I was thinking, what should I be grateful for this Thanksgiving? Then I saw this silly article, again, and I knew.
I’m grateful for common sense and for refusing fear.
This article, written by Joan Raymond and updated 1-25-11 at Pet Health on msnbc.com, suggests sleeping with our animals can give us diseases. Okay, it’s a good article. We have to take health seriously, including our multi-species family’s health. And we have to report on it responsibly, as Joan Raymond does. The article is not silly in the reporting but in the culture it reveals.
Reporters can’t comment on the facts or sense of their articles. That’s why they report: they give the facts and let us figure it out. We need straight objective reporting.
Those of us who comment on the straight objective reporting write about what it means to us. For me, it’s how can we re-connect people and the planet, from people to animals and the land and waters around us.
So, Raymond writes about the things that can get us if we sleep with or kiss our animals. Things like plague (from fleas), meningitis, round worms, and other horrific or just annoying things. Okay, first, really? Our animals should be healthy, just like us! They shouldn’t have these problems, so fix them already!
Here’s the problem with this reporting: it’s all filler material. No common sense. Just fear. You wade all the way through this article and find out that what they’re trying to scare us about never really happens.
People get hurt and killed in cars every day. You can sprain your ankle getting out of bed. You can choke on a cherry.
So do you avoid cars, getting up, or eating cherries?
No. You get smart. You say, no, I’m not going to be afraid of that. But I am going to be careful and pay attention.
So here’s what I’m paying attention to at Thanksgiving. Here’s what I’m grateful for:
- I live in a country where we can disagree and still be safe, even though there are plenty of people who would like to change that.
- A dear friend sent me a link to an inflammatory documentary on purebred dogs, thinking that my dogs being purebreds was the reason they had some health issues. She cared. It made me think about our assumptions, which I will address in future articles. Mainly: shelters and rescue organizations make a lot of money creating fear and prejudice, when they should be encouraging people to find their heart’s match in a dog or cat. Think, people, think! Talk to each other. Love. Be lucky that your friends care enough about you and your family to say something.
- People who were users and not friends have left my life, providing openings for wonderful new adventures, wiser choices, and real friendships. Awesome!
- Wonderful stores like East West Bookshop in Seattle and Vashon Intuitive Arts on Vashon Island have made me and my crystal partner, Fallon, welcome. We’ve met many wonderful people. And other venues are welcoming us.
- My jade tree, Raymond, was dying, but community came together and saved him. A 200-pound houseplant given to me by my father is going into his fifth decade. Yes!
- My great-grandparents had the vision to settle in North Dakota and pass a piece of it on to their descendants.
- Finally, at long last, some smart medical practitioners have figured it out!
- I’m grateful that my writing has touched lives, and that my book, Bridging Species: Thoughts and Tales About Our Lives with Dogs, was recognized with the prestigious Merial Human-Animal Bond Award.
- My multi-species family is proof that the human-animal bond is alive and well and sleeping cozily together at night, 10 years now and counting!
This Thanksgiving we are grateful that we are all here, together, so we can write and talk about what makes sense, what doesn’t, and how we can create love from fear, starting with sleeping sensibly with our animals.
We celebrate Thanksgiving at our house: yes, that means the animals get to eat, too (and no, not stupidly).
We celebrate something everyday at our house, even if it’s just the joy of greeting each other in the morning and at night: in bed.
We celebrate birthdays. We celebrate the day each animal joined the family. We celebrate season changes, holidays, mistakes, triumphs, a good meal, a bad meal being over with, gas in the car, sun and rain, cozy flannel sheets on a winter’s night, friendship and family.
And we celebrate reporters who remind us that they’re sometimes stuck with silly assignments, and can still keep a straight face.
We celebrate Thanksgiving. We invite the whole world to celebrate with us.
© 2011 Robyn M Fritz