Monday, August 31, 2009

All dogs go to heaven

Those that don't get taken care of by atheists here on earth after the rapture.

My personal hunch is that one of the major discoveries of this coming century will be the recognition of the moral life of animals. So much energy has been poured into trying to believe that animals were just animals. Anyone who suggested animals had emotions like humans do were anthropomorphizing them. Those who insisted an animal's actions were motivated by emotions or values were accused of an irrational sentimentality.

I suspect, however, that what scientists will begin to propose (and in fact already are beginning to propose) and determine is that people are not anthropomorphizing animals; we are simply recognizing (inadequately, to be sure) an emotional and moral component to animals that already was there, that is, in fact, animal.

I was thinking of this when I read this article at the Episcopal Cafe, which referred to an article in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Approximately 200, both human and dog, attended a memorial service for Ando, a member of the K-9 corps in Pittsburgh. "Ando, a German shepherd who joined the township department 2002, was diagnosed July 16 with hemangiosarcoma, a highly malignant canine cancer that attacks the blood vessels. The disease forced him to end a highly regarded crime-fighting career when he retired on July 25. Ando was euthanized Tuesday after a roughly one-month battle with the disease."

Check out that photo from the service. Breaks my heart, it does.

Also over the weekend, The Bark noted the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina by promoting a documentary on the animal rescue efforts that were part of the disaster. The documentarian "estimates that half of the flood's victims chose to stay because of their pets." The documentary is called An American Opera: The Greatest Pet Rescue Ever, and it doesn't sound like a light-hearted romp.

The Rescue Party Tour with screenings will take place all over (can't find any in California yet, but I can't imagine they won't happen).

I guess I'm just glad people are allowed to feel things for animals. I know we also go overboard on this, but I'd say that beats callous disregard for "it's only an animal" any day of the week.


Kurt said...

Hey Laura! Nice post!
You might find this interesting on The Dog Chapel in Vermont (via my blog).

Kurt said...

Come to think of it, my Wil Wheaton's Awesome Dog post is connected to your post too!

Laura Toepfer said...

It always freaks me out when I go to your blog!

Kurt said...

Ha ha! Know the feeling... "where'd all those strange posts come from!"

(or more truthfully, "What the #%$*!"