Thursday, October 17, 2013

On Being Kind To Animals

"We have enslaved the rest of the animal creation, and have treated our distant cousins in fur and feathers so
badly that beyond doubt, if they were able to formulate a religion, they would depict the devil in human form."- William Ralph Inge -

As many of you have noticed, I take a lot of photos of animals. I do it every chance I get; it is one of my favourite photography themes.


I love animals deeply, and I am very sensitive about them. When I was a child, I used to cry when animals on TV shows or in movies were injured. And never mind the devastation I felt if one of them was killed.


Fast forward to the present and not much has changed. I’m still left shaken when animals face tragic outcomes in movies, television shows, even books.


And that’s fictional settings. Imagine how I feel about animals being intentionally hurt in real life.


Stories of animal abuse leave me disturbed. I am unable to look at photographs or read news articles relating to such news. And I absolutely never watch videos that depict that.


This sensitivity towards animals is becoming more profound as I get older, and as I spend more and more time photographing them.


I cannot understand how anyone can be intentionally cruel to an animal. It is beyond me.


We share this world with other living creatures that have as much right to be here as we do.


I believe that if we can be kind to animals, and respectful and empathetic to all living things, we will ultimately be more compassionate with one other.

39 comments:

  1. I love the picture of the Scarlet Macaw and the frog :)

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    1. They are both such beautiful creatures. I don't get to see Macaws often, but there are plenty of frogs around. They just sit and let you photograph them. I get very close and they don't budge. On one hand, I love that I'm able to do that. On the other, I always worry that some moron will hurt one of them.

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  2. Martha, I am in complete agreement with you. I have always been that way myself. I used to go out of my way to help any animal in need. I would go out to the road after it rained to pick up all the worms before the bus would come down to pick us up for school. I would be so shaken up because I knew I couldn't save all of them. If someone was being cruel to an animal, insect, any living creature, it would tear me up so badly and I would always step in. to this day I am the same way. I cannot watch it in movies, I cannot look at those photos or hear the news of it or read about it. It just kills me to think of. I don't understand it at all, either. One of my son's friends was quickly dropped from our circle when we saw him being intentionally mean to one of our cats for "fun" and that same day my son had seen him throwing rocks at his chickens to make them cluck and jump and fly. We cannot understand that at all and we cannot be friends with someone like that at all. It makes no sense whatsoever. I love your photography and I myself love taking photos of animals, too. They are amazing and beautiful as are your photos. Since I started reading your blog I've really come to like you and respect you more and more. You're a beautiful person and a sensitive one and I think that makes you very special. Brightest blessings, Bird

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    1. Bird, thank you for that! That is so nice what you said. You made me all teary-eyed. I have the same impression of you and that's why I am so happy that you are back in the blogging world. You are clearly a very sensitive and compassionate individual, and although it is a wonderful thing for the world (we need more people like that), it is exhausting and stressful on a personal level. I feel empathy in many ways, but I am particularly weak when it comes to animals. If I am exposed to situations of any type of animal abuse/cruelty or become aware of it, I get emotionally sick for hours, days, weeks, etc. I can't seem to handle it. I feel like my heart is being carved in pieces. Perhaps it's because animals are so helpless, so much at our mercy, or so unsuspecting of our ruthlessness. I don't know. All I know is that I am devastated by it. Let's hope the world grows more and more humane from one generation to the next. I have taught my children to respect and be compassionate with animals. They are wonderful with them. And I hope they will pass this on to their own children should they have any. Thank you again, Bird. Be well.

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  3. Yeah, no kidding their depiction of Satan would be in human form. We deserve it.

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    1. We certainly do, Debra. And it's a shameful thing.

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  4. Martha, I am always amazed at the clarity and crispness of your photos. They are really well done.
    I too am like yourself....I will absorb all that suffering of humans and animals. I have learned to be careful about what I expose myself to. Sometimes, especially when I was younger, it would be very overwhelming.
    I have read somewhere that people like us are called 'sponges'....in the best of ways.

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    1. Yes, that is it, Jim! I had never heard the term 'sponges', so I looked it up. And voila! That explains it. That absolutely explains why our personality types enjoy the company of animals so much. We tend to have a deep connection with them because of our sensitivity. Animals sense our compassion, and they certainly appreciate it. When I'm out in the country, the animals come over to say hello as soon as I start walking towards them. I speak softy to them, and when I feel I have their permission, I pet them. It's a beautiful moment. My heart just swells up and I feel like I've connected with them. I always feel like there's a special energy around us, and I guess I'm not wrong. It's not just my imagination. And I always wonder how anyone could hurt them. That's the good side of it; that we connect with them. The bad is that we are emotionally beat up at times because of this sensitivity. But, I'd rather that than to be a heartless person.

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  5. I am also hurt emotionally when I see animals die in fiction. Especially dogs

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    1. I know exactly what you mean! It's emotionally draining.

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  6. I am so with you in this thinking Martha ~~ I've had a dog by my side since I was 5 years old ~~ I can still feel the texture of her fur, smell her essence and see the look in her eyes 58 years later. Animals make me feel whole and as Jim has often said 'Animals love Ron, just watch them when they come near him'. I've noticed this interaction over the years and when I come in contact with an unfamiliar animal like a goat or even a horse I'm very wary but all of the sudden I'm just fine. I understand and I feel calm. To harm an animal goes firmly against my beliefs ~~ I even remove them from my FB newsfeed if I see them. I can't handle it either. We live a stone throws away from the salt marsh and it's hunting season. I hear at 7 am gun shots ~~ every year I am always shocked into reality knowing that some jerk/ Neanderthal is over-testosteroned disrupting the ducks as they migrate south. I am going on I know, but you have a hit a chord with me. Psst~~love the clarity of your photos today. I need some super help in that field lately. Maybe you should give us a class ~~ interested? Ron

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    1. Well, we certainly are twins for that, Ron! My husband says the same thing about the animals...that they love me. That's why he likes to take photos of me and them along country roads. I speak to these animals that I encounter, and pet them if they let me, and I swear I can almost feel what they feel, practically hear what they're thinking. The energy between us is beautiful. I am convinced that I bond with them. They make me feel calm and happy. Being around them is uplifting. Animals do not upset me. It's people that stress me out..hahaha!

      Oh those hunters... Last weekend, I was hearing gun shots when we were out in the country. I can't tell you how upset I was. I felt like my heart was being carved up as I imagine which animals were being hunted, the fear they felt, pain, etc. On one hand, I was trying to enjoy the autumn colours and the animals I was seeing along the way, and on the other I was feeling disturbed and unbalanced by the hunting. How is any of that fair when the animal is helpless. Give the animals some ammunition and make it more balanced! Ugh...

      I am flattered by your comment of my photos because I LOVE your photography. And me, the amateur, teach you something! That is something. But I guess we can all learn from each other in one way or another. I still have such a long way to go, and it seems there's always something new to learn. But it's fun. I don't think I've ever enjoyed any hobby as much as I've enjoyed photography. It certainly gets me outside to enjoy Mother Nature; my favourite place to be. Anyhow, if there's something I can help with, I would love to! Not sure what I can offer when your photos are so wonderful, but whatever I can, I'm happy to do so. I'm hoping that when I feel more confident and comfortable with my work, I can share some of what I've learned over time on this blog.

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    2. Psst ~~ reading the RAW link you sent me....here goes!!

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    3. Enjoy! It's a great magazine. I'm sure you'll learn so many new things.

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  7. beautiful photos, you have to watch this video I just received, right on topic!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jkJdGklw8Dk&feature=youtube_gdata_player

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    1. Christine.... that is beautiful! I just shared on Facebook... sniff ;)

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    2. Oh my goodness, Christine! That has to be the most amazing thing I've ever watched. So young and yet so wise. What a beautiful soul this child has. Made me all teary-eyed. From the mouths of babes... Thank you for sharing this.

