This Tuesday, something happened that is a (sadly) common part of my life.
Taking my son to school, I noticed a rabbit sitting in a driveway. From her body language, I knew she was badly wounded. I stop, approach her carefully, and pick her up. She’s shaking, in pain, and scared.
I’ve been rescuing animals since I was a child. My dad taught me to love animals, respect their plight, and above all else, render aid when and where I could. In the past month, I’ve handled a possum, a crow, five kittens, a rabbit, and snakes, frogs, and turtles. In truth, I have pulled over to escort woolly bear caterpillars across the road (I find them charming and oddly funny).
I am a magnet for turtles. This is known.
The bunny’s injuries were too severe, and I knew it. We drove across town to the animal hospital, and she was given peace. My wife kindly said, “Her last few moments were warm.” I do this a lot– every time, it’s hard, and every time, a bit of me stays with the small life that just ended. I’m okay at first, but like a tide returning to shore, the feelings catch up with me. I cry, think about what it means to help (it’s not always easy) and move on. In more than forty years, it doesn’t get easier. Ever.
What I’m going to write now is something I’ve been considering for several days. As a writer, I have to be– polite? Careful? I must choose my words, because my living comes from the sale of books to kind people who believe in my stories.
Therefore, I’m comfortable with the following departure.
A few days ago, Jezebel published this:
Let’s read that headline together: “An October Surprise For Mike Pence’s Dog: Death”.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I don’t like politicians. That doesn’t matter here, at least not to me. Jezebel is a site that combines snarky exploitation along with the journalistic integrity of Gawker. They’re not journalists; they write clickbait about private lives and scandal to earn money. That’s it. They earn money from pain, or shame, or curiosity.
That headline is beyond the pale. Even for the appalling standards of clickbaiters, it’s sick. It’s the lowest common denominator in a field dominated by exploitation and stupidity. I’d say they have no shame, but that’s redundant.
I’ve never read Jezebel, or the *author* of that piece, one Brendan O’Conner. I certainly won’t start now. I will, however, tell my readers to consider who you’re supporting when you click on anything from their site.
For me? I won’t forget this article. I leave that decision to you. Thanks for reading.