“In the twilight of a beautiful day, when fancy seized upon my mind, I passed by the edge of the city and tarried before the wreck on an abandoned house. …
In the rubble I saw a dog lying upon dirt and ashes. Sores covered his skin,and sickness racked his feeble body…
I walked slowly towards him … but my approach only terrified him. … He turned a look on me in which helpless wrath was mingled with supplication. In that glance was speech more than any man’s. …
‘Man I have suffered through illness caused by your brutality and persecution. I have run from your bruising foot and taken refuge here , for dust and ashes are gentler than man’s heart. … I am a miserable creature who served the sons of Adam with faith and loyalty. I was man’s faithful companion, I guarded him day and night… But when I grew old and ill, he drove me from his home.
‘Oh son of Adam, I see the similarity between me and your fellow-men when age disables them. There are soldiers who fought for their country, … But now that the winter of life has come and they are useful no longer, they are cast aside. … How oppressive you are, son of Adam, and how cruel’” ~Kahlil Gibran
The Dog Story
It is hard to believe that in a day of great of great technological advances such a thing as animal abuse still exists. And it really doesn’t matter what kind of animal it is, but abusing pets, your own or another persons, is worse in one way. It is worse because these animals have been bred for centuries to trust and rely on humans. It’s really only one small step from Hitler’s SS having recruits raise a puppy for six months, then requiring them to kill it to prove their loyalty. We were appalled when we learned of such things done by the Nazis. But more than fifty years later animal abuse is still happening. The good news, I guess, is that in some places, the culprits are being sentenced to jail or heavy fines when caught.
But the dog in Gibran’s story has suffered what maybe the worse kind of abuse. On a mental level, it is worse than physical abuse. This dog lived with a family that it thought appreciated it and loved it. It did its best to please them and be a good companion. But when it became old and ill,they abandoned it. I don’t know exactly when Gibran wrote this, but he died in 1931. More than eighty years ago, yet little has changed. We still here of people abandoning pets when they get old or sick. One thing that has changed is that now those people get ridiculed in social media. Perhaps that will help prevent others from doing the same.
Dogs are not the only animals we treat poorly. On the very day I started working on this post I say a news story about a cat that was given away by its owners. The cat walked from the new owners home back to its original owners home twelve miles away. Their response was to ask the shelter to euthanize the cat. Fortunately, they refused and found the cat another home. And we treat plants even worse than animals, but that is a story for another time.
The Human Story
The silent animal is not just telling us that we mistreat animals, but also other humans. Gibran starts with the example of the soldier send off in his youth to fight, and possibly die, for his country. But when he is old and feeble, he is shoved off into a nursing home and forgotten. When the governments needs to cut spending, or just wants to to make voters happy, one of the first places they look to cut is programs for the elderly. Another is programs for veterans. “We love our veterans,” they shout, but they don’t want to fund them.
And lets not forget the great health insurance scams where the big corporations that own the hospitals and make the drugs also own, or are heavily invested in, the insurance companies. So the hospitals and drug sellers artificially raise prices, then give you a big discount through the insurance companies they own. It’s just a variation of the old department store scam where the double the price of a product the week before they put it on sale for half off.
Not only have corporation in the United States been given the rights that are intended for people, but they actually now have more rights than people. They have limited liability, a right that real humans don’t have.
The Silent Animal
The silent animal in Gibran’s tale isn’t really a dog. It isn’t even a man speaking for the dog. The real source of this silent voice is the divine soul. We all have one, but so few of us are using it. The divine soul recognizes the sacredness of all life. It would never intentionally harm another being.
Gibran’s silent animal mentions just a few of the many problems found in the world today. There is only one real and permanent solution for all of them. We must awaken our spiritual faculties, our spirits and souls, and start using them. If we don’t we will soon be following the dinosaurs.