Questions?

On October 31, 2014 (a couple of weeks after starting this Blog), I Posted “Where there is love, there is life” (link below).

https://meandray.com/2014/10/31/where-there-is-love-there-is-life/

It focused on my relationship with Ray and, upon re-reading and reflecting on those early days, it does seem to be generally applicable to any relationship, but poses a rather significant question.

“While I am clearly prepared to go out of my way for a troubled dog with an unknown past, do I apply the same sense of obligations to a person?”

After my initial meeting with Ray, it was suggested that I see him on a regular basis in order to determine any compatibility issues given my lack of dog experience, and a dog bite from my early teens…. which I duly did and the rest is history. What is stopping me therefore from making an effort to get to know a person who is clearly in undesirable circumstances?

I have volunteered in many capacities including befriending those who simply could not cope with their lives any longer, so it is not as if my personal time commitments prohibit such actions. I would suggest that my desire to be of service is also quite sound.

Just to be clear, I am not suggesting an exact parallel as the responsibilities of providing a home for a dog are rather different from allowing a stranger to move into your home. I can rationalize that difference to my satisfaction. Where it gets rather “grey” is with people I see on the street who either clearly live there, or are simply scavenging to survive in their own particular circumstances.

Anybody who lives within a large urban area is confronted with such people on a regular basis, but how many will actually acknowledge them? How many will even talk to them? How many will take the trouble to understand them, to the same extent as they would a rescued dog?

I have no answers just questions, but it does seem that, at least in this very specific context, it is an advantage to be a dog and that would seem a little sad as a statement of our humanity!

Just thinking!

 

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12 thoughts on “Questions?

  1. I’ve thought about that often too. For me, the honest answer is that it’s much easier and simpler to help a dog. Doing the same thing for a homeless person requires a much greater commitment of time, energy and money, and so it is much harder.

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    • I would never consider “adopting” a homeless person for many (probably obvious) reasons however, to give a homeless person the ability to have a coffee, or even a meal, takes minimal time, energy and money. The question for all of us to ponder is, why don’t we make that effort towards another human? Many of us will quite happily stop what we are doing to give attention to a dog, but to a person on the street?

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      • I think people do give money, but they are often afraid to engage beyond that because they aren’t sure of the reaction they will get. Some homeless people are simply poor, while others are alcoholic or people with mental issues that aren’t being treated (at least in this country, where many poor people can’t afford to get proper mental health care and as a result end up on the street.) So people hand over some money and hurry on their way. With a stray dog, you can not only offer food, but if you can get it to trust you, you can take it to a shelter where it’s most basic needs will be met. You can’t always do that with a person, sadly.

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  2. It is a question I have pondered for years, yet have found no answers. Like most others, I generally ‘walk on by’ … and then I feel guilty, but my feelings of guilt don’t put food in front of that person I just walked by. If I have a $5 in my pocket, I will give it to somebody who is obviously homeless or hungry, but what does that help, really? Maybe a hamburger today, but … long term? Granted, no one of us can save the world, but I think just the fact that we ask these questions and try to find solutions, try to help, even if it’s only a hamburger or a cup of hot coffee … that is what’s important. Some people do not ask the questions, do not even see the suffering around them …

    Like you, I have no answers, only questions.

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    • Loved your response Jill. The best we can do is make that particular moment a little more meaningful. Just giving them the money for a coffee reinforces their existence, and they get a hot drink. No it will not provide a long term solution but, a hot coffee on a cold day could well be the highlight of their day. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts.

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  3. You know my thoughts on animals and I feel that people AND animals should be paid attention to. Thank God there are people who DO pay attention to animals, because someone has to, just as someone has to pay attention to the people out there needing help. ALL are living beings and should not go hungry, not have shelter, a family or love.

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  4. Colin, this is a question(s) that have bothered me a lot over the years. By the world’s standards, I live in a mansion. Just me and Jeff (now). How many people could I help off the streets? How much am I willing to put my possessions at risk? How much am I willing to put our lives at risk? What is helping and what is foolish? I guess that’s why I try to help the organizations in town that help these people…

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    • I think the answers are personal to each of us and, like you, I support a number of organizations. It is still interesting to ponder why we distance ourselves from the people on the street, and yet embrace a dog! As noted in the Post, I would not suggest inviting them into my home for a variety of reasons, but to just show an interest in them? Why is that difficult?

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