Newsletter - Animal Writes © sm
9 August 2000 Issue

Say A Prayer For The Ones We Can’t Save
by Michelle A. Rivera - [email protected]

When I moved to Germany in 1981, the first thing I needed was a cat. Having no cat, I was an unhappy camper. So, I went to the shelter and found a beautiful, blue-eyed Siamese, about two years old. What attracted me to this lovely cat was not that she was a Siamese, but that she was so very, very vocal. Like me.

But she had just come in the day before and the shelter needed to keep her exactly seven days before they could release her. It was the dead of winter in the Black Forest, and this Florida girl had no car, no coat, no boots and no mittens! More importantly, I had no phone. I had been in Germany a week. I needed a cat, the phone could wait. I had a priority list to follow.

So every day I would trudge down to the bus station and catch the bus to the city. I walked several blocks in the snow, uphill (both ways, of course), to the shelter. The hardest part was not knowing if she would be there for me. Ideally I should have been hoping that she was reclaimed by a loving guardian. But I am not all that selfless, and she was my soul mate, so I was hoping she was there. By the third day, she recognized my voice when I entered the lobby and she would howl in her Siamese-German voice as soon as I asked about her. I spent the better part of most days there.

Finally, on day seven, I was given a small cardboard carrier that held the love of my life. I brought her home on a sunshiny, bitter cold day. I placed her on my lap on the bus (no stupid laws in Germany saying animals are “verboton” on public transportation). We arrived home and I fussed over her and loved her for twenty-one years.

Sometime during her fifteenth year, my heart stood still. I felt a lump. She had mammary cancer, and needed surgery. The vet was kind, he told me she was very sick. “The tumor is arachnid”, he said. “I took out what I could, but it’s wrapped itself all around her vital organs and I can’t get it all, she’ll be gone by Christmas.” He had just given my beloved Sable only two more months with me.

I rushed home and grabbed a vial of Holy Water that had been brought to me from Lourdes. I dribbled the water over her incision and prayed very hard. I lit a candle. I called a prayer chain, and others prayed too. And instead of two months, Sable was granted another six years.

As a state-certified cruelty investigator I see a lot of terrible sights, and I hear a lot of terrible stories. Sometimes, it gets to be too much. “I can’t save them all,” I cried to a counselor one day. “I just can’t do enough.”

It was then that I learned about intervention. My doctor gave me advice that made sense. She said that there are animals in this world of whom I know nothing. There are animals suffering in ways I will never know. But there are also animals that I do know of but can’t help with money, medicines, adoptions, euthanasia or any conventional rescue method. “Pray for them,” she said. “Ask for intervention.” Like the water from Lourdes, I can ask for miracles for other animals.

This is the story of the birth of the Prayer Alliance For Animals. I have been praying for animals ever since I first learned of St. Francis’ of Assisi being canonized because of his love for animals. If God saw fit to bestow upon St. Francis a unique love for animals, and that love for animals defined him, then surely animals are important in the eyes of God.

But prayer is stronger when multiplied by two, four, forty or a thousand. So I asked a few friends to join me in prayer for the animals. And those friends asked a few more friends, and on and on and on.

We once prayed for stricter laws for manatee protection because so many were dying. The next week, a device was installed in the nuclear plant where they were dying. The device is meant to detect the presence of manatees so as to protect them from closing gates. We prayed for a bill of rights for animals, and the following week the papers announced that Harvard and Georgetown Universities were installing an animal-rights law department.

We prayed for the dogs in Korea, and soon after PETA announced that they were initiating a huge media blitz to raise awareness of the plight of the Korean dogs.

We prayed for animals in labs, and Al Gore backed off his LD50 testing proposal.

Coincidences? I don’t know. Do you?

Animals need prayers. They don’t care to whom you pray. They don’t care how you pray. Some light votive candles, some say the rosary, some meditate, some do research on the issue of the week. But all focus, energy and spiritual intensity is brought together for one issue. We pray for wolves, cats, fishes, bugs, cows, rats, and more. We pray for the people who are helping them. We pray for them all week. I envision a huge show of force streaming towards the heavens, like a petition with billions of signatures, we pray hard for the animals that we cannot touch, cannot rescue, cannot comfort. This is our virtual animal-rights demonstration. This is our spiritual prayer meeting. This is what we do.

Do animals have souls? Are carnivores and hunters and experimenters all sinners who are going to hell? Are animals our spirit guides?

I don’t know. I just know that a miracle happened to an eight pound Siamese cat who should have died. I know that. That, I know.

[Editors note: To join the Prayer Alliance for Animals please visit their website or send an e-mail to [email protected] You will receive a one-paragraph letter announcing the petition of the week and offering websites where to visit for independent research of the weekly issue.]

Go on to 9 August 2000 Issue
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