Love vs Selfishness

It has been said that the way you treat and take care of an animal is a direct indication of the way you treat and communicate with human beings. Unfortunately, there are many people who mistreat and have no idea about how to behave towards animals, let alone the human beings around them!

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Here are some tips to consider BEFORE you bring a pet you are supposedly aiming to be responsible for, into your home:

  1. Adopt DON’T buy!

If you really love animals and want one to love unconditionally, his pedigree/how much he’s ‘worth’/where he comes from, shouldn’t matter. Don’t bring a pet into your home if all you want is fodder for social media ‘likes’, or to appear ‘cool’, or different. Better to adopt a dog or a cat who has no one to love him and care for him, rather than buy one from a breeder who, most probably, will be taken care of anyways. 

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In this regard, there are many options to look at in Malta, and many cute animals in need of help, love and attention. To name but a few organisations and NGOs who take care of such strays, there’s the AAA (Association for Abandoned Animals), Noah’s Arc, The Island Sanctuary, the MSPCA and many more, since unfortunately, there are many such abandoned animals in Malta.

2. Make sure you have the FUNDS to take care of your pet properly

BEFORE deciding to take another household member, it is imperative for you to take stock of your financial situation. Seems like common sense doesn’t it? And yet some people take in one dog, then another, then a third, and then a fourth, before they realize that ‘oh look, the dent in our budget is too big and we cannot afford this – let’s let some of the dogs go’. Don’t be selfish. Be an adult. Think about how you will finance your family before you increase it (and this goes for people who decide to have kids too actually).

3. Make sure you have the TIME to take care of your pet properly

If you are adopting a dog, cat or another pet to love and care for, money is surely not the most important thing you need to have.

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Some time ago, a friend asked me why me and my partner do not have any animals in our home since we love them a lot. My reply was that since we are out of the house for 8 – 10 hours almost every day, not to mention the fact that we love to travel and do so randomly 5 – 8 times a year, it would be very selfish of us to adopt a pet, only to pour it into someone else’s lap whenever we decided to go abroad. Not to mention the fact that he would end up spending more than three-quarters of his life alone! And all this for what? So that we could cuddle him a couple of hours every day? So that we could have someone waiting for us at home when we got back?

Some people actually do use pets in this manner. It may be because they are lonely, or because they are sad, because they live alone, or because they feel like they have no friends. They sign up for the responsibility of pets, when in the long run all they want is something to fill in the emptiness of their lives, even though this would mean that the dog or cat got to live most of his life alone in an empty house. THIS is selfishness.

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And then what happens when they find a partner and are no longer alone? What happens when their family remembers them, they find new friends, or they get a new hobby? Does their love for their pet continue unchanged, or do they just realize that he is no longer needed and try to find a way to chuck him out of their life as if he were a broken toy? That is NOT what love is. And definitely NOT the behavior of responsible adults. How can you abandon someone whom you’ve chosen to love and care for? Unless of course, he was always just a prop you were using for other purposes in the first place. And that is how ‘stray’ dogs and cats are made… 😦 

4. Make sure you have the LOCATION and SPACE to take care of a pet

Can you believe it, some people bring animals into their home as ‘companions’ only to realize that they don’t want them after all… because they ‘ruin the furniture’?! Seriously? First of all, how come you didn’t think of this before? And secondly, if your furniture is more important than a living breathing creature who loves you and wants to be with you, well then, you are not worthy of having one! Again… SELFISHNESS

And what about those who abandon their pets when they decide to relocate to a new and more expensive house? Again, ‘because we don’t want our new furniture to be ruined’? Wow, that’s love for you! Ugh!

If one decides to be responsible for a pet, that should be for life. You can’t chuck a cat/dog out of your house simply because you realize his presence has become ‘inconvenient’. Would you do that if you had a child and suddenly realized that playing mummy or daddy was not what you thought it would be? 

