Thursday, June 25, 2009

Torn.

I usually post about things that I find on the internet, or my crazy sewing projects, but this morning something happened that I just had to write about. I work downtown, and as I was walking through the alley to go into my office building, I came across a dog. A small-ish grey and black mottled thing, she was just standing in the street, gazing at me. I tried to coax her to me. Her tail was wagging, and she seemed curious. But she wouldn’t come to me. She’d start walking my way, then would think better of it and turn around. But she kept looking back at me. She was panting; it’s in the high 90’s today, and probably over 100 degrees including the heat index.

I ran into the office building and filled up a bowl of water. When I returned, she seemed interested, but she still wouldn’t come near me. I left the bowl on the sidewalk, and, as I walked away, I glanced back and saw that she was eagerly drinking the water.

I am notorious for rescuing stray dogs – ask my husband about the time I rescued a Rottweiler two days before we were supposed to leave for our wedding - so this tears at my heart when I can’t do any more. I needed to get to work; but my heart was telling me to say screw it, somehow get her into my car, and take her to my house where I could at least give her a bath and a meal.

Here’s the terrible part of this story: there was a homeless man sleeping on the sidewalk right across the street. And I felt more inclined to help, and more sympathetic towards, this dog.

What does that say about me, as a human? Does that make me terrible? I’ve seen this homeless man around the city lots of times. My first thought is, if I help him and give him money, he’ll just use it for drugs or alcohol. But I could have at least given him a bottle of water, right?

I feel awful. I ended up not helping either of these living creatures. And here I sit, in my air-conditioned office. What a terrible person I am.

3 comments:

Alison said...

You're not a terrible person AT ALL. We do what we can. And I'd be inclined to feel more sympathy for the dog than the man. But maybe that's because in Toronto, a huge proportion of the "homeless" are just beggars who have homes.

But funny this happened to you, because yesterday on my way to work, I saw a "homeless" man (who got a new suede jacket last winter, and he's always clean.. hmmm) whose dog died last year. K, if you already have a dog when you end up on the streets (just assuming he's actually homeless for the purpose of the story), fine, you can't just abandon it. But yesterday, he had a new puppy! So, again assuming he's really homeless, where did he get the money for a new puppy? And if he's really homeless, is it really a good investment? Now he has to use his money to buy this puppy food. Oh, not to mention the fact that he's sentenced this puppy to a life living on the street. And the puppy has no choice in the matter.

But in reality, I'm sure he's not homeless, and got more money when he had the dog (even after paying for dog food). But either way, that puppy had to sit in the heat and humidity all day yesterday. And that's just cruel.

{Rachel} said...

but you did help the dog by bringing it water. don't be so hard on yourself. did you see a tag? maybe you could call a local animal shelter and see if anyone has reported a missing dog?

Stephanie Sabbe said...

ahh jen, this story is so sweet. Sometimes Bryan and I have felt like we should have been more generous or helpful to the millions of homeless people in Memphis (there are lots here too)So usually when we get the "should have done more feeling" we remind ourselves that there will def. be a next time and we can try and do more next time:)