You Don’t Have To Be Like That (From Janet)
“Something’s different about Linda”, an acquaintance mentioned in casual conversation this past week.
“What do you mean?”, I asked.
“Well, I don’t want to sound weird or corny or anything”, this person went on, “but she’s changed – in a good way. She’s been really devoting herself lately to some animal welfare issues”.
“That’s a beautiful thing. Why would that be weird of you to say?” Now I am curious.
Pause. “I think it IS a good thing. But, you know, no-one really talks about stuff like this too much. People might it’s weird because she’s talking about it more. To everyone. What if she turns into an animal hoarder or a crazy cat lady now?’
I got the feeling that this acquaintance was asking my permission to be accepting of Linda’s increased openness about the things she was doing to help make a difference in the lives of animals in need. It’s no secret: You don’t need permission to embrace Animal Advocacy.
Regardless, I had to stop her right there. And initially I stopped her with “You know, you don’t have to be like that”.
“Like what?”, she asked.
Sometimes (sighing here), you really DO need to spell it out to someone else.
Being an animal advocate doesn’t mean you hoard animals.
It doesn’t mean that you will suddenly become “that woman” down the street who takes in every stray cat that comes along.
It doesn’t mean that you will become closed to everyone else or everything else.
Being an Animal Advocate means that:
- You care – and you let that show
- You know compassion matters – and you give it freely wherever there is a need
- You understand the importance of speaking up and speaking out – and you speak up and out even if it’s hard
- You get that education and awareness make a difference – so you share what you know
- You take initiative when and where you can (and even when you might fail) to better and save the lives of animals – because you can
- You JUST DO SOMETHING every day – because it matters
At some point, you may be put in the path of someone whose ignorance about Animal Advocacy has them fooled into stereo-typed thinking (believe it or not, MANY people think like that).
Do them, and us – the Animal Advocates – a favor; start a conversation with “You Don’t Have To Be Like That”.
Because you know what, you don’t.