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So, yes, I feel very strongly about this subject, because I genuinely love animals and always have. Ever since I was little, no animal of mine has ever lived in a cage, and I hate leashes with a passion. Currently, I realize that it wouldn’t be fair to bring an animal to live with me and my partner because our lifestyle simply means that we cannot give any pet the necessary time and attention he would deserve, so instead of selfishly getting one anyways, we just don’t.

Some people would say that at least if you adopt a dog, he’d be living cozily in your home instead of with a multitude of other strays at a sanctuary – but then again, better for said dog to be adopted from the sanctuary by a loving family who can actually spend quality time with him and take him out rather than him spending his days alone in an empty house.

After all, this is what love is all about. Thinking of the other, instead of only about yourself. Which is why, coming back to the argument I mentioned at the beginning of the article, I truly believe that the way you treat your pets, shows the way you also treat people. If all you think about is yourself, then there is no actual relationship to speak of, be it a dog or a human being. Pets, unfortunately, don’t have the mental faculties or physical capacity to open the front door and walk out of your life if they are fed up with your selfish behavior. Humans do. 

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Malta – The National Museum of Natural History

Natural history can be defined as being ‘the study of natural objects… the study of plants, animals, and sometimes ancient human civilizations’ (Merriam Webster Dictionary). This encompasses scientific research, but is not limited to it, being an ever-evolving discipline stemming back from the studies of Aristotle and other philosophers in the ancient world, continuing during the Middle Ages, and being further defined with the onset of scientific biology and disciplines such as zoology, palaeontology, botany and geology, amongst others.

In Malta, those interested in learning more about our islands’ origins and local natural history, can visit the National Museum of Natural History located in the old fortified medieval city of Mdina, that is the old capital city of Malta, which is situated in the Northern region of Malta. This museum is to be found within Vilhena Palace, also known as the Magisterial Palace of Justice or Palazzo Pretoria. This is a French-Baroque 18th century building named after Grand Master Antonio Manoel de Vilhen, who originally commissioned it. The Palace was further used as a temporary hospital during a cholera outbreak in the 19th century and converted into a sanatorium by the British military during the 20th century. The sanatorium was closed in 1956, after which the Palace was opened to the public hosting Malta’s National Natural Museum, in 1973.

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The collections exhibited at the National Museum of Natural History include samples of flora and fauna, fossils, rocks, minerals, and dioramas of Maltese habitats. Display areas within the museum cover topics such as Maltese geology and palaeontology, exotic mammals, marine fauna, insects, shells and birds and other topics like human evolution. One hall focuses on the skeletal anatomy of vertebrates, one is dedicated to birds of the Maltese cliff habitat, and one shows the diversity of animals that frequent valleys. Another interesting display highlights the ecological importance of the islands of Filfla, Fungus Rock, St. Paul’s and Comino.

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The national bird; the Blue Rock Thrush (il-Merill), and the national plant of Malta; the Maltese Centaury (Widnet il-Baħar) are focused upon in a special section of the museum. There is also a reference library on natural sciences with over 4,000 titles mainly dedicated to the eighteenth and nineteenth century publications.

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The museum also houses historically important collections with over 10,000 rocks, 3,500 birds, 200 mammals, eggs and nests, over 200 types of fish, thousands of shells and insects from Malta and abroad and a very impressive fossils collection. The current display not only covers insects, birds and habitats but also human evolution and the marine ecosystem.

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Whether you are a local, or a tourist, there are many reasons to visit the National Museum of Natural History. Apart from the educational value inherent in the exhibitions, with interesting features covering various aspects of Maltese wildlife, the impressive Baroque style of the Palace itself is more than enough to make such a visit worthwhile.

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The Museum can be found at: Vilhena Palace, Saint Publius Square, Mdina, and it opens for the public from Monday to Sunday, from 9.00am to 5.00pm.

For more information, please visit – https://www.facebook.com/National-Museum-of-Natural-History-Mdina-MALTA-152354261490652/

This article was written by me and originally published on LivinginMalta.com

Getting rid of the Garbage

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that one of the great joys of coming back home after visiting another country is taking a look through the photos and videos one has taken, and marveling again at the places one has been to. I usually do this bit by bit as I slowly upload my photos on social media, while savoring each memory of those times for as long as I can (or at least, before the next trip abroad comes along!)

