Celebrate Zoe New Year, Celebrate Life
First day of spring is time for renewed commitment
Two weeks, ago, a cute terrier-mix puppy with nowhere to call home was given two lethal injections at the animal shelter in Sulphur, Oklahoma.
The next day, that same puppy was found prancing around in the dumpster where he’d been thrown after being “euthanized.”
Wall-E, as he became known, was in the newspapers and on TV all over the country.
“Euthanized Oklahoma Puppy, Wall-E, rises from dead,” announced the New York Daily News. And the dog who had been scheduled to die because no one wanted him was suddenly flooded with thousands of adoption offers.
Everyone loves a heartwarming story about a dog or cat who gets a second chance, but this was something more. It touched a chord with people everywhere as a classic story of life triumphing over death.
For many people, it had an additional resonance, coming right at that time of year when we celebrate festivals of rebirth all around the world.
The Spring Equinox
For thousands of years, people have marked the Spring equinox as that special day when light “triumphs” over darkness and daytime is longer than night.
When ancient Egyptians built the Sphinx, their great enigmatic lion faced directly at that point on the horizon where the sun would rise on the day of the equinox.
When the Mayans built the Great Pyramid of Kukulcan at Chichen Itza, they designed it so that at sunset on the day of the equinox, shadows fall in a way that look like a snake sliding down the pyramid. It represented the triumph of Kukulcan, the winged serpent of the sun, over his brother, Huracan, the jaguar god of the night, from whose name we get the word hurricane.
Every culture had its own traditions, but in our modern world, it’s easy to lose touch with what was, for our ancestors, the great miracle of rebirth around most of the planet. So while, for example, in New York and Boston, we still wear green for St. Patrick’s Day, most of us no longer know that “the wearing of the green” was traditionally to honor the return of life to the trees and the land.
Emotionally, though, we’re still touched to the core by stories like the little puppy who “rose from the dead.” Deep down, our connection to the world of nature is unbreakable.
Zoe’s Spring Celebration
Here at Zoe, we think that March 20th, the first day of spring, is really the start of a new year. It’s a time to celebrate life and renew our commitment to protecting life however and wherever we can.
After all, there’s a lot of darkness in the world today. From elephants and tigers to frogs and bats, entire species are going extinct at an alarming rate. In the oceans, the coral reefs are dying – and that’s a big problem when you consider that 60 percent of all fish in the oceans are birthed among the corals. And overall, cruelty to animals is endemic – especially in the vicious world of factory farms, puppy mills and experimental laboratories.
All in all, it’s a perfect day for all of us to do something that can help.
Here, then, are just three ways that any of us can do to celebrate life. Any one of them will be good for you, good for the animals, and good for our planet.
One: Go Veggie One Day a Week
Every week, Monday is being observed more and more as Meatless Monday. Join the bandwagon. Cutting out animal foods just one day a week makes more of a difference that you might imagine.
And by animal foods, we include dairy and eggs, too. Because while you probably already know that factory farming is cruel, many consider dairy farms and egg farms to be just as bad or worse.
All it takes is substituting some of the new, and very tasty, veggie burgers, and using soy milk and soy creamer instead of dairy. It can be as simple as that, really.
Going veggie has proven health benefits. And since the meat and dairy industries are considered the worst atmospheric polluters in the world (more greenhouse gases than all the vehicles everywhere), you’re not just doing something for yourself and for the animals, but for global climate change, too.
Two: Do Something for Your Local Wildlife
Wildlife is all around us. It’s not just the elephants and tigers in exotic places that need our help. Right now, bats are among the animals going extinct right here in the United States, and the ripple effect that this has on insects, plants and the whole food chain and ecosystem will be enormous.
Every day, and most of all during the spring, orphaned baby bats and birds and squirrels and possums are being brought into wildlife hospitals and centers. You can volunteer there or simply make a donation.
Another thing you can do is turn your backyard – or even a window ledge in your apartment – into more of a wildlife sanctuary. Or join a group that’s planting trees in the neighborhood. Even the most concrete of cities can be a home and haven to the animals that have made it their home.
Three: Adopt a Homeless Pet
Millions of puppies are bought at pet stores every year, while puppies like Wall-E are dying in shelters.
Few people understand the cruelty to mother dogs involved with puppy breeding mills. A number of national companies have ceased doing business with those involved, and one state has passed an initiative to regulate the industry. So even if you have a pet at home, consider adopting another dog or cat from your local shelter. Think about choosing an older pet, too. They’ve “been around the block” and they’ll appreciate what you’re doing for them.
And if you’re not in a position to take another pet home, donate to your favorite rescue or adoption group. Whatever you do for homeless pets will be a triumph of life.
One more thing . . .
Go take a hike!
Spend a few hours in the woods or in your local park. Watch the animals … follow their paw prints … see their nests in the trees … feel the fresh air on your face … listen to the sounds of nature … sit by a creek or stream … watch the new life that’s being born in the water.
Take the kids and the dogs, or go alone. Just be there, reconnecting, having the experience, and coming home renewed and refreshed.
Let us know what you do
Whatever you do to celebrate the first day of spring, let us know what it is, by posting it on our Facebook page.
On this first day of spring, we can all do things to bring more light and life into our own lives and to make that connection with nature. After all, it’s our nature, too.
Posted March 14, 2011, by MichaelMountain