“I saw an incredible story in the newspaper yesterday about a guy and his dog. It seemed like something you should blog about.”
My husband rarely suggests what I should write about at Something Wagging. What was so compelling about this story that made him certain I’d want to share my opinion here?
A New York man’s dog was diagnosed with a heart defect. He sold his car and took out a bank loan to put toward the $32,000 cost of corrective surgery (which includes flying specialist surgeons in from Japan).
As my husband started to share his thoughts about the story, I found myself without an opinion.
I understood some people would question spending so much money on care for a dog. And others would insist that no amount of money is too much to lengthen a friend’s life.
But my primary thought was, do we always have to judge?
Judging And Caring Are Two Different Things
When I wrote earlier that I had no opinion about this story, I lied. I did have a couple of thoughts.
- Wow, $30,000 for heart surgery? Why is it so much cheaper to perform surgery on a dog than a human?
- What a terrible thing to go through. I can’t imagine how worried that man must feel for his dog.
No matter how much I think about it, I can’t bring myself to judge his actions in any way.
A stranger who loves his dog faced a difficult decision. He made it. And hopefully all will go well in the surgery.
But the more publicity the story gets, the more likely it will attract the judgments of others. And I think I know why.
Because people who mean well think judging and caring are the same thing.
And confusing the two is a bad idea.
Judging Gets In The Way Of Caring
One of two things can happen when we judge someone:
- we judge them to be wrong and our judgement justifies why we don’t have to help them, or
- we judge them to be right and think that our judgment in their favor replaces our need to help them.
Either way, judging gets in the way of caring. At its best, judging is unnecessary. Unless, of course, you’re a judge.
Act Without Judging
When I talk like this, my Catholic husband gets worried.
If we don’t judge, are we allowing evil things to happen? Isn’t it right to judge puppy mill owners? Animal abusers? People who feed their dogs cheap kibble and buy them treats made in China?
See how judging can devolve from righteous anger about serious moral issues into petty squabbles that tear us apart without addressing the underlying issues about how to best care for our animals?
How about if we decreased the amount of time we spend judging and used that time to choose our actions in response to things we recognize as problems in the world?
What do you think effects more change in the world? Ranting about the latest animal abuser on Facebook? Or calling your elected officials to support legislation for harsher penalties for people who harm animals?
And if you find yourself wondering if people should have a dog if they can’t afford to feed him premium food, maybe it’s time to donate some healthy pet food and treats to your local food pantry.
We don’t have to judge everything. Sometimes we can just act.
Best Wishes For A Man And His Dog
So I guess my husband was right. I did need to write about a man willing to give anything to save his dog. But perhaps not in the way he expected.
If you want to read the story of Dylan Raskin and his efforts to save the life of his dog Esme, check out the original story here. And to learn about the heartwarming response strangers had to his plight, read the follow-up here.
The story goes on whether I judge it or not. And I wish Esme all the best success in coming through his surgery.
Your Turn: Why do you think humans feel the need to judge? And is it important for us to do so?