During the last 5 years I have been to Sicily 4 or 5 times, and this Mediterranean island, which is the closest one to the Maltese archipelago, never ceases to amaze me. I admit, part of the fascination is the fact that it is so much like my own Malta… and yet, so different too. In fact I previously wrote an article about it, which mainly focused on the historical ties between the two islands, and which one can read here. However with the positive, unfortunately, one also has to face the negative aspects of each country, and while Malta and Sicily have a lot of amazing things in common, such as their heritage, architecture, art, food, etc, they also have one other thing in common which they could well do without.

I am talking about garbage.

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Every country, indeed every place where there is human habitation, generates an amount of garbage. That is normal. The responsible and acceptable thing to do of course, is to take care of this waste and recycle it, or at least dispose of it in some constructive way which does not damage the environment or ourselves.

Unfortunately, that much appreciated lassaize-faire attitude which both the Maltese and the Sicilians have in common, is, I think, the issue from which the waste-related problem stems. The so-called ‘u ijwa‘ (an expression basically meaning ‘I don’t give a damn’) attitude is why people simply don’t care enough to pick up their trash and take it with them whenever they are in the countryside for a picnic for example, or at the beach for a swim. What’s worse, larger junk and discarded appliances, such as BBQs, mattresses, fridges, etc, which in Malta is even picked up free of charge by local councils once or twice a week from the front of one’s own household, is, for some incomprehensible reason, left outside to rust and deteriorate, besmirching our natural habitat, instead.

And this is what I found in Sicily, and as I was looking at which photos to upload in my online album, the issue became even more evident. There were photos in my camera which I discarded, simply because the trash overwhelmed the beauty and nature around it. Why are humans so destructive? No other mammal or indeed, no other animal, is such a parasite on nature as humanity. And that is surely nothing to be proud of. 

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The worse is that these photos are just a pale reflection of what I saw – and here I mean both the beauty of Sicily, and the corrosive trash left lying around it. The only thing I can do, is hope that this ‘u ijwa‘ attitude is slowly eroded out of the population, either through education, or through the consequences of learning that living in one’s own filth, is of detriment both to the mind and the body, and is one of the unhealthiest things one can do. Sounds like common sense doesn’t it? So, how come we have this issue?

Against the Law and still nothing is done!! The Bullshit of certain Facebook groups!!

A couple of weeks ago, someone I know entered me as a member into a group she and some of her friends had opened on Facebook, to support a cause I knew nothing about, without my consent or knowledge. She just up and added me (and my bf too), without saying anything. Later on when I asked her about it, she said she had added me because she wanted me to write an article about this cause – basically in order to ask people for money.

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Even had I been all in favor of this cause (which I am not, seeing as to how I am against layabouts acting rashly and irresponsibly, and then asking for donations from the public, and sanctions from the government, just to pursue their personal agendas), I simply hate being forced into a Facebook group without my knowledge and having to endure the barrage of posters, comments and random statuses on my newsfeed, not to mention the millions of emails linked to that. And secondly, seriously, did she really think I would write an article about this asking people for their hard earned money??

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I gave the ‘Group’ in question a piece of my mind, regarding the issue they were asking money for in particular. They obviously did not like this, but I did not remain to see their reaction, since I immediately deleted my membership. It is important to note, that though I gave them my reasons why I thought this issue was totally inappropriate, I did so politely and wished them well before withdrawing my membership. I also contacted the person who had included me in the membership list privately,and told her why I did not think their cause was just, and was not interested in participating, much less write an article linking me to it!!!

