The bond between us and our non-human friends

Waking up in the morning to the sound of a ‘meow’, to a wet nose, to a lick on your face or hand or to any kind of greeting from your non-human friend can be an amazing way to start the day. The relationship between a person and his or her furry friend goes both ways, it is a relationship of mutual benefit and equal bonding. If you ask me, I also consider that human and non-human animals have equal rights on Earth and should be regarded as having an equal status and the same importance as a human being. Nowadays, domesticated non-human animals rely on their human friends for food, water, shelter and welfare. On the other side, people also gain a wide range of benefits from their companion animals, such as lowering blood pressure, alleviating the overpowering feeling of loneliness, reducing stress, raising blood oxytocin levels and sometimes, even reducing direct physical pain.

How far does the connection between people and their furry companions go? To start with, we know for sure that dogs were domesticated twice, once in Europe, about 16 000 years ago and once in Asia, 14 000 years ago, from two distinct wolf lineages. The purpose of domesticating dogs was for hunting and protection purposes. Another interesting fact that showcases the connection between dogs, cats and humans is that as far back as 12 000 years ago, human and non-human animals were burried together. Approximately 8000 years ago, when humans transitioned from nomadic hunters to settled farmers in the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East, cats became increasingly useful for dealing with rodents and other troublesome pests.

In ancient Greece, dogs were believed to ward off or prevent death and in many cases they were kept around temples and used as co-therapists because of their perceived ability to cure sickness. Pet ownership might go as far back as ancient Egypt, where pharaos were depicted in murals together with their animal companions. Scientific research does not show with certainty when non-human animals started to be kept as pets and became our closest friends and companions.

The truth of the matter is, that non-human animals have always played a significant role in our lives and archaeological findings are proof of that. These days, our furry friends might live in our houses, at farms or gardens, but regardless of their contribution to our society, they mean us no harm and they surround us with love. Thus, we owe them protection and respect.

The most foreward regions of the world to come up with animal protection laws, were Ireland in 1635, that sought to regulate the treatment of sheep, and Massachusetts Bay Colony, which regulated against cruelty towards domestic animals. In 1992, Switzerland becomes the first country that includes the protection of animals in its constitution. Five years later, in 1997, the European Union adds to the European Community Treaty an appendix on the Protocol of Animal Protection. The international law for the treatment and rights of animals has evolved considerably, and even though it varies from country to country, non-human animals have started to be protected against cruel lab experiments, cosmetic testing, direct physical violence, the sale and manufacturing of fur, depriving animals of freedom for shows and touristic purposes, caging and breeding animals, etc. The reality that each and every one of us should acknowledge is that non-human beings are sentient beings that deserve to live amongst us as equal beings, protected and loved.

Now, let’s direct our attention to Romania and to the defective system of animal protection. First of all, the laws are only valid for and refer to abandoned and stray DOGS, without any of mention of other stray animals. Secondly, up until this year, there was no specific authority for the protection of our companions, cases of cruelty and mistreatment of animals being directed to the local police force. Needless to say, fining or punishing the psychopaths or the careless individuals that hurt animals in any way whatsoever, is not a priority or never happens at all. Apparently, a separate Animal Police Force has been officialy established, but until we can rely on them,we should all do our best for the animals on the street and for all the animals that we come in contact with. I mean, how can two veterinarians in the police force manage all cases of animal cruelty and mistreatment in one entire county? That’s if they have the intention of doing their job at all. Meanwhile, stay strong animal lovers! For the others, let’s solve the problem of stray dogs and cats, neuter our furry friends, cooperate with legit NGOs (do your research beforehand), work with fellow animal lovers, be kind to animals and help those in need find a forever home. If you can’t or won’t do any of the above, at least don’t do any harm to non-human animals, who have been our companions for millenia.

Respect and love animals, save animals and in order to decrease the number of stray animals, neuter, neuter, neuter!

