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Kay Warren: Puppies Aren't People

When compassion for animals goes too far.

Recently, Rick was trimming a vine around our patio cover and accidentally dislodged a bird's nest with two blue speckled eggs. He brought it to me to see if I thought our grandkids would like to have it. Instead of experiencing pleasure at seeing a beautifully crafted nest, I was distressed. "Oh, that poor mama bird!," I immediately cried. "She's probably frantically searching for her babies!"

Rick's puzzled look brought me up short. "I guess I've seen too many Disney movies," I said with a laugh. "I'm acting like the bird has human emotions." Even though it was silly, I got a poignant feeling every time I looked at the nest.

Later that week I babysat my grandkids, who are on a strict gluten- and dairy-free diet, and it's hard to find anything decent to eat. I rummaged through the cupboard for lunch fixings and came across a cereal box featuring a cute gorilla. The back of the box featured the story of endangered East African mountain gorillas, and ended with a plea for "sponsorship of a gorilla."

It reminded me of an experience I had at Christmas. Late one night, I was channel surfing while wrapping presents. I normally skip commercials, but on one station, the lovely sounds of Silent Night began playing, and pictures of abandoned dogs and cats filled the screen. A famous singer, her voice thick with emotion, pleaded with viewers to "sponsor" these helpless, abandoned animals with a monthly donation. I felt tears forming as my emotions reacted to the seeming pleas for help in ...

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