August 24, 2007

Renting Dogs?

Posted in companion animals, dogs, taste better at 12:28 pm by nevavegan

Just a quickie to comment on the recent story about a company that rents out dogs by the hour.

Many of us in the rescue/animal welfare/animal rights community have been upset by this story because it seems to reduce dogs to the level of other rented things–cars and tuxes. It’s also disturbing because it fails to acknowledge that dogs bond with their caretakers and need a consistent home, a routine, and pack-feeling they get when they bond closely with a few people.

I read the whole thing and wondered who would ever be willing to pay for such a service.

For people who love dogs but don’t have the time or energy to adopt one there are always options.

When my aunt was first diagnosed with cancer she longed to adopt a dog, but she couldn’t in good conscience do it because she didn’t know how long she’d be able to care for a dog. Her prognosis wasn’t good and she feared that any dog she took in would outlive her and face upheaval and possible homelessness. So my aunt found the perfect solution–she made friends with a person in her building who had a dog and dog-sat and dog-walked this neighbor dog when she felt up to it. This brought the affection and company of a dog into her life and helped out her busy neighbor as well. And it was good for the dog to get the extra attention.

Others find they can satisfy their dog-nurturing urges on a part time basis by either fostering dogs for a rescue group, or just spelling the full-time fosterer off by taking the dogs to the dog park for an afternoon. Dog lovers can volunteer at a shelter, they can help out at adoption fairs, and they can always dog-sit for friends and family.

Dogs take a lot of time and care, and I applaud those who are responsible enough to wait to adopt until they are sure they can provide the perfect home. But sometimes you just need to go running with a dog, or get a sloppy lick across the face. There are tons of good options without resorting to “renting” a dog.

June 29, 2007

Money, money, where for art thou money

Posted in animal advocacy, money, taste better, veganism, wildlife at 12:36 pm by nevavegan

Vegan Porn (never had anything to do with porn, just a silly name) has now become “Taste Better” and they have asked us to do some kind of blog roundabout where we’re supposed to give our take on certain topics. One of the topics raised was veganism and money.

Funny thing. That’s been on my mind quite a bit lately. Many vegans really do seem to have a strange, unbalanced view of money. The only comfort is, it’s not just vegans, so many human beings seem to be primarily avoidant when it comes to the topic of money.

Recently our only local wildlife rehab organization Second Chance announced that they were overwhelmed and under funded and therefore would not be accepting any new wildlife for a while. This was devastating news. There are so many wild animals in our area that need help, and now there are really no resources to help them.

I thought of taking out my checkbook, but the small amount I’d be able to scrape together seemed so inconsequential in light of the huge need. I wanted to find a way to turn my tiny seed of ready cash into a bigger donation. My next thought was auctioning my art to try to raise money, but I was struck with this vision of myself selling off all my art (and I love every single piece, not because they’re perfect but because they are like broken off bits of my soul, I put so much love and emotion into them that it’s hard to part with them) and then getting all of $50 to donate to Second Chance, and that didn’t seem ideal either. I thought about asking some local restaurant to hold a fundraiser for Second Chance, but I’m not sure I have those connections, and most local eateries seem to be pretty solidly booked, now and forever, in raising money for COK.

So, in short, my dysfunctional, denial-filled relationship with money has led me to a place where I don’t feel as able to help as I should be.

The stupid part is that I know what I love and what I value, but I have no idea how to turn those things to an actual profit. I always felt like some kind of reverse magnet that just drives money away from myself. I used to try to go around to shows and fairs to sell my art, and people would oooh and aaaah over everything, touch everything, and then just not plunk down the ridiculously low prices I was asking in hopes of just recouping my booth fee. I know what I do is good, even if not everyone gets it. I know people like it, but they don’t seem to like it enough to pay for it.

I was raised to believe it’s wrong to ask for money. Every single year my school/schools would hold fundraisers of some kind or another. We were supposed to sell things or ask friends and family to donate. And every single year my mother would march down to the school and get my brother and I exempted from participation on the grounds that fundraising was against our religion. Sure, that was embarrassing, but less embarrassing than when I was not allowed to participate in the “Fun Fair” because my class was doing a fake doctor’s office (candy as pills and fancy band aids handed out) because going to the doctor was against our religion, or when I was exempted from required reading because certain books were against our religion. Sigh. Anyway, that was a side track. I was raised to not ask for money. To show a desire for money was greed and was deeply wrong. To even speak of money was deeply wrong.

To cope with my various ambiguous feelings about money I used to give until it hurt any time a group asked me for money, while I slept on a piece of foam rubber on the floor of a broken down group house in a bad neighborhood. I had a minor crisis over this though when I began to feel I was doing serious damage to myself giving so much, and at the same time saw the groups I gave to using money in ways that didn’t seem very worthwhile, at least from my point of view. I resolved that I still wanted to give, but I wanted to give smarter. I wasn’t doing penance through my donations, after all, I was investing in the world I wanted to see. And everyone knows that to be a good investor we need to be smart, we need to be knowledgeable, and we need to have an understanding of what money can and can’t do.

But it took a close call with winding up homeless, it took months of not knowing if I could buy food, it took a huge financial crisis to bring me to that wake up call that I needed to start understanding money.

It’s still hard. The course my life has taken and all the other baggage I’ve been carrying didn’t bring me to a spot where I make a ton of money or have the qualifications to make “the big bucks.” At the same time, I look at what other people make, some of them with fewer qualifications, and I’m starting to realize that these deep feelings I have of being fundamentally undeserving are a bunch of (bad word deleted). I underestimate my worth and I underestimate the good I might do if I were able to realize that worth.

Which brings me back to my desire to help Second Chance. Can you, oh wise reader, give me suggestions? How can I face the monster of money and wrestle it down so I can do something worthwhile that desperately needs to be done?