I remember this moment so clearly, unlike many moments in my childhood that are simply a blank, this one stuck. Although I wish it had simply vanished into the part of my brain that knows better than letting me remember certain parts of time.
The first time I remember someone mistreating an animal, a dog in particular, I was in Grade 4 or 5 (so about 9ish)
My stepfather is the definition of someone who should not have pets…should not have children either but there is no prerequisite or test to pass to being responsible for either pets or children. Perhaps there should be?
We always had german shepards, because that is what he wanted. There wasn’t any other opinion that mattered anyway.
I think he thought they made him seem tough but he never took the time to train any of them so when they would misbehave or destroy something the loss of control would send him into a tailspin of rage. How things “looked” to outsiders was very important to him, which meant the outside world saw a very different version of the person he was.
The first memory of this type of outburst was our dog, who was still under the age of 1 and considered a puppy had an accident in the house and peed all over the hall floor.
He had stepped in it and I remember hearing him screaming about the “fucking dog” so I went running towards the front hall just in time to watch him kick the dog as hard as he could out the garage door, down the steps onto the cement floor.
That dog’s painful yelp as he landed…I can still hear him when I think of this day.
I sobbed…I sobbed so loudly he started yelling at me to shut up and go to my room. It was just a dog, and “He needs to learn not to do that in the house!!”
I ran to my room, and cried for a long time. I wanted to run to my dog and be with him but I knew I’d get yelled at if i left my room. He hurt him. I wanted to hurt him back for my dog that couldn’t defend himself against that piece of shit, but I was 9 and scared.
For the most part, our dogs were treated well, but if they ever stepped out of line did they ever get it. I guess that makes sense though as the humans in our house were treated in a similar way.
If you said or did something he didn’t like or agree with, it was a dangerous place to be. If my mother was present, she wouldn’t say anything as she knew the wrath on our dogs would turn to her if she did.
This is what keeps people like him safe in their home environments. They surround themselves with people that are too scared to do or say anything contrary to them and let them repeatedly act in toxic or abusive ways.
They are never held to a higher standard, or responsible for their bullshit. He was a piece of shit, narcissistic, toxic asshole who doesn’t deserve to be a pet owner.
Once again, the universe provided me the exact example of what I don’t want to be as a person of course, but as a pet owner.
I just don’t understand how you could get SO mad at a dog for an ACCIDENT that you physically hurt it…without remorse as well. I mean, I can hope he felt bad somewhere deep down inside his fucked up self but just would never admit that.
That would be admitting being wrong.
Over the last 5 years, we have adopted 2 furry babies from the local animal shelter. They were both strays found on the streets, in need of a family and home. They are my heart, my everything.
We don’t get to know their pasts, but when you see them fear certain types of people or wince when you move too suddenly and you can tell they thought you were going to hit them it is so heartbreaking to know they’ve been hurt in the past.
I make sure to touch them extra softly, and give them extra snuggles and kisses every day so they know I will not hurt them and hopefully they will stop wincing and trust me completely.
Going through the transition with each of them, and watching them change and grow in the comfort of my loving home brings me SO much happiness. I love them so much.
I think of that dog from my childhood often, there were many others, but that is the first moment and maybe the worst because I was so shocked someone could be so cruel to an animal.
The world is full of these cruel people, and it makes me so sad for all the animals, and people really living in fear of them.
How do we really stop this cycle of abuse? When they are surrounded by people not holding them accountable for fear of anger, backlash, and more or worse abuse towards them.
If we could all hold each other accountable to what we ultimately know is right or fair, without being defensive, angry, toxic or abusive there could be some real change in the world.
If my mother COULD HAVE said to my step father “I’m really concerned about your anger and abuse, and I think you need to get help”
If my step father COULD HAVE really looked at himself, and know he needed help and would follow through with that. Everything COULD HAVE been different.
We need to be willing to tell the ones around us when they are crossing a line, when we think they might need some help coping or changing certain behaviours.
Flip side of that – We need to be willing to accept the same being said to us, without theatrics or defensiveness. Sometimes we are the wrong or toxic ones, and need to look within ourselves and see where the work needs to be done.
If we all took the responsibility of healing ourselves, however that looks to you, talk therapy is a good start. I really think 99.9% of the world could use a GOOD therapy sesh and then keep going lol
All I know is the saying “Hurt People, Hurt People” is 100000% true and if the hard work is never done it will continue to potentially carry into the next generation. Let’s face it alot of trauma and abuse occurs within our home environments. With those closest to us, those who are not supposed to cause us harm.
Love and heal the hurts of your past. Then treat the rest of the world of humans, animals, and things with the same love because that is what deserves our energy and attention.