All Lives Matter

by John Wesley

I have taken up the street animal cause here in Cairo, as you may know. (It has become a part-time job, really, since working from home.) I am in all the Facebook groups, and I’m in regular contact with the people on the front lines of the movement. I think at this point, I am even on the front lines. I am very ‘woke’ in this world.

A few days ago, someone posted a video of a kitten who had been hit by a car, and the person who posted it was hand-feeding the kitten as they filmed, and begging for advice on what to do. The comments that followed were pleas for people to act, and for those nearby (in the best positions to help) to do so quickly.

If you become part of this world, you will see an endless number of animals, literally a never-ending assembly line of heartbreak, and they are in varying degrees of distress and have an assortment of conditions. You will see dogs and cats with infections, deformities, and diseases; kittens and puppies requiring surgeries to save their eyes or their legs, animals who are full of worms or who have nasty wounds from fighting. It’s so, so overwhelming, and the obstacles to helping them all are impossible to overcome. They all need help, quickly, and there are simply not enough people who can help, who are available to help.

Some people donate money to the organizations who provide services. Some offer to foster. Some fundraise. Some offer their professional skills for free. Some people adopt the animals permanently. I do what I do, too, in my own way, but I never, ever feel like I’ve done enough.

What I don’t do is walk around my neighborhood deciding which animals are in the worst condition, or which ones are the hungriest, or the dirtiest, or which ones will probably bite me (all of them will), or which ones need the most attention the quickest. I don’t get to pick the animals who are the prettiest, or the friendliest, or the ones who will most easily be adopted, and I don’t get to decide which animals get to demand most of my attention. I just try to help them all. I do what I can, the moment I can, as fast as I can, for all the animals I can. I walk around the neighborhood almost everyday with heavy bags of food, water, gloves, antibiotic ointment, and tissues and gauze, and sometimes apples and carrots for pitiful-looking donkeys who shouldn’t be out in this heat. I never know what I might run across, so I try to be ready for almost anything.

And I guess that’s the best way I know how to explain why I believe in the All Lives Matter message more than I believe in anything else, as it applies to human beings. When people say it is a selfish stance to take, or that I am a huge jerk for believing this, or than I am being dismissive of people who need my help, or that I am in denial of my racial bias, or that I am being tone deaf, I just keep reminding myself that I’m doing ok. Like the animals who indiscriminately need my help, I am also multitasking within the human rescue shelter, too.

I do believe that black lives matter. Of course I do! And all the other ones do, too, to me, everyday. It’s not canned activism. I’m doing the work. I can handle more than one cause at a time. I can help more than one group at a time. I can get behind more than one movement at a time. We all can. If you have been criticized for stating that you also, *right now*, believe in the injustice other races, religions and cultures are experiencing, let me be the one to tell you that what you believe in is good, too. There is a place for all of us who want to help, in as many ways as we can.

I challenge you…Pick THREE causes you can get behind. Why limit yourself to just one? Friends, there are lots to choose from. For me…I am eyeballs deep with the street animals, I am very, very emotionally invested in fighting FGM here in Egypt, and I have decided to do much more to seek justice for Breonna Taylor. Three pretty important and diverse interests for an old American white lady, I think. Now…time to go see who needs me today.


Christmas Puppy

PC: Instagram @flixaddiction

You’ve had your new Christmas puppy about, what, a week now? His puppy breath still smells delicious and he’s small enough to pick up and carry around like a baby, for just a little while longer. But you can say it, to me, because I already know. Your puppy honeymoon is over. His adorableness is now measured with mild aggravation because he is essentially a 10-pound wrecking ball. I get it. I’ve been there many times. Read more

Murphy’s Leash Law

A lady in a bathing suit and a coverup trudged through the hot sand and brought him two huge plates of food. The first one had a mountain of steamed shrimp, fried snapper, mac-n-cheese, hushpuppies and cheese biscuits. A little bit after that she brought over a literal stack of grilled hotdogs, backyard burgers with all the fixins and potato salad. “Here you go, Shuga. I hope you’re hungry. You sure are a sweet boy.”

A little while before that, another woman had already walked over to him with her hands on her hips. “Sir!” she said. “YOUNG MAN! Can you please tell me what the animal regulations are on this beach?”

“There aren’t supposed to be any animals on the beach, ma’am.”

“Well! That’s precisely what I thought!” And then she asked that nice young lifeguard to march right over and tell those other people to remove their dog from the beach immediately.

He did. Kind of.

Sort of.

But not really….. Read more

Bob’s Dog Boo

Photo Credit: D. Quarles. Pictured: Boo and Scout, 2012.

My yellow dog, Scout, has kept me hopping this week as I surgically cured him of the bellyache he created for himself by eating a ball that was absolutely not meant for consumption. It was wickedly expensive. Carpets have needed to be cleaned, if you know what I mean. He must now wear the cone of shame and eat specially prepared chicken and rice for ten days (my God, the cooking I’ve had to do!). I can’t ground him or lecture him or anything because he has absolutely no recollection of eating that ball, and because, well, he is a dog.

Plus, he probably didn’t even notice it was a ball when he ate it because he only swallows. He never chews or savors or tastes anything.

Jeez. Labs. Read more

My Dog Stinks and Other Reasons You Can’t Come Over

PC: Instagram @brittany_sherwood

The app on my phone says I have 7 days, 8 hours, 54 minutes, and 4 seconds left before I go back to work for the new school year. I definitely have mixed emotions about this. On one hand, my favorite (ok, only) son is a freshman and will be with me every day all day at the same high school where I work now, and I never get tired of him being nearby. However, on the other hand, I’ve had a rather horrible summer [what with the dog deaths and dog bites that caused me straight-up heartache over the last two months].

Nevertheless, as I do every year during the months when I don’t have to report to work each day, I develop some really bad personal habits. By the time August rolls around, I begin to actively worry about the discomfort that 5:30 a.m. is going to bring me, so much so that now I’m not even sleeping well at all; the stress of my backwards and excessive sleeping habits weighing heavily on me. I mean, my circadian rhythms are on vacation, too. Don’t believe me? Here was my day yesterday: Read more