This is not your usual know more about Covid 19 story or article. Neither is this a story on social distancing and quarantine guidelines while the country, specifically in the Island of Luzon, is on mandated enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
Needless to say, by this fourth week of lockdown, we basically know all these facts and information about Covid 19. As we while away our time during this quarantine period we are actually just waiting and anticipating what will happen next as we tinker on our laptops or cellphones. And then an important question pops: is loving and caring for your pets amidst the global Covid 19 pandemic, bad or insensitive?
A post by the mayor of Gapan, Nueva Ecija in Facebook last week earned the ire not just of netizens from Gapan but in other regions as well. Mayor Emeng Pascual posted an appeal to help locate somebody using the account name Anthana Namguz Ed Wo. Anthana thanked the city government in a post in Facebook, and said his dogs will now have something to eat too.
Mayor Pascual wanted to find Anthana to get back the rice which to him should be given to humans only.
As expected, the emotions of netizens were roused from their slumber. Anthana was bashed for his being insensitive, for wasting the resources of the government when more humans are hungry and in need of food.
According to Mayor Pascual, during his press conference on the matter, he was surprised that there were 5,000 netizens who responded and who were so angry at the FB post of Anthana.
Anthana, having been called upon and presented in the said press conference, apologized to the mayor. His explanation was simple. He said his dogs are his family and whatever he eats, his dogs eat too. He apologized for having made a mistake in posting about his dogs not going to get hungry and thanking the mayor for the sack of rice given.
The sack of rice was earlier taken back by the barangay captain from Anthana but the same official later brought the sack back to Anthana’s apartment.
But Anthana was already subjected to cyber bullying. He was bashed, humiliated, threatened and his person, as a gay individual, insulted and degraded.
What did he do to deserve such social media attack and shaming? While Anthana expressed his thanks to the giver, the Facebook post was in itself, loaded with meaning and varied interpretation. While the general perception is that it could have been worded better, the reality is not all may have that gift of good communication.
Mayor Pascual’s post — an appeal to find the person ( Anthana) with the intention to take back his relief allocation—fueled up what was simply a thank you post.
The subsequent press conference, for whatever its purpose, brought to light not the plight of the hungry and angry constituents or netizens, but rather the love of one person to his dogs whom he had considered his family.
This love shone and endeared Anthana both to the pet loving netizens and to those who are not pet owners who followed the viral story.
This incident involving Anthana who we now know as Jonathan brought so many realizations.
While the Covid 19 virus and the current ECQ have made some of us focus on the basic needs, family and how to make further sacrifices, others however, directed their attention on negativity bordering on selfishness.
While part of our realization is that the cause of the pandemic is man’s continuing disrespect, use and abuse of animals, we have not learned or will never learn our lesson that animals are part of our ecological system and that we need to co-exist with them: that how we treat the animals impacts on our environment, our food production and most of all on human health.
Simply, as in this case, some people treat animals like their family. They take that effort to prepare for their pet’s food, share their food with them and even their home and their bed! In fact, they call them their “furbabies” and treat them as if their pets are their children.
To some, animals are just commodities. They are aware of them because they are their source of food, or even part of their wardrobe. But there is more to these animals than being a commodity. They breathe the same air we breathe. They share the same environment we live in. Most of all they can get hurt and they suffer from human’s doing.
As for Jonathan, his dogs are his family. He shares his food with them. He lives with them and his dogs are his source of happiness.
A bad post gone viral turned out good anyway as we found love prevailing during this crisis.
As the netizens learned about Jonathan’s story, more help came, even more than the one sack of rice that was almost taken away from him.
The Animal Kingdom Foundation, along with its supporters, sent dog food for Jonathan’s furbabies and food supplies for Jonathan.
Truth is that when your intention is good, no matter how bad the situation is, it will come around to benefit the one with a good heart.
Editor’s Note: AKF rehabilitates and re-homes the rescued dogs and a few cats from its shelter in Capas, Tarlac. This haven for the rescued animals was built in 2006 and is purely operating on donations. Please visit #AKFanimalrescue on FB or email AKF at: [email protected]