Sunday, August 15, 2010

I Am So Proud of You: working with rescued animals in British Columbia PT. 3

8/7 - 8/15

I don't know how this comes about, but often enough I'll be staying with a friend and manage to be there at some of their most vulnerable and life changing moments. Somehow my stays are queued in with some huge family drama, or to watch someone have to sacrifice what was once a huge part of their lives, or listen to elaborate and desperate plans to flee the country and start a new life, to realize later that they're convictions are sincere and they're actually going through with it. Not one, but all of these things have happened here in this past week, and it's going to take a minute to explain it all so try and be patient.

Chuck has lived on her family farm with her sister Keres* for the past few years, both of them together taking on the duties to care for the many animals they've rescued. Chuck being the oldest, and taking on most of the responsibilities, always felt that her sister lacked the drive and compassion to properly care for the animals she loves. There had been a lot of factors that slowly deteriorated their relationship and led Chuck to believe that the animals were no longer safe in Keres' care, but one incident in particular was enough for Chuck to feel she needed to re-home as many of the animals as she could. While away on a trip for the weekend, one of the chickens had developed an infection in it's cloaca**, and when Chuck returned she discovered that it had gone untreated by Keres even though she had full knowledge of the chicken's discomfort; her only suggestion was to just put the chicken down. What is the point of adopting a battery hen if you're just going to let it suffer and die from a treatable infection? It was at that point that Chuck made arrangements to move off of the farm and into the cabin on the beach where we both currently reside.

I thought that the space would help deescalate the growing tension between Chuck and Keres, but things only got worse from here....
There are 3 cats that live in the basement in isolation from the rest of the house (they have a peeing problem), "Dougie" and "Ron and Ginnie Weasley". Ron and Ginnie are brother and sister, and Ginnie absolutely refuses to associate with any humyns. She simply just wants to hang out up on her shelf and be left alone. But Keres always talked about how much she hated them and was trying to convince Chuck to re-home the Weasleys at the new cabin. Not wanting to take them away from Dougie, who they were very attached to, she intitially refused to break up their family since the three of them were all each other had. This didn't suit Keres, so she threw a temper tantrum where she threatened to report Chuck to the police and assured her she would "fuck her over so badly" if she didn't do as she said in regards to the cats. Keres was once a legit activist, so of course we were all taken aback by the way she handled that situation and the threat of legal action she made against a member of her own family. So (almost literally) with a gun in our backs we took the Weasley's away from Dougie and brought them to the new cabin where they are still getting adjusted. It was shitty enough to have to separate them, but having to see Dougie's reaction to it was a whole other level. We had no way to tell him it wasn't our fault that he had to live in the basement by himself and that Keres is just a fucking asshole.

The great finish to this is that Chuck's parents have sided with Keres in the disagreement, and fully support her in her own personal decision to ban Chuck from the farmhouse entirely (which probably means that I'm banned for associating with her as well). Their parents recognize Chuck as a very capable person, so they felt it necessary to support Keres regardless of the situation at hand. The only purpose Chuck has for visiting the farm now is feeding the animals that still live there and during this time is looking into new, safe homes for a few of them.

So after all this, Chuck realized there wasn't a whole lot here for her anymore now that she's been blacklisted from the family farm and far past a point of making a compromise with Keres. (But, if I were Chuck I wouldn't have compromised with her either... the day a fellow activist threatens to call the cops on you over a petty disagreement is the day that relationship is over in my mind.) Now Chuck is looking into plans to move off of the island, and potentially could be coming back with me to the states if she's able to get a work permit in the next few months. Her strength and convictions are a big inspiration to me, I don't know how many people I know that could handle the immense anxiety and loss that she's felt. It's hard enough to watch this all from the side, I can't comprehend how hard it must be to have to separate and say goodbye to so many loving and brave animals that had been in her care.

During this time we've been filling our days with snorkeling at the river and beach, reading, hanging out in town and attempting to make the Weasleys a little more comfortable in their new home. Days have been passing regularly here, and though I've felt I've gotten to know Chuck incredibly well, I feel these past 3 weeks have blown by with hardly a notice. Trying my hardest to keep my spirits up and stay positive for Chuck, though things have been pretty rough around here. I am very thankful to have her as a friend, and I hope I can be as strong a person as she has been for herself and for her animals.

Snitches get stitches,
Mike XVX

*Keres is a female greek name meaning "evil spirits". I chose a fake name for this womyn that I felt suited her actions very well, as you will read later.

**meaning chicken bum. Yes, chickens lay eggs out of the same whole they defecate from and humyns eat them. disgusting.

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