Just like the rest of the world, I have been grief stricken by the devastation continuing to unfold in New Orleans and other parts of the Gulf Coast. All eyes are on the human toll that is being exacted, but there is another equally disturbing story to be told. Thousands of pets are left stranded in flooded houses, on rooftops, on porches and on top of cars. Many people were not allowed to take their pets with them on rescue boats and helicopters, on buses and into shelters.
This is appalling!
These people have lost everything. Everything. There are many stories of people wading through toxic water up to their chest to get to shelters and rescuers, only to be told they cannot take their pets with them. Can you imagine leaving your pet behind to fend for itself, to starve and suffer the miserable death of dehydration?
Many people might read this and think I'm off my rocker. People come first, right? Here's my take on this deplorable situation: To be abundant is to celebrate and revere ALL life.
This is scarcity in the truest sense. This entire tragedy could have been prevented if politicians and city planners would have acted abundantly and rebuilt the levees to survive this kind of threat. They knew this was coming. They didn't want to invest the $14 billion it would take to do the job right. Instead, they acted from a scarcity mentality, which leaves us in the situation we are in right now.
Scarcity is all around us. But so is abundance. In the days ahead, I'm going to share stories of people acting abundantly in the face of this tragedy - people doing what they can, RIGHT NOW to help their fellow man (and animals). They are the true heros.
I urge you to support the critical work being done by too few in the Gulf Coast on behalf of animals; here are some rescue organizations that desperately need your help:
Humane Society www.hsus.org
Noah's Wish www.noahswish.org
Best Friends Sanctuary www.bestfriends.org
American Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals www.aspca.org
For tonight, I leave you with one of my favorite stories:
A man died and found himself walking along a dusty road. He wasn't alone, though. He was delighted when he realized that his favorite dog was trotting along beside him.
After a while, tired and thirsty, the pair came to an ornate gate, gilded with gold and precious gems. A neon sign proclaimed it to be heaven.
"Come on in and have a nice cold drink," the gatekeeper told the man.
"What about my dog?" the man asked.
"Sorry, he can't come in," the gatekeeper replied.
The man shook his head, whistled to his dog and the pair kept walking, getting thirstier by the minute.
Soon they came to another gate, this one not nearly so ornate. There was no polished gold, no sparkle of rubies and emeralds like the other one had, but inside, the man could see beautiful rolling fields of grass and flowers. Again, there was a gatekeeper who motioned him forward.
"Come on in and take a load off," the gatekeeper said. "We've got all the cool water you can drink."
"What about my dog?" the man asked.
"Oh, there should be a bowl right there beside the pump," the gatekeeper replied. "And when you two finish drinking, we'll get you both something to eat, too."
"What is this place?" the man asked.
"Why, this is heaven," the gatekeeper replied.
Shaking his head, the man asked if the gatekeeper didn't get mad about the gilded palace down the road claiming to be heaven.
"Nah," the angel replied. "They just help us to weed out those who would leave their best friends behind."
God bless all living things, two legged and four legged, in the Gulf Coast.