Heartless, cruel acts against animals can be conteracted with action, kindness

By John Toth / Editor and Publisher

I am brushing out an old dog’s matted fur. He must be around 17. That’s 119 in human years. The old fellow tolerates it well, but I can tell that he is not used to the attention.

I’m not pushing my luck. When he is not looking, I put some flea spray on the brush and start working on the tail. He doesn’t much like that, but tolerates it while munching on a Milk Bone.
He spends most of his days alone in the backyard, lying in his doghouse. His basic needs – food, water and veterinary shots – are met, but, this dog is lonely. I’m trying to make friends, but it’s not easy.

A dog needs human companionship. That’s part of the deal.

Dogs are not potted plants. Those who dump them in the backyard, where they stay all their lives, alone, should not own dogs.

Gus Kenworthy is not one of these people. He is a professional skier, and a very good one. He is good enough to win a silver medal at the Sochi Olympics.

He also has a soft heart. He has adopted five strays, four puppies and their mother. Then he delayed his departure from Sochi until arrangements could be made to fly them back to the U.S.A.

He is one of many westerners whose hearts have been melted by the Sochi strays and were disgusted by how the Russians shot and poisoned the dogs before the start of the Olympics.

I became one of his Twitter followers, one of 86,800, even though I really don’t follow skiing, or know who the top skiers are at a particular time in a certain country.

The reaction to Kenworthy’s decision to adopt the stray dog family has gotten perhaps more attention than the medal he claimed alongside gold medalist Joss Christensen and bronze medalist Nick Goepper, which was a historic first.

But that news will fade quickly from public view. Kenworthy’s Sochy strays will have a lot more staying power.

Animals have a way of getting my attention, which is why I am boycotting everything made in Denmark, if they make anything at all.

What they are good at making is the rest of us angry for killing a perfectly healthy young male giraffe at the Copenhagen Zoo and feeding it to the lions. 

The innocent animal was put to death when there were many other options. It would have cost about $69,000 to fly the giraffe to another zoo. Donations would have covered that easily.

To further feed our notion of how ruthless the Danish are, they announced a second planned giraffe killing at another zoo four days later. The outcries by then were ear-shattering.

Then, they said they never planned to kill the second giraffe, and that it was all a misunderstanding.
Maybe the world-wide reaction had something to do with it. This is how CNN described the first one:
“Staff at the zoo received death threats as debate raged online over the killing, which took place despite another petition signed by thousands of animal lovers.

“Copenhagen Zoo’s Marius was shot by a veterinarian as he leaned down to munch on rye bread, a favorite snack. After a necropsy, the giraffe was dismembered in front of an audience that included children and fed to the zoo’s lions, tigers and leopards.”

Wonder why everybody was upset (sarcasm heavy)?

Note to Danes and Russians: Don’t think that the rest of the world is as uncaring when it comes to animals. There are consequences for such ruthlessness.

So, here is how the Danes can end my boycott of their products, if they have any. Fire everyone involved in the giraffe killing and make sure they never come near animals again. The rest of the world wants more, but this for me will suffice.

Here is how Russia can make it right when it comes to the strays of Sochi: Instead of killing them, start a program that will sterilize the strays and let them live out their lives in peace, in shelters if needed.

However, the people of Sochi have shown that they don’t mind sharing their food and companionship with the dogs.

I’m finished brushing the old dog. I can tell I have maxed out my stay. I’ll try again another day to win his trust some more. My heart goes out to the old fellow. But at least now he does not stink. His fur looks much better.

He goes back to his doghouse and lies down. He knows the routine all too well, unfortunately.