Wednesday, December 23, 2015

In defense of helping the vole

Photo credit: Peter G Trimming via Foter.com / CC BY
The RSPCA is under fire for providing anesthesia and tooth clipping to a wild vole so it could be re-released into the wild. The argument seems to be that because the animal is short-lived and eaten by predators it should have just be left to suffer or euthanized.

I admit to having a soft spot for voles, which I regularly see on my walk to work. And as a pet rat owner I am partial to rodents in general.  But everyone has their different favorites and squicks when it comes to animals.

And anyway, how do you weight the cost-benefit ration of helping a particular wild animal in distress? From the animal's point of view it has a life. A vole spends the extra time it gets from veterinary treatment having the good and bad life experiences that come with being a vole, and perhaps contributes to the next generation of voles.

To some humans a vole may be a of no value whatsoever, and to some animals it may be just food, but to a vole being a vole is everything.  So I would argue that is it totally valid to have a policy of giving needed care to any wild animal in distress with the capacity for a full recovery. They each have their place and they each experience a life.

After all, if it comes to deciding which animals are "good enough" to help, a totally impartial alien observer might not put humans at the top of the list.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

An old dog and a young dog

When you have an old dog and a young dog it's like you can see the full spectrum of love.  The young dog is so keen and ready to go on adventures.  The old dog is starting to stumble over his limitations, but the spirit is still strong.  And maybe he falls over sometimes and maybe he pees on the carpet. But he represents a whole era of your life, and he trusts you so much now that the world is getting dimmer and more confusing. And when the young dog stops to let him go through the doorway first you are so grateful. Because she understands.  An old dog is a repository of so many years of love.  And it does not matter what he can no longer do, because of all those things he had already done and because of everything he is now. And she may not have been there for most of those years. But somehow she still understands.