Word Doodling

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A canvas is the rationalizing, patronizing 

Tool of a tool of an artist of his hands

Of his form as artist, of his copy of the copy

Of the fake of the fake

As Plato might say, of something real 

In heaven.

But what would a canvas look like

In heaven? 

 

Ideas, just ideas of thoughts, of randomness

Ideas of questions, never answered

Forever questioning philosophy

Ideas that give rise to things big and small. 

What is a chair? 

I am philosophizing in class

But the world outside 

Is full of reproach. 

Why? Forever questioning, forever wondering

The mental issue of the privileged

The higher concern of those…

“Distinct from animals”

My philosophy professor said:

– Without critical thinking

Constant questioning, a.k.a philosophy 

We are like animals!

Or dead, not worth living. 

I beg to disagree

I wish to disagree. 

An animal is not a lesser being.

People concerned with the material

Might do so to survive.

It is a choice, 

to do philosophy or not 

to see the purpose of philosophy or not.

A dog is a dog of the shape of the copy

Of a painting of the absurd of a dog of a question

Philosophy is a 

privileged person’s CONCERN. 

P.S: I, too, philosophize. 

 

I wanted to describe my country in words…

But I can’t. There is so much rage and frustration inside of me that my words would be just foolish, full of hate and no smart insights. I could write a book analyzing the political situation of Romania, the sociocultural background of the country that influences the mentality of the people, but in the end I would sum up everything by saying that this country embarrasses the EU. The most adequate adjective for the country is corrupt. And don’t get me wrong…the geographical position, the natural environment, the long-lost hospitality of people and the dying traditional arts, crafts and customs were great. Things worth loving or liking in Romania disappear rapidly with each passing day. So, nowadays, I hate this country because I hate its people. Some might condemn me and say that I am not patriotic. A lot of people will probably consider me a shame to my own country because I had the courage to state that I hate it. But guess what? I don’t mind. I am a citizen of the world, a simple human being that does not care about its nationality. And ironically enough, I’ve been treated and welcomed better in other countries I’ve lived in. The fact that I was born in Romania does not mean I should be devoted to a place just because it happened to be my birthplace. I didn’t choose it and I am allowed to criticize it and feel the way I do about it.

However, I won’t get into soliloquies here and I will let pictures describe the grim situation. One more thing, why are things the way they are? Because what is rotten comes from people’s inside. The top men and women of the country, ‘le creme de le creme’ are fucking corrupt, thieves with no scruples, illiterates with no kindness or consciousness. Money and materialism rule this country. Everyone else is simply not courageous enough to stand up to what is wrong. Incessant complaints, but no action. People want a top-down change, but the reality is that this country needs brave people who will slowly affect and bring positive changes through bottom-up approaches.

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Soil pollution exactly near big villas. Ok, let’s say you don’t care about the environment, but not giving a shit about how horrible the landscape is just outside of your house? It’s literally visually disturbing.

Impossible…but well, people in Romania live in their own bubbles….an allien invasion or public whipping of school children might happen just outside their houses and they wouldn’t give a damn.

 

Massive illegal deforestation that has been going on since the 1989 revolution. Wakey wakey, who cares about the resources of the country, about the oxygen, the balance of humans and nature, the ongoing climate change? And yeah, I care more about trees, animals and nature because they are kind and never consume more than they need for their own sustenance.

 

Lovely view for any traveler who wants to relax near the river or in the forest. Ha ha, what a brilliant joke! But who cares? I mean, people go camping and they leave tons of garbage behind and throw plastic bottles and remains in the water. Isn’t it disheartening for them and other travelers? Gosh, and they judge Roma people for living and indulging in dirt. But are they better? Nope…And I won’t even mention the environmental aspect of the whole situation. Imagine how annoying it is for environmentalists to see  dumped plastic, which isn’t even biodegradable. How much more efficient would be to recycle all those poor plastic bottles!

