Shelter Stories:

A Mr.Frisky Blog

Keeping it Real - The Erosion of Compassion

in a 15 Minutes of Fame Facebook Culture

We are in the era of ultra polictical correctness. Ensuring no hurt feelings is more important than taking responsibility for immoral, unethical, irresponsible, compassionless, or illegal actions.

Knock over art worth $200,000 cause you just have to pose like Kim K in the ultimate selfie, and it's OK. After all, we wouldn't want to upset the selfie taker; who cares about the poor artist's hard work you've destroyed in the name of you own vanity. And we definitely don't want someone to feel bad for abandoning that dog or cat. Everyone should think every selfish, self absorbed act they take is wonderful; they're a great person regardless of who they hurt. In fact, let's give them a trophy after they neglect that animal so they don't feel bad. 

Feelings, and the public image people so carefully craft on Facebook is far more important than the welfare of a dependent animal that needs medical care, food, water, shade, and comfort. I know, I'm on a rant.
Here's why:

This blog comes after being reached out to by yet another person who, rather than teach their child the meaning of commitment and compassion, chose to teach them that if you're bored with something, dump it - there's nothing at all wrong with that and you should only be concerned with your own happiness. I have to wonder if in the future, when that same parent is elderly and dependent and in a rest home (because the child would not take them in due to the commitment level required), wondering why their child is always too busy to come see them or help them, if they will put two and two together as to what they taught that child so long ago about responsibility, ethics, commitment and compassion.

Probably not. Ignorance and irresponsibility are not only failing to disappear, they are growing in presence. 

I am finally realizing that Save Them All isn't just making all shelters no-kill; in fact those shelters would have to possess unlimited funds and unlimited space unless we first solve ignorance and irresponsibility. Save them All is also more than just adding Spay Neuter and Adopt Don't Shop to that equation. Its teaching compassion, and the fundamental ethics regarding commitment; a pet is a living thing, not an ipad.

This alarming but clear trend towards less compassionate and more self absorbed (in addition to total lack of taking responsibility for one's actions) is an inevitable result of a Facebook and "15 minutes of fame" culture. The vulgar "cash me" girl gets more money and support than an animal shelter who recently suffered a devastating fire. It's more important to spend an hour taking a perfect picture of your ass for Instagram, then spending that hour doing something for your pet, a shelter animal or shelter staff.

I am beginning to realize those of us helping, and those of us who do the right thing with their own pets, are too small in number against the legions who instead spend their hours and money following celebrity or wannabe celebrity twits on social media. When will we shift to a culture that teaches families, friends, and children that "do the right thing" is more than just a cool Nike slogan and something to hashtag on their snapchat? That it is actually is totally cool to spay neuter, volunteer, commit to that animal for life. Maybe we need to give them a trophy for doing those things, instead of just for breathing. When will we become a culture where we are obsessed with, and ardently follow, tireless shelter staff, volunteers, and those who do commit, who do help, versus honoring people for being able to contour? 

I really don't know how to end this blog, except to ask: when will it change?

When we make it change.

When we take actions to change.

When we don't celebrate self-absorbtion with support in following and product purchase.

When we don't share that ridiculous viral video of a wannabe, and instead share a shelter in need.

No miracle is going to come along to shift this culture; each one of us has to make the change.

‚ÄčI suggest starting now.