Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A tragedy for the Richmond SPCA

I received an email today from the SPCA in Richmond, VA - my hometown. I have always supported the RSPCA because they do wonderful work. Robin Starr was able to revitalize the animal rights groups in Richmond and create a new space for the SPCA, a no-kill shelter, a place where pets are adopted out, receive medical treatment and pet parents are educated.

This year United Animal Nations, a national animal advocacy group started a campaign to inform the public about the dangers of keeping a dog in a car even for a few moments in the warm months (or even in spring or fall). A car is a death trap to a pet, even with the windows cracked. Try it yourself on a 70 degree day. See how long you last as the greenhouse effect starts and the car rises to 100 degrees in just a few minutes. Crack the window and see if it makes a difference. It doesn't.

From the UAN press release:

A Stanford University test found that when it is 72 degrees outside, a car’s internal temperature can rocket to 116 degrees within an hour, even with windows cracked. When it is 85 degrees outside, the temperature inside a car can soar to 102 degrees in 10 minutes and 120 degrees in 30 minutes. A dog can only withstand a high body temperature for a short time before suffering nerve damage, heart problems, liver damage, brain damage or even death.

So when Robin Starr and her husband miscommunicated last week and accidentally left their 16 year old dog in the back of Robin's car for 4 hours, his fate was unfortunately written in stone. He died later that night of kidney failure even after the Starr family tried every possible medical option at a local emergency vet in Carytown.

I know that clinic. They have great facilities and they care about their patients. I know the SPCA in Richmond, they do fantastic work for animals in and around the community. Their facilities are excellent and everyone there, Robin included, work for the betterment of the lives of our companion animals.

So the fact that the CEO of the Richmond SPCA accidentally killed her dog is an even greater tragedy than if it happened to J.Q. Public. It's a greater tragedy because she should have known better and I have no doubt that she cared greatly about Louie.

If it were me I would step down. Not because the critics call for it but because I failed. It's difficult enough to protect animals that are not our own but it is our obligation to protect those under our care. There are other avenues that Robin Starr can take to help the animals in Richmond. She doesn't need the title of CEO to make a real difference. All she had to do was check the back of her car every morning to make a difference to Louie.

I don't say this to be hurtful but if we can't protect those who are closest to us, how are we to protect the rest?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Cheesecake Dreams

Girl's night yesterday with my girlfriends who I adore. Saw a movie, ate dinner and drank too much wine. Doesn't happen often because B & I are out of town most weekends.

Discussions last night got me thinking today. It seems to always turn to the same thing. B & I will one day have children and B will have to give up the band and his crazy lifestyle to become yet another sheep in the neverending pasture of people who give up their dreams for conformity.

These are their ideas, not mine. I continue to state and re-state that no, we'll find a different way of doing it. B's been with the band for going on a decade now (I think) and I can't imagine him not doing music in some shape. I want him to stay in music and do what he loves. Even if we have kids and embrace the American "dream" and all of that.

Even if we don't.

They poopoo my ideas. "You can't raise a child alone. He can't be gone every weekend. "

I call us selfish. We are in our 30's with no kids. A dog, yes, but even Mozart would admit he's not an infant. Perhaps we are selfish. Maybe we should grow up and stop staying out all hours of the night and sleeping until 3 in the afternoon. Maybe eating cheesecake straight out of the box isn't such a good idea. But what if it was my lifelong dream to eat cheesecake straight out of the box? Is it so hurtful that my love would tell me to stop? Force me to give up some semblance of happiness for the greater good? Or what we're told is the greater good. Who says we can't eat cheesecake straight out of the box or stay up until 4 in the morning?

Who makes these rules?

My bigger question is when do we give up our dreams? And why? Because someone tells us to or because we get tired of chasing them? How can you love someone and at the same time tell them to give up what makes them happy?

I can't imagine what I'd do if B told me I couldn't finish my graduate degree because we need to start our family. Yes I tell him to take the trash out every night and yes we're gone too much and our apartment looks like a pigsty because of it. But it's our pigsty. And our trash.

And our cheesecake - that we're going to continue to eat straight out of the box.