Introduction to Animals & Pets


Animals & Pets:
Saving Those Who Have Saved Us

by Vicki Freeman

“If only we can overcome cruelty, to human and animal, with love and compassion we shall stand at the threshold of a new era in human moral and spiritual evolution - and realize, at last, our most unique quality: humanity."
~ Jane Goodall 

Animals save millions of lives every day in innumerable ways across the country, across the world. Humble guardians, they awaken families sleeping in the night to warn them of a fire or an intruder, even alerting their owners of these same dangers to a stranger or a neighbor. Bomb sniffing dogs save soldiers and young children from certain mutilation and death. Search and rescue dogs save skiers and earthquake victims buried under several feet of snow or mounds of rubble. Dogs pull men from rivers, rescuing them from certain drowning - dolphins rescue drowning men and dogs from the same fate. Wild animals alert us of impending disaster by running for high ground before a Tsunami or tidal wave. How many would have died, had it not been for them?

But it doesn’t stop there; animals don’t just save our lives, they GIVE us life, they enhance the quality of life. Ask an assistance dog recipient and they will tell you they equate getting their life back, their independence, with gaining their new four-legged family member. These animals give them sight, hearing and the ability to know when a seizure is coming. They give the public a face to connect with instead of seeing the disability first. Alzheimer’s patients exhibit decreased agitation when exposed to animal therapy and are restored to calm. Therapy animals also give great comfort to hospice patients, reducing stress and anxiety. And they comfort us through our divorce or a job loss, curling up next to us in purring consolation or sleeping beside us, whimpering with our tears until we’re through it. 


Every day our pets give us miracles that are easy to take for granted. They meet us at the door when we arrive home from work, ecstatic to see us – every day. There is no memory of the time you yelled at them for chewing up your shoe… or shredding your pantyhose...or left them when you went to the park and promised to take them next time. Always loving, always anxious to be in our company, they make us forget the worst of times, the worst of days. 

Yes, the gifts animals give us are endless. Yet with all of the gifts they have given us, we have become their biggest predator, their gravest danger, their most insidious enemy. We have beaten them, tortured them and bred them for aggression. We use them as living petri dishes for experimentation and vivisection. We commit them to the cruel, caged lives of factory farming, senseless slaughtering for fur and inhumane slaughtering for food, arguing they are lesser creatures. 

Who has stared into the eyes of a wounded animal and not seen fear and pain? Surely, they are blind if they deny such a sight.


“People must have renounced, it seems to me, all natural intelligence to dare to advance that animals are but animated machines... It appears to me, besides, that [such people] can never have observed with attention the character of animals, not to have distinguished among them the different voices of need, of suffering, of joy, of pain, of love, of anger, and of all their affections. It would be very strange that they should express so well what they could not feel.”  
~Voltaire, Traité Sur la Tolerance

Join us on a journey celebrating animals - our love of them, compassion for them and duty to protect them. Together we’ll explore the bond we share with them, our impact upon them and ways to keep them safe, living peacefully and happily among us.



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