Random Musings on Dogs, Photography, and the Vagaries of Life

Saturday, January 17, 2015

It Matters

The shelter where I work recently took in several dogs from Korea. They were rescued by Humane Society International from a dog meat farm, where canines are raised as agricultural animals for human consumption.

Surprisingly, the adult dogs seem remarkably friendly and social. Sadly, the puppies are a different story. They cower, growl…and threaten to bite, requiring the use of thick blankets to pick them up and handle them. It’s impossible to ignore the emotional, psychological pain in their eyes.

Still, where there’s life, there’s hope. And we all hope that, at 2 to 3 months old (we’re guesstimating since a thorough physical exam was made impossible by their fear aggression), that they are young enough to overcome their mistreatment and lack of human socialization. Only time will tell.

On a larger scale, will the rescue of a couple dozen dogs from Korea do anything to curb the dog meat trade in Korea or other countries? Unlikely. But as expressed so well by the late naturalist, poet, scientist, and humanist Loren Eisley in The Star Thrower*, that doesn’t mean that this rescue didn’t matter.

In fact, for these few dogs, nothing in their lives will ever matter more.

*Once, on ancient Earth, there was a human boy walking along a beach. There had just been a storm, and starfish had been scattered along the sands. The boy knew the fish would die, so he began to fling the fish to the sea. But every time he threw a starfish, another would wash ashore. "An old Earth man happened along and saw what the child was doing. He called out, “Boy, what are you doing?”  “Saving the starfish!” replied the boy. “But your attempts are useless, child! Every time you save one, another one returns, often the same one! You can't save them all, so why bother trying? Why does it matter, anyway?” called the old man. The boy thought about this for a while, a starfish in his hand; he answered, “Well, it matters to this one.”