Points I’ve Been Meaning to Make

Author Dennis Lehane’s dog recently went missing and he’s been doing everything he can to find her, like posting on Facebook and offering a role in his new book to the person who locates her. Someone posted the following comment on NPR in response to the story:

“There are currently over 2600 missing children in the US, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Perhaps this author could use his clout to help search for one of them rather than his dog, notwithstanding how beloved it may be.”

First, we don’t know all the things Dennis Lehane has done in his life to help others, but that isn’t the point. There is always something more important we could be doing with our time and money, and its just so unfair and unkind to guilt someone addressing a personal crisis like this, famous or otherwise (because it’s not just the famous who are subject to comments of this sort).

People who are doing something for animals are subject to this kind of judgment most often. For instance, you never hear anyone saying to someone going on a vacation, perhaps an expensive vacation, “Well, instead of going on vacation you could have contributed that money to …” Or, “Instead of buying that tv, or stereo,” or anything at all practically, “you could have given that money to …” No one ever says that. But if I spend money for a medical procedure for my cat there are people who tell me I could be giving that money to save the lives of children, to cancer research, etc. If I contribute to any kind of animal welfare organization, (and I do contribute to other charities) it’s like I’ve allowed someone to die.

Again, no one will argue that there is always something better you can be doing for the world with your money, time, or fame if you have it. But unless you are going to apply this logic to everyone and to yourself, shut up. There are all sorts of ways to make a better world, and making this kind of judgement isn’t one of them.

Also, watch this video and tell me that animals are not worth a portion of our time and money.

I walked by this shoot in Washington Square Park. It looked like some low budget (perhaps student?) reality tv show.

Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

View all posts by Stacy Horn →

6 thoughts on “Points I’ve Been Meaning to Make

  1. I read about Lehane’s missing dog. Missed that snarky comment though.

    You’re correct about some people holding others to standards they themselves do not practice. Here in the South, I often encounter people (especially so-called Christians) who have the attitude that “animals/pets” are lesser creatures with no souls, even calling them “it” and that Jesus meant for humans to do with them as they wish (hence chaining dogs and treating them like yard ornaments).

    I can’t even talk to people with that attitude. As I write this, my min-pin, Rambo, is lying in my lap…and explaining in words the kind of deep affection/love/trust/loyalty I receive from my pets is impossible for those with a closed mind.

  2. I heartily agree with you, Stacy. When I do have money to give, it always goes to animal causes. I used to feel guilty for not giving to causes that many consider worthier, but my feeling is that those “worthier” causes receive far more in the way of attention and, as a result, more financial support.

    The animals need us more.

  3. I spend a lot of time on eBay buying CDs to burn for my iPod (why pay 9.99 through iTunes when you can get a CD for 2.53 and then burn the songs through iTunes? Anyway, I digress. . .)

    When I pay for them through PayPal, I also donate the same amount to the nonprofit I’ve set up to receive a donation, Blind Cats Rescue and Sanctuary (it’s here in North Carolina). So I can shop and donate at the same time (along with my payroll donations and monthly individual donation).

    My only wish is that I could win the MegaMillions lottery so I could give it to all these animal nonprofits, but then you have to play in order to win and I never play.

    Anyway to make a long comment short, you need to do what’s best for you and your conscious and stay out of other peoples’ decisions on what or who they support (except for politics, but that’s a whole ‘nother story).

  4. Exactly. (I love that you guys give to animal charities, though.)

    And not try to make someone feel bad because they’re desperately trying to find their lost dog.

    Cara, me too. People who think like that, to me it’s like we’re not even the same species. How could anyone be so cruel and call themselves good people?

  5. Hi Stacy,
    these busybodies give me a pain in the tuckus.

    This is simply class warfare transferred to the level of the emotions.

    Stacy, you should not have written your book on singing. You wasted your time and energy when you should have been writing a book about starving children in 3rd-world countries.

    Karen (NC), it’s unconscionable that you take these tremendously beautiful photographs of your state and the natural world. (I’ve been meaning to compliment you on your site… how on earth did you get those wonderful pictures of the woodpeckers?) You have been wasting your resources. You should have been taking pictures of kids with cleft palates and stampeding people to fund more cures.

    My wife and I were wasting out time when we were rescuing dogs and cats for a no-kill shelter. Our wasted energy was unconscionable. We should have been joining protests against the religious pastime of female mutilation in Islamic countries.

    So as you can see, none of us can ever do the right thing. Whatever we do, we should be doing something else. The entire world should not be committed to whatever activity it finds itself pursuing. Everyone should be doing some other activity.

    In my experience people like this critic are using in indirect means to amplify the idea that they are better than you are.

    In my experience what you find when you learn about them is that they have no family. And therefore, they do not have the attendant responsibilities and financial obligations.

    And they cannot get dates.

  6. Hahaha.

    Thank you for rescuing dogs and cats for a no-kill shelter. I am still traumatized from visiting New York’s Animal Care and Control. It was when I was still considering getting a small dog instead of a cat after Buddy died. It’s a kill shelter, and I know they’re doing the best they can (they have to take all animals brought to them) but I went into both the cats and dogs rooms and I don’t think I will ever recover from the sadness and terror I saw in those animals. I also feel terrible that I didn’t take at least one, and adopted Bleecker instead.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap