I’m reading Gabrielle Bernstein’s latest book, The Judgment Detox. I’m probably one of the most judgmental people you’ll ever meet; I judge myself as hard as I do anyone else.
Judging Thy Neighbor
I have neighbors who let their dogs off leash. The dogs are sometimes outside without supervision, on a busy street. There have been occasions where the dogs have been returned to their humans from lots or driveways across the street. The neighbors, on these occasions, commented that they hadn’t realized their dogs were missing.
Unsurprisingly, one of the dogs was hit and killed by a car. I was furious as I watched the police put up a cone and redirect traffic. The reaction from my neighbors? Replace him with two more dogs, continue negligent behavior. I judge them every time I see one of their (now three) dogs sniffing the grass. I’m terrified that there will be a repeat rundown of someone.
Judging Thy Acquaintances
Recently, someone I know on social media mentioned their dog had been injured. Several people advised the dog needed to be seen by a vet. His behavior suggested he was in pain; his human’s account implied broken bones.
The dog died with no medical intervention. “He would have been put down anyway.” The human wanted no negative reactions. A new dog is being considered for the family.
I don’t know if it’s my experience with the neighbors, activist burnout, the ASPCA commercial currently on my tv, or a combination of these things, but I am horrified. When my judgment spiral had me wanting to call this person’s local animal shelter to beg them not to let another animal into their care, I stepped away from my feed.
Judging The System
Companion animals are at the mercy of their guardians. If said guardians can’t/won’t speak for or act for these animals, they shouldn’t bring them into their homes. And yet, it happens everyday. There are some great organizations that take care in researching their prospective adopters. But there are millions of homeless animals who need a home, and resources are scarce when waiting for the perfect forever home.
Still, we continue to breed dogs and cats – in puppy mills or in “reputable” breeding businesses – when there’s an overpopulation of them, homeless or in kill shelters, who don’t get a second look.
I am judging us as a society. Please stop looking at animals as “less than” or as things. They deserve better. They deserve safety from busy streets, medical care when hurt, advocacy when treated badly, and homes instead of cages.
They also don’t judge humans for all of the injustices done to them. And so, once again, I’m reminded that I can better serve this cause by being a bit more like those I want to speak for. Less judgment. More love. May 2018 bring us all closer to it.
Love photo: Susanne Nilsson
Dog with leash photo: OCVA