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Friday, July 8,2016


By Tina Valant-Siebelts  

W - Watch your Words

A - Watch your Actions

T - Watch your Thoughts

C - Watch your Companions

H - Watch your Habits

Frank Outlaw, 1897

Social media is plenteous with pleas of help for dogs in need --- 24/7. It can be stressful and draining, especially those on the front lines. Jian Zhicheng was a lifelong animal lover, veterinarian and director of an animal shelter in Taiwan. She was dedicated, kind-hearted and faced with a reality well-known, in the USA: People can be selfish, take unnecessary chances, and/or make bad decisions. Dr Zhicheng was attacked online and succumbed to the stress by injecting herself with the same euthanasia drugs she used at work. She was just 31 years old. Dr Z, I hope you found comfort, peace and gratitude for the thousands of animals you cared for and rehomed.


Online you can find shaming/ blaming, bad language and responses like, “What a POS” and “I hate people”. Rescuers, responsible owners, animal control and shelter volun teers/staff are people, too. They are dealing with the result of irresponsible people. Ever notice the difference you feel, when you read/hear something positive and something negative?

You can be part of the solution: • Spay/neuter. Don’t add to the overwhelming population of companion animals. Don’t pimp your pet, leave breeding to the professionals.

• Avoid fueling negative fires.

While we may feel better by venting frustration,it is temporary and serves no one. Withhold judgement and negative comments.

• Refrain from stating the obvious.

Better to use your energy and resources to assist and uplift. You may not be able to adopt, but you may share the post, transport, donate (funds or supplies), and/or send your well-wishes, kind thoughts and prayers.

• Be mindful of your thoughts, your words, and your actions. Do not shame, blame, or name-call.

Heed Plato’s words, “Be kind, everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle”.

When pets make the transition to the Rainbow Bridge, most people respond with the standard, “I’m so sorry”, “Condolences”, “So sad”, “Heartbroken”. While sincere and heartfelt, these responses can add to the grief. To me, it feels like you’re drowning, only to have someone throw water at you. When we face a loss (furry or non-furry), it’s already sad. If it was sudden and unexpected, there was no time to prepare ourselves. If it was after a long illness or an accident, we may have had time to prepare. We may recognize the blessing of our loved one being painfree and at peace.

Like being tossed a life-preserver, it is so much more uplifting to receive these kind of responses, “I’m so thankful you had so many years together”, “Even if it wasn’t a long time, (dog name) knew love and that people could be kind”, “Sending you love, until you meet again”.

Words can be used to hurt or heal.

What will you do with yours? Chose wisely. <3

Tina Valant-Siebelts is a confirmed dog-o-holic, mom to many rescued pets, who volunteers with numerous organizations. To "fill all those dog bowls," Tina is an award-winning photographer, writer & event coordinator.

“We didn’t realize he’d be so much work”, said the owner. I kept my focus on helping this pup, without judging or reprimanding. Accepted into rescue, he is being tested and may be trained as a service dog!


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