Why Molly Matters
Every day, as we go about our business, we tend to put to the back of our minds the idea that, one day, we will get a call saying that a much-loved family member is ill, has had an accident (or worse) died. Tuesday, March 10th 2020 is when I received such a call. Molly, my parents’ cat and much loved family member, had met with a terrible accident. We know not how. Only that she had come home with a huge gash up her back right leg, from just above her paw to her groin and that she was in agony. She had to be taken to the local animal hospital by ambulance, as she was too ill to travel in the family car.
The picture speaks for itself in terms of what Molly went through, including a skin graft taken from her stomach and placed over her wound in the second of two operations; in all, at a cost in excess of £3,100 ($4,000) and rising. My parents didn’t care about the cost. Molly’s insured, but they went ahead without knowing for sure that the insurance would pay out.
Once I got the news, I began tweeting about it and, very quickly, hundreds of people began to get caught up in the story. People became (and still are) anxious for updates regarding her progress. At this point, I should say that I live some 130 miles from my parents and so am reliant on them to keep me updated.
In issuing these updates, I’ve been fully expecting someone to challenge me as to why, at this time of great fear and uncertainty, we are worried about a cat. I also thought I might lose some followers, as not all my followers are cat accounts. As it happens, neither has come to pass.
To those who may be thinking such a thing but not expressed it, please allow me to tell you why Molly matters.
Molly matters because she is a sentient being, who exists within the web of love of which we are all part. Those who do not feel connected to that web tend to suffer greatly. Grief, whether for a human or an animal, can adversely affect the immune system. I do not need to tell you the potential consequences of that. Losing a much-loved member of our family can leave us feeling that there’s less or even nothing to live for. Hence we can find ourselves caring less about our own welfare and that of others. Again, I need not point out the potential consequences at this time.
But an animal does not have to belong to anyone for it to hurt the web of connectivity, which is capable of helping us all to emerge with the best possible outcome. Seeing these sentient beings needlessly being abandoned and/or euthanized hurts us all.
It took the mistakes of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 for the US to fully realise, accept and appreciate how much animal welfare is intricately linked to human welfare. People simply did not want to abandon their pets. The result was the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards (PETS) Act of 2006.
There are likely going to be many difficult, heart-breaking choices to be made in the coming weeks and months. What I am asking for, what I am pleading for, is that as we are forced to make these choices, these decisions, we take full account of that which binds and connects humans, animals and nature itself.
That is why Molly matters.