Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Helping people

I was just speaking with a new caregiver who had quite a few questions as she is just starting out in her estate. She was mentioning the same thing to me - that she had met quite a few people through working with the cats that she had not known before. She said this was really a good way of getting people to bond and get to know each other and was about a community really coming together.

It struck me as I was speaking with her how many people think that caring for community cats is a 'cat issue'. It's not. As any caregiver knows, it has a lot to do with speaking to people in the community and explaining what TNRM is about. It has to do with helping to mediate complaints and work with residents who are unhappy because of different concerns. It has to do with keeping the environment clean because many caregivers clear up litter. It also has to do with ensuring the environment is a pleasant one by keeping the population down, cutting down on cauterwauling and spraying.

One of the caregivers told me that when she went to see her MP, he had told her that when she had settled the cat issues, it would be good if she could spend her time working with people who needed help. I think that's a narrow viewpoint. If everyone took that view, then no one would care about the environment or global warming for example because neither affects people directly in that sense. But it will. In the same way, working with cats is really about many other things - most importantly making it a more pleasant living environment for all.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

' narrow viewpoint ' is an understatement. The MP is saying her contribution to the estate is useless, wast of time and of no use to his RC activity.

I feel utterly disgusted and insulted by his remarks. It shows his ignorance and I don't respect or care about his other policies...
With this kind of attitude, they are responsible for culling and zero consideration for TNR program.

23/8/07 3:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that "why you help cats, not humans" attitude is still very prevalent in our society, which is rather unfortunate.... and in this case it prevails even in those who are supposedly the brightest, enlighted and best. Well, supposedly.

23/8/07 4:15 AM  
Blogger EJ. said...

I am appalled and offended by such 'narrow viewpoint'!
'Animal Welfare' simply don't exist in his 'dictionary'.
Take some time off and smell the flowers!

23/8/07 5:01 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Anonymous is right - the attitude seems to still be very prevalent, that one should only help people, in the strictest definition of the word. It shuts out many other ways of volunteering and if people heeded this advice, a lot less good would be done in the world.

23/8/07 9:07 AM  
Blogger VeganCatsg said...

I totally agree on this "narrow minded" perspective of "volunteerism". It is about learning to care beyond oneself as one of the greatest suffering of us human beings, especially in this time of plenty, is a gross overindulgence of ONE-self which also accounts for the lack of respect for our environment hence our littering problem will continue. When we help others, be they human, animals or environment, it is without a condition of benefiting oneself but truly or altruistically to benefit the "objects" of our help.
Sad that an MP is not able to see the bigger picture of volunteerism.

23/8/07 11:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The MP's viewpoint is shared by many others. Very often when I was feeding the cats, I received such remarks.

23/8/07 11:26 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Exactly vegancatsg - the more one is able to look beyond oneself, the more one is able to be a better citizen all round.

Anonymous - yes it's sad that it's so prevalent, and I still maintain that most people who ask why you don't 'help people' don't really volunteer with people either.

23/8/07 11:44 AM  
Anonymous kaori said...

"Animal welfare" will not exist if everyone embraces humanity,compassion and all goodness. Animal welfare arises simply because some people are devoid of these as such that others have to champion causes for animals.

The perception that certain forms of volunteerism is beneath others is certainly skewed. Are we then going to compare volunteering for the disabled, the mentally challenged, the elderly etc then as to which is a more worthy cause? Maybe the MP isn't interested in all these either, since RC to him is the best form of volunteerism.

23/8/07 1:04 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Exactly - what's more 'worthy' than some other cause? Is helping the elderly more worthy? Children?Battered women?

23/8/07 5:21 PM  
Anonymous belle said...

it IS a narrow viewpoint ... i bet that MP is one of those 'old school' types ... but there're exceptions ...

i once applied for a job with a social service agency ... the director (an elderly man) realised i didnt have experience helping people although i do have experience helping cats ... he said - hmm, u don't really have the relevant experience (ie. in human service) but i can see u have the heart to help, since u do help animals. anyway im employing u as admin, not social worker, so i guess its ok - u can have the job. what matters is - a helpful attitude. i was pleasantly surprised.

the MP's approach was totally wrong. he can ask her if she would like to help people as well, IN ADDITION TO helping cats, not INSTEAD OF helping cats ...

23/8/07 5:51 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

belle that is nice. I would think experience anyway can always be gained on the job - what can't be is a desire to serve.

23/8/07 5:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When a group of us caregivers met the MP over the trapping of cats by TC, he has no choice but to "entertain" us but after a while he seemed visibly impatient and cited "there are IMPORTANT bread and butter issues" waiting out there for me..." but he stopped short of completing his sentence..

which could
"....and you bloody silly people wasting my time over cat issues??!!!"

We wished we could tell him we made up our mind then..who NOT to vote the next election.

23/8/07 7:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'Bread and butter'is not a 2007 issue any longer. This MP working to put 'bread&butter' on people's table, then he shd go back in time to the 1950's.
What exactly is the MP for if he thinks his residents' problems are too trivial? Yes, trivial because he lives in a big house and has lost trouble with the common people.

24/8/07 11:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the mistakes PAP made is not having cabinet ministers who been animal caregivers before.
That's why millions of animals killed all the time. They don't have it to do the humane part but do well in the killing part.

25/8/07 12:58 AM  

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