October 16, 2015

Oct. 16, 2015 Column

Keep A Caring Eye On Your Neighbors

Published in the Spokesman: August 2014
ANIMALISMS by: Liza C. Little

It was the middle of a snowstorm several years ago in Wheeler County that several horses, dogs, cats and sheep struggled to survive freezing temperatures with no food, water or shelter. Their owner, an elderly woman, had passed away in her home unnoticed for several weeks until a neighbor realized something was awry and called for help.

The 16 horses had knocked down fences trying to reach nearby hay. Many of the dogs and cats had either perished or become too ill to recover. Thanks to several caring people, many of the animals were rescued. A happy ending to a tragic situation. This type of story begs the question, are we paying enough attention to our neighbors, friends, even strangers that may need help, or even to our own needs? People can suddenly find themselves in precarious situations, whether they fall ill, lose their job, or are going through a major change in their lives. Others like the elderly, especially living in rural areas, get too old to care for themselves or the animals they loved and cared for – until something changed life as they knew it. 

People have a hard time reaching out for help for so many reasons. Some don’t want to bother anyone with their troubles or needs; some may be too prideful to admit they need the help, and others just feel hopeless. Very often the animals suffer along during these times. Sometimes all they may need is a little help during feeding time, or maybe a bit of extra hay. They may need something more like advice on what to do with their animals they can no longer care for and others may just need to know someone is there if needed. It’s amazing how a simple gesture of caring can turn spirits around to feeling life is again worth living. A warm smile, offering a helping hand around the property or house, sharing a cup of coffee, or suggesting to help care for a precious animal friend could do wonders. Not only does it help the animals that may be struggling at their owner’s expense but it can give a glimpse of hope to a person, a breath of fresh air to carry on.

None of us are true strangers. Each person and animal strives for companionship, love and friendship. If we have the courage to knock on a door and offer help it may give someone the courage to reach out and ask you for help. Isn’t that one of the purposes of living, to help one another along this grand adventurous journey called life? Look out for each other; keep a caring eye on your neighbors and on our animal friends, we all need each other to survive.

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