When All is Said and Done


When the Michael Vick controversy heated up, I listened to the claims of racism and laughed. We’d always been here, we animal rescuers. We yelled about Amish people and horses for slaughter and Michael Vick with equal ferocity. Don’t try that racist card on us, I thought.

I still think that’s true, but with caveats. When I joined a group working on boycotting the companies sponsoring Vick for NFL honors and endorsing him, well, suddenly there were a bunch of people there I didn’t recognize. People using slurs and suggesting punishments containing racial overtones.

The moderator of the group held the line; he threw off people who referred to Vick’s skin color as part of his crimes. In every sense of those words. And he banned people who referenced political parties or the protests where black athletes knelt during the national anthem. The moderator worked hard to remind us we were there for the dogs.

Still, in the end I had to leave that group. Vick deserves no honors – and don’t tell me America won’t forgive a black man. Forgiveness is between Vick and God. HONORS is between the NFL and all the people who will boycott them because he is being honored. Vick also deserves no racial ugliness, and it is disappointing that the two have gotten mixed up.

Because when the freeloaders and the users and the fast-action racists have gone, we animal rights activists will still be here, fighting for those who cannot speak for themselves. I’m sorry it seems racial. For those of us who were here before Vick and will be here after him, it isn’t.

And then there are people saying that if we care about X but not Y, we’re doing it wrong. Two white evangelical males asked why I didn’t invest this amount of energy into fighting abortion. Because God made me an animal lover, so that’s what I do.

Animal activists get this a lot. A friend gave me $3000 to save the life of a kitten with a corrective surgery. I thanked her on Facebook. And suddenly I was on a list of people being hit up for donations for kids with cancer, and told that if I cared more about cats than children, I was a bad woman. Not a bad person. A bad woman.

Nice try. Outrage belongs to those who hold it. Maybe some of us rescue animals because we think the human race is doomed. Maybe because we feel innocence from animals we don’t from people. Or maybe because that’s our decision. It doesn’t matter, in this divided America.

I am sorry, sorry, sorry, that friends with black skin could interpret our decisions on fighting animal abuse as racist. That evangelical white friends might see it as putting animal life above humans.

When all is said and done, I help the animals because that’s where my strengths are, this is how God made me, and they deserve it.

12 thoughts on “When All is Said and Done

  1. Well said, Wendy. Please keep up the good work! I am dealing with my own round of negative messages for fighting a similar battle. A good friend counseled me to never let bullies redirect my focus. I applaud your advocacy for the innocent animals who depend on us for protection.

  2. I agree so much with your blog post.
    I have been told I can’t be Christian and not forgive Michael Vick. It is not my place to do that. I do not think honoring him in the pro-bowl is appropriate. There are several players who have done good works without ever committing crimes who could be honored. Sometimes I think the NFL just wants controversy.
    God made me that way is my best response to people who question my motivation about animals. Science wondered the same and conducted a study and found that people who love animals have a part in their brain which responds to animals. In fact, with some this part is slightly larger.

  3. God Bless you Wendy. As an animal lover I totally agree with you do not mix up a group that is there for one purpose and turn into another. Just keep doing what your doing .

  4. You have nothing to apologise for. I have a slightly different take on Vick, in that I believe he truly has repented, in the original sense. He has become an animal rights advocate, but rather quietly, because he understands how his past makes him look. I don’t think it’s just a PR move bc he’s been doing it long past the “probation” point, past the point where anyone is watching.

    The NFL has a poor track record when it comes to who it does and doesn’t honor, so I don’t disagree with the idea that Vick isn’t the best candidate, but I also don’t have a problem with him getting a job.

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