Going Out of the Way To Care for Someone In Need

Letter to the Editor:

The year 2007 is here. St. John has had its ups and downs over the last couple of years. How can we improve our lives here in our community? We need to look ahead and try to bring all the people together for the good of all of us.

St. John is home for many different people and animals. We enjoy the island and all it has to offer us. As human beings, we have a good life here. I hope for the same for all our animals, too. I find enjoyment as I drive along the roads of St. John and see the various animals that we have here. I don’t mind sharing the road with cows, horses, donkeys, goats, sheep, pigs, iguanas, mongooses, chickens, dogs and cats. This is their island, too. Not just my island or your island, but their island as well.

You know, people and animals are not necessarily so different. We all feel pain, fear and loneliness as well as happiness. We all experience sickness and injuries, and good health if we are lucky. We all have the basic needs of food and water, of keeping warm when cold, of cooling down when hot, needing sleep, a place to get out of the bad weather, and companionship. We all need attention and caring from others.

People who are elderly, disabled or lonely benefit tremendously from pets. The medical profession has realized that animals can help people. Nursing homes and hospitals allow and encourage people to bring pets to their patients. The overall health for any of us includes our mind and soul, not just our bodies. Those people who need the most in physical help also need the most for their mental health. We all know that if we can improve our mental well-being, our physical health improves.

So, how do we make life better for all of us? I’m not talking about having more possessions, more vacations, etc., but making “life” better. I want more for the immediate generation and for the future ones. I want people to find peace and happiness and enjoy their lives, to have a day to day existence that is enjoyable and worthwhile. I think we could take a big step forward by realizing we are all in this world together, that we all need each other to improve life for all of us. None of us can survive without the help of others.

We also know that children learn responsibility, nurturing, and the skills that will enable them to be better citizens and parents themselves some day through association with their pets.

And, that includes the animals, too. How can we be happy if our animals aren’t cared for and safe? How are we going to make the animals of our world have a better life? We need to provide the basics for our animals. We can start with our own pets/livestock by making sure they have plenty of water available at all times. They need healthy food, and to be fed regularly as well. All animals need a place to get out of the sun, and out of the rain/wind. Whether they are in a fenced yard, tied to a tree or tied to a dog house, they need to be able to get away from the severe elements in order to be safe and comfortable, and to survive. Like all of us, they need exercise, enough room to stretch out and move around in a place that’s clean and comfortable.

But, besides requiring those basics, they need kindness, companionship and positive attention. Just as humans do.
It has come to my attention recently that we have people on St. John that use puppies, kittens and more timid animals as bait or teaser animals for the fighting dogs. We all know that dog fights are illegal, as they should be. However, the practice of dog fights and sacrificing puppies, kittens or more timid animals to promote fighting between dogs still goes on. This is offensive, barbaric and wrong! All forms of animal abuse are illegal and wrong.

Instead of teaching our children that this horrible treatment of animals is okay, that bullying and torture is fun, let’s show them how to treat others (people and animals) with respect and kindness. Let’s go out of our way, if need be, to care for someone who needs it. Let’s just go out there and show someone a little kindness. A few kind words, a helping hand and a smile go a long way.

Life should be more than causing pain and suffering to others, or living selfishly. It’s about living our lives to the fullest and helping others. We all need to live our lives with compassion and “heart,” for the animals as well as for people. I firmly believe life will be better for all concerned if we live our lives just that way.

Let’s make the year 2007 the start of a whole new world. A world that will be better, with more compassion and happiness for us all.

Jan Fielding