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Apparently she resented the fact that I did not share her opinion, and she unfriended me. lol. Well dear, you shouldn’t have brought the whole thing to my attention if you did not want my honest opinion about it right? Anyways this was the second time in two weeks that this person had forcefully integrated me in one of her many Facebook groups without my knowledge, and frankly if she had not unfriended me, I would have, so thanks for sparing me the effort of clicking my mouse. Another thing, not everyone is a stay-at-home unemployed Facebook addict, so good for you if you have time for all this Facebook lobbying – I don’t, nor do I wish to. When I have some free time, I write or read 🙂

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TO MAKE MATTERS WORSE

Said Facebook group, a week later, created a petition on change.org. I would have thought nothing of it EXCEPT that they listed all the members of the group… AND MY NAME WAS THERE?!

Seriously? So, not only had I written a long statement about why I didn’t want to be a member and quit, now you also put my name on your petition for people to send you money?! Are you out of your bloody mind? Do you know what DATA PROTECTION is?? Do you know that putting up someone’s name and/or personal details online without their consent (or even knowledge) is AGAINST THE LAW?!

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I contacted change.org and told them the information on the petition was incorrect and they told me I had to contact the person who had made the petition in the first place, in order for them to delete my name. I found the creator and contacted her on facebook, but she never replied. After a week of me sending her messages, she still had not replied, although I know she was on facebook as I saw her posting photos! I contacted change.org again and told them I had gotten nowhere, and am still currently waiting for a reply.

This ‘petition’ boasts that there are 108 active group members, of which I, seemingly, am one. Since my name was put there without my knowledge, I must wonder, how many of these so-called members actually know about it?

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What else can I do to get my name out of there??

Oh and by the way – in the end I DID WRITE AN ARTICLE… AGAINST your stupid cause! I did not mention anyone by name or the cause in particular, but I DO HOPE YOU READ IT AND APPRECIATE MY CONTRIBUTION!

http://www.eve.com.mt/2015/02/01/passionate-about-animals-love-or-just-selfishness-in-disguise/

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Cutting off puppy’s body parts… NOT cruelty??

This morning I came across an article on a local newspaper which really disgusted me. I mean really, how can certain people be so bloody STUPID and cruel??

The article was about a guy who was fined for cutting off two stray dog’s tails himself, without anesthetic or going to a professional (he didn’t want to spend the money I assume). The puppies were in pain for days without any medication and for no reason except that this guy who decided to ‘adopt’ them (he left them alone in the fields anyway, just took them food from time to time) took it upon himself to do this for no other reason than the ‘trend’. I’m guessing this because what on earth could a dog with his tail intact do wrong? What’s the point in cutting off dog’s tails anyway!?

By the way you can read the article here – http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20141127/local/man-fined-for-cutting-puppies-tails.545891

A tail is part of an animal’s natural body – it helps them keep their balance, run faster, and swat off parasites like flies and gnats – why on earth should a person want to get rid of it? Just for a fashion statement, or to make them look more aggressive? Would you cut off your children’s toes for a fashion statement? I’m guessing not right?

taillessWhat about those who cut off their dogs’ EARS as a fashion statement? I love dogs’ and cats’ ears, especially the tips, they are so soft and fluffy. But some people seem to despise certain bodily parts apparently, so of course, since they belong to ‘just animals’ they feel free to come them off! If ear tips bug you so much, why don’t you cut off your own eh??

Does this look ‘in’ and ‘funky’ to you??

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NOT!!!

And I was really and especially disgusted when I read the comments to said article! People actually said that 800 euros was too harsh and that everyone else was doing it anyways, so why was this poor guy fined? After all he was being kind and ‘adopting’ these dogs right? (Even though he left them alone in a field for days, and they were just newborns!!).

ARE YOU FUDGING KIDDING ME?? It would have been better if he had never set eyes on them for sure! I don’t think that if anyone had a choice about being ‘adopted’ only to have body parts chopped off, they would be happy to do so, do you?! And if everyone else is doing it, then ‘everyone else’ should be fined too!

Clearly there’s a large percentage of people who either like chopping animal body parts (bloody sadists), or actually think animals don’t feel pain or emotions. YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELVES.