Tuesday, January 2, 2018

There Are Some Things That I Can't Bring Myself To Look At Every Single Day

We've been in a deep freeze for the past week and a half. In fact, some weather records have been broken for the lowest day-time highs. During this deep freeze, temps during the day haven't gotten higher than 10. With the wind, the temps drop even lower. On the overnight, it's been below zero. I can't remember the last time we've had a deep freeze that has lasted this long. Unfortunately, the trend is going to continue through this week and into the weekend.

As with any extreme weather, especially during the Summer and Winter months, the number of animal photos displaying dogs and cats who have left to endure such weather skyrockets. These photos are graphic. The images are burned into my brain. My heartstrings are tugged. My vision is blurred from tears.

During the recent and continuing deep freeze, these photos have been abundant on my Facebook news feed. Dogs who are frozen solid. Literally. Dogs who are outside, on a chain, and curled up during a snowstorm. Trying to keep warm. The list goes on.

These photos bother me. They always have. It's not just these photos. It's the others. Photos of dogs who are severely emaciated. Dogs who have been rescued from dog fighting rings. Dogs who have been beaten by their owners.

Again, the list goes on.

I have a lot of animal advocates on my Facebook friend list. They rescue, foster, and do other amazing things to help animals in need. I also have joined or "liked" many animal groups that focus on helping animals in need. Because of this, my news feed is flooded with these graphic images. It got to the point where I hated scrolling through my news feed.

Part of me understands why rescue and animal organizations post these photos. They want to educate the public. Make a point. Emphasize "if you see something, say something." Or, maybe they've taken one of these sweet pups into their care and started a fundraiser to cover medical expenses.

The other part of me couldn't take the number of graphic images I would see in a day's time. I know what a dog looks like when they freeze to death. I know what an emaciated dog looks like. I know what an injured dog looks like whether the injuries were sustained from dogfighting or an abusive owner.

Mentally and emotionally, seeing these images day after day after day was ripping me apart. So, I started hiding the posts. That was my way of letting Facebook know I wanted to see less of these photos. I've been doing this for about a year now. Although these graphic images still appear on my news feed, they're scarce. I still continue to click "hide" when they appear.

To some, my decision to do this may seem shallow or appear as if I'm ignoring a growing problem. I'm not. I simply made the decision to not subject myself to seeing these graphic images. I'm fully aware the problem still exists and this stuff is happening. And, even with the number of rescue groups and animal organizations, it's still not enough to completely eradicate the issue of animal abuse and neglect.

Think about other societal issues. Homelessness. Domestic violence. Child abuse. Poverty. Etc. I am well aware those exist. More than likely, they exist in my neighborhood and yours. Do I need to see photos of people sleeping on the streets, children with bruises and welts covering their bodies, and someone eating out of a trash can to know these issues exist?

No. I don't.

A photo speaks a thousand words. In the world of social media, "visual" is everything. It catches people's attention. It lures them in. It tinkers with their emotions. People are more apt to donate money and goods if they see the photo of an emaciated dog rather than just read a paragraph stating the details.

I get it. I do. And, I'm certainly not criticizing those who use visual for the greater good.

There are just some things that I can't look at every single day.

That's okay.

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