most likely have permanent issues from this injury.  My life has new limits to my activities.  In mindfulness, I find the acceptance to embrace life as it is, yet be able to continue to strive to grow and heal.   Recently, I have become more aware of the relationship between humans and nature, specifically animals.  What does this have to do with TBI and respect for life?  Simple, all living creatures are interrelated.  Each animal and human has a role to play in the Universe.  I am involved in two different fundraisers on Facebook.  Both are related to the treatment of animals by humans.  Both demonstrate the continuum from indifference and abuse to love and care.

Ferrets are illegal in California.  The Fish and Game Department have them incorrectly listed as “wild animals” and cite concerns for the safety of people and the ecology.  Ferrets fill a unique role in ecology.  They are carnivores and in the past were used to control vermin such as rats and mice.  They were also be used to hunt rabbits.   Currently, though, ferrets in the United States are companion animals.   They bring laughter, joy, and affection into people’s lives.  And they teach lessons about responsibility, life, and loss.  My ferrets have brought me through many dark times with their playful antics and their bonds with me.  These are not wild animals.  Well, they’re wild but domesticated.  Just watch them play.   Ferrets will not harm the California ecology. In the United States, the vast majority of ferrets come from large breeding operations.  Prior to shipping to stores, the ferrets are spayed or neutered and descented.  They can be as young a 4 weeks old when these surgeries happen!  Talk about inhumane!  But, ferrets from farms cannot reproduce to cause colonies if they are turned loose by their owners.  Also, ferrets have lost a lot of their instinct to hunt and eat the food they catch.  They are no threat to the ecology of California.    One of two things happen to ferrets found in California.  Either they are deported, if they are lucky enough to come to the attention of a rescue group.  OR they are euthanized.  Just for being a ferret.  The project I am involved in on Face Book is helping to raise money to produce an independent film that highlights the plight of ferrets in California.  It also raises awareness of how ferrets end up in rescues.  Many of the reasons for surrendering a ferret to a rescue mentioned in the film (“allergies”, job loss, moving, etc) are issues heard by rescue operators throughout the US.  Some ferrets are dumped because they are sick and need vet care.   The Ferret Squad addresses the issues of neglect and human indifference to animals in a family centered, positive, and hopeful movie.  The care and time devoted to this project by the producer, Alison Parker, and the dedicated volunteers demonstrates the good that humans can bring to the world.  It may be a “small” project but it reflects a much larger truth.  We, as humans, are responsible for the animals we bring into our lives.  We are interconnected.  Please take the time to visit The Ferret Squad to learn more about the movie.   Any donation you make will help make the movie a reality and may part of positive change!   The Ferret Squad

Falcor Ferret stars as “Digger” in The Ferret Squad

Bobby’s story demonstrates both the horrible part of human nature and the positive side of life.  Bobby was found in a field in Spokane, WA.  His leg was broken in three places and he had a dislocated elbow.   He was brought to Ferret Haven of Spokane, an all volunteer rescue funded by donations.  He was taken to a vet for care.  He underwent surgery to pin his leg.  Unfortunately, ferrets are by nature squirmy and active critters.  He managed to move the pin and needed a second surgery to replace it.  Bobby suffered the indignity of being burrito wrapped to help immobilize his injured leg.  He got the pin out last week.  He celebrated by a weasel war dance.  He danced for joy.  Bobby is walking and starting to be a ferret again.  The love and care he received by his foster mom, Susan, and Ferret Haven has helped to bring healing to this little man.    There is a fundraiser for Bobby to help pay his vet bills here: Bobby Ferret Fundraiser  Please help.  The rescue is run on donations and Bobby has a high vet bill to be paid.  If you’re a ferret owner, or know a ferret owner, there is an auction going on as well.  Check out the bedding (can be used for other small pets) and figurines!

Bobby Ferret sports his burrito wrap and beret during his healing process.

Bobby Ferret, just after surgery

There are many ferrets in rescues throughout the country needing forever homes.  Many share stories similar to Bobby’s.  Others were dropped at rescues because their owners no longer wanted them. The two projects seem unrelated.  However, both connect to the human/ animal interconnection and our responsibilities to nature, animals, and each other.

Christianity teaches that humans were placed above all plants and animals.  They became ours to use as we would.  However, many people miss the point.  We were also appointed stewards.  This implies we have the responsibility to use the resources responsibly, including the treatment of domesticated and wild animals.  There are some Christians who are learning this concept.

We are connected to the world and all that inhabit it.  This is a concept that is frequently unrecognized by people.  Since my accident, I have become more aware of my spiritual connection to life and Deity.   Every living creature has a soul, a spirit.   There is a balance in life and nature.   Each creature and plant have a role to play in the world.  We need to be mindful of how our actions impact this balance.  When we take, we should balance by giving.  Take only what is needful and balance by giving.

Life has taken me on a strange and frightening journey.   Yet, I learned lessons I never expected.  Blessed be!

