Costs and Benefits
[Warning: Rhetorical Questions posed to make you think, not speak. Comments will be moderated.]
What is a life worth? Not a human life; we don’t even ask that question, but a cat’s. If you have committed to saving one, and it turns out to be expensive, what about all those who might be saved instead? That is, if the funds can even be raised. But if there are sponsors who make it possible, who choose to spend their own money to save this particular life, how much is it worth?
When does it become okay to look that trusting creature in the eye and say, “Regardless of how much you seem to love living, you’re not worth it. It’s time for you to die.”
I have a particular cat in mind. He’s not my rescue, just someone on FaceBook. His name is Little Bear and he was born with multiple deformities, the most debilitating being only 1 bone instead of 2 in each forearm. The limbs are bent and twisted, leaving him to walk on his elbows. It is painful, but not only does he get around, he plays and loves life despite it all. Through surgery it will be possible to fuse the legs straight and give him good mobility without the pain and secondary health risks associated with his deformity.
You can’t save them all. Until the people who make up society ~that would be all of us~ choose to take responsibility for these beings we’ve domesticated and stop the overpopulation, there will always be animals dying in shelters. The cost of this surgery might save a goodly number of them… but not a shadow of all. And one human has already rescued this cat, brought him into her family, given him a home and hope. What would it cost her soul to take it all back and throw him away?
People have socially acceptable hobbies for their own pleasure and spend untold quantities that could be “put to better use,” depending on whom you ask. Changing the world for an innocent, to buy 10, 15, 20 good years, a lifetime for him, isn’t that a reasonable investment?
Yesterday was Martin Luther King Day in the U.S., when we celebrate the life and legacy of an American civil rights leader. He had this to say about the subject:
Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.
Bingo, Doctor. I couldn’t have asked for a better quote to cross my content stream as I was wrestling with this issue. Deciding what is right is a complicated matter, but for the people making the sacrifice to alleviate pain and suffering where they may, who has the right to tell them they’re wrong?