Compassionate cities care for their animals
“Compassion is heart-centered. It is a strong desire to alleviate suffering whenever, wherever, and however it presents,” writes Mindful Coach Vanessa F. Hurst on what makes a compassionate city.
“A compassionate city is an aware city,” she continues. “It is an umbrella under which small and large, organized and personal, communal and personal acts of compassion occur.”
That compassion extends to animals. Sharing space with animals makes people feel better, healthier and happier. When you stroke a dog’s ears, feel the rhythmic rumble of a cat’s purr or hear the relaxed sigh of a horse, you understand the calming effects.
Research suggests that a pet companion offers physical health benefits to their owners – with lower cholesterol levels, decreased heart attack and stroke – as well as emotional benefits – lessened depression and loneliness.
For these reasons, therapy animals are welcomed into senior facilities and healing centers to promote health and healing for people of any age and health condition, whether they are depressed, chronically ill or disabled.
ACTS OF COMPASSION
Like so many, I’ve benefited from personal experience. I left an ageing cat to stay “temporarily” with my equally ageing mother after the death of my father. The relationship quickly bloomed – human to cat and vice versa. The cat gave Mom a sense of balance and companionship that was lacking with my dad’s death.
Years later, my mother spent a month in hospital for heart bypass surgery. She’d been stoic and dry-eyed throughout the ordeal. When my brother and I helped her into her house the day she was released from hospital, kitty greeted her in the front hall.
That’s when the tears slid down Mom’s cheeks. Seeing the cat was a sign of home, of hope.
By age seventeen, kitty began to experience pain, despite a myriad of tests and treatments. The vet diagnosed more suffering ahead and we decided it was time to say good-bye. Compassionately.
The vet arrived at mom’s home on a sunny afternoon to administer the necessary needle and we said our good-byes on a familiar sofa, in a familiar setting. Afterwards, Mom and I hugged, wept and talked about how both of us had cared well for our “communal cat,” in life and in death.
VOICES OF COMPASSION
Animal support is an ongoing necessity. The Charter for Compassion asks: How does our community define animal rights? Does our community have facilities for rescue and rehabilitation of wildlife? And does the community maintain spaces (gardens, arboretums, green zones, lakes and ponds) that foster the eco-system in ways that support animal life (including bees and birds)?
Celebrities add their support and voice. Alicia Silverstone, for one, supports the Farm Sanctuary for Compassionate Communities. Through programs and resources, the organization’s vision is to help build a better world, where all animals are respected and protected – through advice, support and resources that we can accomplish in our own community.
A better world begins with a better community that includes our furred, feathered and scaled residents.
What resources are available in your community? What can you do to create and support an organization that protects our animals?
Photo Source: Pixabay
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