Scout is going to prison! He will be trained and hopefully become a service dog. He was at the Humane Society,

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7 responses to “On Respect for Life

  1. Pingback: On Respect for Life | Whyteferret's Blog | Pet Lover News

  2. Thank you for this. I am one of the Christians who “gets” the concept of being stewards of animals. No Christian who reads the Bible SHOULD walk away without understanding this. Many places in the Bible show the role, be it subordinate, of animals. They are not to be abused, remember Balaams donkey? It was given a voice to ask why he was beating him when he worked so hard for him. And the promise made by God in regards to the rainbow after the flood. Read it again, it was a covenant God made with Noahs family AND the animals. God made a covenant with the ANIMALS! And the Bible mentions animals in Heaven. Brothers and sisters, YOU may not go to Heaven but trust me, your pets will! Animals have rights, maybe not to vote or EEO rights but they have a right to be taken care of, fed, given medical treatment, and their needs met. And WE have the responsibility to do it. God calls us to be good stewards. I can just imagine what some animals are saying, “go ahead and hit me for no reason. Hate to be YOU on judgement day.” Okay, I’m going too far. But we DO have responsibility to care for living creatures. And not SLANDER FERRETS!

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    • Good point. I hadn’t thought of the promise being to Noah and the animals. But, when I was taught that lesson, it was from the human point of view! And I totally agree that we take full responsibility for the care of our animals when we bring them into the home. I think people will be held accountable for abusing other living creatures, whether human or animal. It goes to the soul of a person. Someone who would abuse an animal has a character flaw that will most likely show in how they treat other humans.. and their spirituality.

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  3. Great blog post. I agree about the connections between everyone and everything and that all creatures have souls. If more people thought that way there wouldn’t be as many animals getting dumped by their owners. I used to run a ferret shelter and I have seen the horrible things people have done to ferrets, situations similar to Bobby’s. It’s really hard to see the good in some people when you see the harm they will do to defenseless animals. And they also wouldn’t just throw their pets, which I consider mine family members, to the side when its convenient. I’ve seen far too many people ditch their pets when they become old, sick, or when they outgrow them. Some people do have legitimate reasons for rehoming their pets, but many reasons just come down to selfishness on the part of the owner and its sad. I’ve seen some older ferrets just give up and die because they were dumped at a shelter because the owner didn’t want to deal with an older animal, its sad to watch an animal die of depression. And really I am amazed at how wonderful animals are, they can be treated horribly in a home, abused, neglected, caged all the time and yet with a little love, time, and patience they can learn to love again and can become someones loyal companion. And I do think it is BS that ferrets are illegal in Cali, hopefully one day they will be legalized there.

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    • THat is so true! In the past, I had three rescue ferrets. Zahn was a gentle, loving soul. She was a healer in many ways. Like all ferrets, she did not like to be held for long, preferring to run about exploring. But, if someone was sick or in pain, Zahn would cuddle and be affectionate. My mom has serious arthritis. She carried Zahn around all the time, with not even a squirm. Jester was abused and abandonded. She turned into the happiest, most playful animal I have ever seen. She loved life and people. Druid came to me an elder and ill. I only had him a year before he died of lymphoma. But, in that year, he learned to war dance and play! Right now, I have Lady Tosca, a deaf DEW who was returned to a pet store for biting when she was a kit. My other ferret, Kaliyah, came from a responsible breeder, GFX Ferrets of NC.

      Thank you for rescuing ferrets. It is hard and heartbreaking. But, there are ferrants like me out there who love and care for their little ones!

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  4. Awesome stories of life, animals and humans…all touching and true. I operate a small ferret rescue and take in what I can after other rescues refuse them admittance. I wonder why “3 years old” is the magic number most people give for the age of their ferrets when relinquishing to a rescue. I took in a pair of ferrets that had been the pets of a very young girl who lost interest in them after about 2 weeks (Mom told me this) but she kept them for another 5 years maybe. Caged and only fed and watered etc. and never out to play the entire time! I knew they were much older than 3 when I went to get them but of course I didn’t care how old they were. The little boy, I renamed to Jack was so sick and on his death bed but with love and plenty of baby food and some medicine he recovered. His cage mate that I call his sister was renamed Jill. She was in much better health and was the self appointed guardian of poor little Jack! She loved him so much and always looked for and slept with him every night! I knew that Jack was going to be the first to go to the Rainbow Bridge so I decided to sleep with both of them and they got to sleep in my bed with my hand in their little tube sleeping thing. I did this to try to bond with Jill and felt that if Jack would accept me then Jill would too. I was right and when Jack’s time came, Jill was beside herself and as it turned out, since she looked and looked for her little brother with no luck on her part, she resigned to sleeping in their little tube with my hand and that seemed to help her with her depression from losing Jack. I’m also aware that ferrets love their humans and if dumped on a rescue when they are old is very traumatic to them just like it was to Jill over her loss of Jack. My rescue has become more of a sanctuary than an adoption center because once the ferrets I take in are used to me and the other ferrets, they are no longer adoptable ferrets. I believe once they’ve grieved over the loss of their human who dumped them off for whatever reason, I won’t make them go through it over again grieving over me and the other rescues they’ve gotten used to and accepted as their “new” family. Jill, by the way is still alive and happy where she is…oh, and one more thing…Jill looked after her little brother Jack with the love of a good mother and I found out later that she did so in a completely silent and dark world! Yes, she is both blind and deaf and I love her so very much! I hold her and let her play every day…some days only for a minute or so but she smells me daily and that seems to keep her happy!

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    • Micheal,
      You are awesome! Thank you for all the work you do with rescuing ferrets. It can be a heartbreaking service to them. I volunteered at a rescue for close to two years. I saw some very happy endings. I also saw tragedy.

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