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If you are not rich enough or you don’t have caring, ‘loaded’ relatives to pay for your hospitalization and treatment in a private hospital you will end up in a public hospital that looks like this. And let’s not talk about Bucharest or other big cities…they might have a few better hospitals, but the rest of the country is lucky enough to even have these shitholes. People get more and more sick under these disturbing circumstances by breathing unhealthy air and by being in an unsanitary environment where germs spread with the speed of light. And let’s add to these some grumpy nurses who act like they are the queens of the hospital and the patients are beggars. And doctors who never explain anything to you and dismiss any questions you might have.

 

How do old people fare? Not much better, they have ridiculously low pensions and struggle to survive by any means possible. These old people are the ones who vote and would even sell their souls (not to mention their political votes) for some extra cash or food.

P.S: Dead people and Romanian expats from all over the globe vote in Romania in their home cities!  I knew that Romanian people believe in spirits and ghosts, but to go as far as making them vote?

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Poor Roma people. Everyone complains that they are thieves by nature and that they should be exterminated (ha ha, of course there are a lot of wannabe Hitlers in Romania, they would enjoy an ethnic cleansing).

What a lot of human beings who live in Romania associate with Roma people: “They love and indulge in their shitty, dirty, full of garbage environments.” But no one actually takes into account the fact that society pushes these people into miserable slums and that they have no choice or opportunity to improve themselves and opt out of stealing, begging and rat-like living conditions. The areas where they live have no current electricity, water or heating, no sewage systems and cities nearby dump their trash next to the houses of these ‘guilty to be born in Roma communities’.

Hey, kids, you are the future of this country! That’s it if you make it past teenagehood without becoming drug addicts, homeless, construction workers, illiterate, part of illegal prostitution networks or tortured physically or psychologically by foster parents or in orphanages.

strazi-pamant-noroi-1-Copy03 Grigorescu (mare)autostrada

People love buying expensive cars that stand for their material wealth and social status in society. But when it comes to roads and highways….let me tell you that everyone should use off-road vehicles.

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paragina

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The arhitecture of the country is amazing, full of spirit and decaying day by day. We have more architects than buildings in despair. However, they don’t have jobs or work in boring projects or they migrate to China because those people build a lot. And our outstanding old buildings might collapse very soon. Preservation of heritage? That’s considered heretical in Romania.

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Can you believe that Bucharest, a city of approximately 1 870 000 inhabitants, is as crowded during peak hours in the metro as Shanghai, a city of 24 000 000 people? Hell, no. Not to mention the insalubrious conditions and falling down fragments of cement at train and metro stations.

This part hurts me the most and shows me how inhuman some people in Romania are. I really wish we had a police force that concentrated on protecting all animals at any cost. For example, bears’ paws are considered a delicacy and natural furs are paraded by stylish women with no principles. I won’t comment further because animals in this country have no rights. Their lives and freedom are in danger constantly. This country is a human jungle where both people and animals suffer alike.

Animal Kingdom!

 

Life Goal: Open an amazing animal sanctuary for rescued buddies in need called ‘Animal Sanctuary’

 

Do we all love furry, fluffy, small softies? A pupper, a kitty, a bunny, any living, breathing animal that is naturally adorable and in comparison to fellow human beings does not talk gibberish, is sincere and lacks complications. As a companion or as a free being roaming about  our surrounding habitats, animals represent for me the ultimate sacred thing: I respect them, love them and wish to protect them at any cost. Thus, I am a strong supporter of animal rights and I believe that each country should have laws that protect animals, should have proper shelters for abandoned souls and animals in need, should have a police force encharged with the safety of animals  (like ASPCA  in the U.S.) and education for children and adults alike on how to treat and respect our lovely friends who give us nothing but love.

But, unfortunately the should I mentioned above is more like a best case scenario. In reality, society is overflowed with cases of mistreated animals, with human beings who hate animals, who don’t understand them or who are scared of them. It is all around us. Directly in the media or in the invisible web of information that flows through a city’s veins in poor, developing countries that care not for our furry friends, but for the development of their economy at any cost.  In veiled, isolated cases and in subtle informational layers of connoisseurs groups in well off countries. It is distressing to see that happening.

