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!

Down on Earth

Down on Lonely Avenue

I tripped

On a hell of a shell

And I fell

Me, an urban hippie

My floral gown, ripped…

Down in the void

A misfit, a rugged bearded man

Escaping, condemning society, materialism

Created his den

An onion, maybe ten

Layers and layers of Zen

Down on Lonely Avenue

My bloody knees

I lost my keys!

I might even have a kidney disease

Please… freeze, or maybe sneeze

To be accident-prone used to be fun

Like a pun

Now, it’s just a bull run.

Down in the void

I try to hold my own

Away from it all

At times, a Buddha in my soul

Seldom, as mad as Sigmund Freud

It’s quiet and free

under this Banyan tree

It’s lonely

only me and the green tea.

Down on Lonely Avenue

I crawl on concrete

I almost lost my wit

Everyone’s laughing at my outfit

My pain, my care

I wanted to transmit

Yet… the masses only perceive

that my cardigan is vintage and double- knit

Down in the void

The retired fellow

On a pension scheme

Of one and a half marshmallow

Banished himself and his cello

to this world of mellow

down bellow.

He renounced the sun

and all of its yellow.

Down on Lonely Avenue

The cruel with all their expensive fuel

Invaded the street

Their feet clad in meat

They bargain and tweet

I admit my defeat

Descend in the void

Oh, wonder!

Who is this other humanoid?

The panic wave

 

Hear, hear

The king of panic and fear!

it’s Monday

or Sunday

or maybe Friday

the days have departed

a mighty routine started

hours and hours,

and weeks,

a month of bacteria

no cafeteria

a deserted city

there isn’t even a kitty

a bleak soul,

Disinfect each and every bowl

breathe in, breathe out

the virus outside!

This auspicious year

has spread only fear!

Hear, hear

only time can heal.

The elusive Chronos…

he, alone, knows

how itchy is the nose.

The mask speaks

the skin’s so dry

bleach, wash, sanitize

don’t forget your eyes!

Did you order pies?

you better have some spies

if there is fever

you become a receiver.

The apocalypse, sci-fi

ghost towns, the future

Like in the movies

It’s almost quarantine

except it really is…

in Wuhan.

There’s no one around

no peace of mind to be found

Tell me, seer

all these folks

with all their jokes

were they to eat an iris

would it kill the coronavirus?

Word Doodling

Philosophy-will-make-you-rich

 

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. 

 

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