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  8. Martha, I felt/feel the same way. I couldn't watch Lassie… Old Yeller? oh, man! I was in bed for weeks over that … not to mention Bambi…

    I have traumatic animal stories … I wrote about Rocky (my calf) on my blog a couple of years ago… I was surrounded by dogs and cats and birds and pigs and chickens and whatever else there was around.

    I don't like a lot of the early Westerns … like John Wayne's films … the horses and cattle! I don't like rodeos.. only went to one and that was that… went to one bullfight in Mexico …. and let me tell you! I almost threw up… I left… horrible

    As always … your pictures are stunning….

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    1. I loved Lassie! Never missed an episode. Cried like a baby that time she got lost and had to find her way home. And the little boy was burying he toys and stuff when he gave up and thought she was dead. Then she came running over the hill and the way they embraced had me crying like a baby. I still get teary-eyed thinking about it, and I'd probably cry again if I watched that episode. And as for Old Yeller...I watched it a few years ago...again...and again couldn't handle it. Never mind, Bambi...let's not even go there. Sweet, darling Bambi...sniff...

      So many terrible things going on in this world with these poor creatures. I just can't stand it. It really traumatizes me.

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  9. I love that quote by William Ralph Inge. It says so much. I find it easier to watch human cruelty other then animal cruelty. I just cant go there. They are so defenceless and trusting.

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    1. I am the same way, Lisa. I cannot handle any type of animal cruelty. They are so innocent and trusting.

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  10. If I could add to this ...we also need to care for the habitat these animals survive in or they suffer more abuse.

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    1. Oh yes! We absolutely have to care for their habitat. We destroy their homes, and many of them are becoming extinct because of it. We must do better.

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  11. Oh, Martha, I agree with you totally! It hurts me to the core to know that animals are abused. I hate to see "nominal" ownership of animals, where the "owners" rarely pay attention to their pets and leave them to roam the streets. I can't watch animal cruelty in movies/on TV either. I have been trying to think of what I can do to help.

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    1. You are already helping, Tina, by being kind and compassionate toward them. Yes, we can certainly do more, but if we're sensitive about their needs, we're already taking the most important first step.

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  12. that's another reason I know you are this beloved amazing soul Martha. A person who is kind to animals is a person with morals and a good heart.

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    1. Ana, thank you for that! That is very sweet. I happen to think that you are a beautiful soul. Perhaps one day we'll be fortunate enough to meet. It would be an honour for me :)

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  13. Martha, I share your sentiments on animals.
    You are a special soul, Martha.
    I love, love all your photos.
    They are beautiful, like you!

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  14. Dear Martha,
    Your love for animals come shining through your photos of them.
    What about "Old Yeller" or "Bambi"? Oh boy, you better believe I cried at those!
    Regarding your quote at the beginning of this post, there was a sign at the zoo in Atlanta, that when you turned the corner, it told you to peek around and see the world's most dangerous animal...it was a mirror, of course.

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    1. Wow, Kay, that mirror thing is quite something! So terribly true, too. I bet some people were surprised by it.

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  15. I am with you a 100% it hurts to see domestic and wild animals, birds, bears, tigers, any kind it hurts me down deep to my soul...I can't eat meat, anymore, their despair gets to me more than just about anything...and the photos are beautiful xxx

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    1. Thanks, Lorraine. You are a sensitive soul. We need more people like that in this world.

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  16. I have no problem imposing the death penalty for people who abuse animals.

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  17. very thoughtful post Martha, and couldn't agree more! I am so upset when I hear news about mistreated animals. It is so senseless and cruel

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    1. It really is senseless and cruel. How anyone can hurt the more vulnerable is beyond me.

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  18. There is this show named something like animal hoarders or something like that. I cannot watch even a second of that show. Just can't do it.

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    1. Oh, that is horrible! I think I've heard of it. I'm not sure. But I also wouldn't be able to watch even a second of it!

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