Of Cats and Dogs

By September 10, 2005General

As the finger-pointing over who’s to blame for the hurricane, the breaking of the levees, the leaky roof of the Super dome and all things Katrina-related reach a fever pitch, we spotted an ad – -presumably part of the frenzy — in today’s Washington Post. It is a three-quarter-page ad, a photo of an African-American man, up to his hips in water, with a headline that screams, “Betrayed By Our Government”.

“Hmmmm….”, we thought, “Better read on, see how this poor guy got betrayed by his government.” We raced to the punchline, where we saw the logo of PETA, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. We checked the picture again and sure enough, he’s holding a dog. The ad tells the story — apparently told on Oprah, so it’s automatically of shocking and newsworthy proportions — of this man who had to leave his 14 year-old dog in order to be rescued himself. Attention: No Dogs Were Injured in the Making of this Ad. Turns out, he was reunited with the dog a few days later. Whew! One less casualty to be broadcast on CNN.

A few pages later, on the op-ed page, is a piece by one Karen Dawn, described as an “animal advocate”, entitled, “Best Friends Need Shelter, Too”. In it, she waxes rhapsodic about the needs of “non-human family members.” If only the IRS would allow the deduction…

Look, we love our dogs and cats as much as the next animal advocate, but in the triage that is the aftermath of the hurricane, can we focus on saving the people, the humans, and rebuilding their homes and lives? Before we start adding four-legged fuel to the fire that is the frenzy of blame, let’s put the higher reasoning, free will, the opposable thumbs first, shall we?

Then let’s save the cats and dogs.