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
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!
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!