A few weeks back I had a revelation concerning my future goals. I would like to make my own start-up, a shelter that will function as a social enterprise. It will be a safe haven for rescued dogs, cats, bunnies, mini pigs, hamsters and so on. I imagine it to be an amazing colorful space full of pillows, shelves, books, toys, bones, snacks, small obstacle courses for animals. They will sleep comfortably there on soft mattresses, play, enjoy life and have a huge adjacent garden or forest to wander through and run around. Of course, the end purpose of the shelter will be to find loving families to adopt the animals. In order to raise the funds to feed the animals, buy toys, vaccinate them and take them to the vet I will offer animal training services, I will run a small animal cafe, produce handmade animal themed objects, offer day visits to people who want to play and caress animals for a certain cost and sell toys and food for animals. All the ensuing profit will go to rescuing animals and creating an excellent huge common shelter home for them.

How did I realize I want to do this? First of all, I love animals so much that I become miserable when I see them lonely, unloved or mistreated. And the more I live the more I see this happening all around me. In Romania, dog shelters are vile. They barely have any space, dogs are infested with ticks, flees and suffer from various health problems. On top of that they have no toys, they hardly get fed and when they do, the food is some leftover dry bread crust soaked in water. To top that they get no affection and no space to play or to enjoy their lives.

In Shanghai there is no actual physical shelter so all the rescued animals go to individuals who are willing to them for some limited time. Thus, a lot of them are left on the street, in bushes, in garbage collection areas because there aren’t enough people who are good-hearted enough or who wish to ‘burden themselves’ with these poor souls in need of help. Another problem are the so-called animal cafes in Shanghai.  I visited one recently and I was shocked. Why? Because these animals (dogs, cats, hamsters, one bunny, birds) were exploited for the sake of making private profits and they utterly were neglected. They were extremely dirty and they lived in small confined spaces. These animals are used and they have no say in it. After I felt sorry for a small Corgie who had accumulated  ear fulls of cerumen, I offered to clean his ears to the waiters/ animal caretakers of the cafe. My proposition was refused.

Two years ago in Shanghai I faced a situation when I thought that my anger would burst and I would punch a man in the face. Why? Because he was using a monkey on a tight rope leash to make money out of passersby who were allowed to touch or play with the monkey for a few yuan.

Another stomach churning instance was finding out that some pet shops in Shanghai offer boarding for animals for the ridiculous amount of 10 euros per night for caging your companion in a space where he or she doesn’t have any other option then to sleep. These spaces are horrendous and they look like insanitary basements with animal excrements flowing on the floor, disgusting smells and defecation in cages or trolleys where they leave some of the animals awaiting assistance. What is more, they also sell some pets such as dogs, cats, fish, hamsters and Guinea pigs. When I was inspecting the place I noticed 4 small white hamsters and a dead one lying belly up with an open raw wound in a terrarium. It looked like it had been there for at least one day. The puppies were begging to be touched and played with and their eyes said: ‘Take me home, take me out of this hell’. I am crying out loud…what does it take to put in an extra bit of effort and make sure these animals live a comfortable life and enjoy it? But well, in China, in Romania and in many other places on Planet Earth people care more about making money and they would do anything for it, even exploiting and mistreating animals to reach their objectives. I feel like shouting and protesting, but it might be in vain. It is a battle I would lose on a global scale, but I can start my own initiative in the future and make sure I contribute to a lot of animals being rescued and treated properly at least on one point on the world map.

P.S: Let’s all fight together and do everything in our power to improve the livelihoods of animals and our friendly companions. Let’s treat them as we would our friends, family and other human beings…..with compassion, empathy, love, kindness, care and support.

And here’s my beloved Osho, pampered by being called at times: Oshi Boshi.

Oshi