Many of my friends have asked me in the past why I am a vegetarian…or why I can’t get over Vick. They also tell me what I do will not make any difference. One particular friend told me, “people who are vegetarians treat it as some kind of Medal of Honor.” Others have said my refusing to eat meat will make no difference to the meat industry. Another interesting comment made to me repeatedly is how animals don’t have souls and according to the bible, animals were put on this earth only for the pleasure and service to humans. To me the question is not “if” animals have souls, the question is “if” they suffer.

I do not believe Vick has truly looked within himself at the darkness that must blanket his soul…Outwardly; he has done the right thing and does manage to speak twice a month to high school groups. Yes…very nice and proper. However, I do not believe he has confronted that dark place within him that caused him to brutally and repeatedly kill animal after animal because they didn’t show “game.” I have said repeatedly his public apologies are about how he let the NFL, his family and his teammates down. They are not about how demons allowed him to believe that what he was doing was just a “cultural” thing, or how he could look into the eyes of the dog during his last moments of life and not be sickened by it. I don’t see the pain and shame in his eyes during any interview on the few occasions a reporter asks him about why he did what he did. I see emptiness. I see Political correctness, I see re-branding. I do not see redemption. Redemption starts with the soul and builds through the actions. With Vick, they stop and start with his Public relations campaign.

As for why I keep fightin the fight…

I have to admit I am truly astounded by the statements my “friends” make to me on a regular basis…does it mean since my single voice will not be heard as strongly as the masses, I should silence it?  

I used to kayak on large chain of lakes, and every Friday evening, I would kayak through one particular channel and that is where I met the “rogue swan.” Many hated this swan because he had a tendency to attack oncoming jet skiers. Now…I know exactly why he confronted them. He confronted them because they tormented him repeatedly. I witnessed these actions personally. I never experienced that kind of threat from him; in fact, his reaction to me was quite different. We both enjoyed the Friday evening ritual for several years. As soon as the swan saw my shiny red kayak he would run on top of the water with wings flapping until he came within a few feet of my kayak, and then he would skid the last few feet stopping just in time to advert any collision. Some might become frightened by a rogue swan careening recklessly to within a foot of my shiny new kayak…but not me. I knew he didn’t want to hurt me, I knew it was a ritual we both enjoyed. We floated together…watching the sunset with him cooing softly beside me. Occasionally I brought some old bread with me and we would both enjoy a snack and perhaps a beverage (ok the beverage was for me). It was always one of the highlights to my weekends.

 Unfortunately, the DNR didn’t see him the same way I did and decided it was necessary to approach this dangerous rogue swan in a “rowboat” and shoot him. 

Obviously, I am not one to remain silent…so I had a huge banner made and hung it over the bridge of the lake channel where the killing took place during the Fourth of July weekend. The banner read as follows “When it’s not convenient to do the right thing…just shoot em. DNR 2005.” I didn’t expect it to have much of a reaction; it was more of a tribute to my friend. However, after hundreds of people read the banner that weekend, a grass-roots effort developed. Because you see, the DNR intended to eradicate all swans from that particular chain of lakes at season’s end. As it turned out, because I posted that one banner, and because other people chose to talk about it, and because people decided to come together for a “cause” and make a difference, big things started happening. Articles regarding the swan’s plight started appearing in local newspapers. News stations picked up on the story, state senators decided to get involved and eventually the decision was made not to eradicate the swans. 

It’s the starfish story…we may not make a difference to the masses…but every once in a while, we make a difference to something… and that’s good enough for me. 

So…to answer the questions to my many friends…I will never give up the fight because I will never know when that “one” action will turn into something bigger, and when separate actions become cohesive beautiful things can happen.

That… is what I will always believe.



9 Responses

  1. You get a teary eyed standing ovation from me. One person CAN make a difference, and if your friends don’t believe that then they certainly never heard the name Christ mentioned. 😉 And although I am on a vegetarian I do know where my meat comes from, we buy from local farmers (I can actually go see where my stuff is raised if I want, no meat industry farm will allow that). I also believe that ALL of gods creations go to heaven, it says so in the bible first chapter in fact: “And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth,
    wherein there is a living soul, [I have given] every green herb for food.’ And it was so.
    (Genesis 1:30 Holy Scriptures)

    There is also a part in Matthew that says (King Jame) “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.” So God knows the swan and knows its life touched yours and in turn saved many others.

    Thank you for sharing this story, its a perfect lesson for a Sunday!

  2. You have no idea how much your comments mean to me:) I love the biblical passages you posted and it further enforces what I have always believed…animals are on this earth to do amazing things, we just need to pay attention. thanks again for your support and comments!

  3. I have never doubted that animals have souls. I have always known it. What a beautiful encounter you had with your swan. I am sorry you lost him. But I am glad you fought for him and saved the others.

    I really needed to hear your story of one person makes a difference. I have seen and heard it done before, but I needed to hear it on a more personal level, not just on the news. You are not alone in your fight against those who don’t believe. Thank you for having the courage to be that one voice and reminding me to keep using mine.

    • Thanks so much for the comment. I do believe we can make a difference….and I love that our blogs are occassionally read and touch people in so many different ways. I will always miss my paddles with the swan and still think about him often.:)

  4. I’m a recent vegetarian convert, one of the best decisions I ever made by the way, and my dad’s wife decided to try and give me shoes made of suede. I tried explaining that I couldn’t wear them because they were made from animal to which I got they reply, “It’s not like the animal isn’t already dead,” and then the snide the remark that if it was against my religion or something then I didn’t have to take them. You can’t win with her so I just said nothing, took the shoes and gave them away. She’s never bothered to ask why I became a vegetarian so that she would know that it is in fact against my spiritual beliefs to be a animal consumer and she will probably never understood how the last year of being a vegetarian has freed my soul from feeling like just living my life was causing pain and suffering for other souls. It’s always nice to know there are other people fighting the good fight and trying to make a difference. Sorry for rambling but I found your swan story to be a balm for my sometimes weary soul.

    • I know exactly what you mean…I feel so much better not being a part of something so horrific. Many people will continue to ridicule us for what we believe but I dont care. Thanks so much for reading my post and lending your support. We are out there and will be heard one by one!

  5. […] From the blog Dogs, Cats and the crap I talk about: […]

  6. If every individual tried to make a difference, what a wonderful world we would live in!

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