“Compassion for animals is intimately associated with goodness of character, and it may be confidently asserted that he who is cruel to animals cannot be a good man.” ― Arthur Schopenhauer, The Basis of Morality
One of the lessons that I learned early on as a child is that I always have a choice in my decisions. I could choose the path of good where I was following the rules and not doing what I wasn’t supposed to, or I could choose the path where I knew it was likely I would get into trouble but the one that would allow me to have fun… at least until my mother found out.
You’ve probably heard the terms optimist and pessimist used to describe you or others before. Optimists are people that stereotypically always look on the bright side, look for the positive in every situation and generally are seen as upbeat and positive. Pessimists are described as people who habitually see or anticipate the worst or are disposed to be gloomy. Ironically enough for me in my personal life as an IT Project Manager, I have been trained to be more pessimistic and look for the issues and challenges of projects; to seek out and find those hidden issues that have not been brought forward by the team and could lead to project failure.
However, in my personal life and my rescue animal transport service life, I have taken a much different approach wherein I am much more optimistic in my interactions with people I encounter. I must admit this is counterintuitive even to me to think that I have two different personas that I live within. My wife often tells me I’m in “work mode” which is a trigger to me to check my actions and approach and turn off that pessimistic project manager to let my true self shine through. “Work Chris” is often more pointed in his inquiries, and questioning in his style, whereas “Home Chris” is more supportive, kind and optimistic.
I believe in the good in people. I believe that people genuinely will do the right thing and that they have the best intentions when they begin something. It’s just that doing the right thing is not always the simplest and least frustrating way, especially when it comes to animal transportation. It’s much easier to buy an animal from a local breeder rather than to depend on an animal transport company or the freedom train to deliver a shelter pet across the country. Many will often tell me that they would adopt an animal if I can coordinate an animal rescue flight because they don’t want to wait or have to deal with the chance that a ground based rescue relay transport may not fill. This tendency for people to take the easy route may cause many in animal rescue to question the motive or intentions of potential adopters.
But I challenge you to stop, close your eyes, and think about the goodness in people instead of the negative tendencies. We hear stories day in and day out about mass shootings, terrorist attacks, wars and other horrifying acts of violence against people. Even in our daily commutes we experience road rage, aggressive drivers and people wanting to get ahead of us thus challenging our tendencies to be competitive and to win. When we are trying to get pets rescued, it’s easy to stick with our “work persona” and aggressively try and uncover the potential issues or liabilities a potential adopter may have. “What could they be hiding?” we think to ourselves. “Are they good enough for this dog or cat?” we may find ourselves asking.
Look for the good in people. Seek out the positive intent and be optimistic about their intentions. A great many people have a compassion for animals and goodness in their hearts.