Lessons learned from the pandemic

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InMaricopa Magazine Editor Justin Griffin [File]

Our actions affect others.

That has to be the biggest takeaway from the COVID-19 pandemic we’ve all lived through for the past two years now.

There are people who want to argue about vaccines and whether a mask is necessary. But that’s not the point I’m trying to make.

At the end of the day, the real test of humanity is, how are we treating each other during these difficult times?

If you watch the national news, it doesn’t appear we’re passing any tests in how we take care of one another.

And how are we treating the beings around us who can’t defend themselves, namely our pets?

I’ve grown accustomed to humans treating each other like dogs. But I’m not used to the idea of treating dogs like dogs.

If you visit the Pinal County animal shelter, it’s pretty apparent that while dog may be man’s best friend, it doesn’t seem to go the other way.

Last year, there were 469 pet surrenders. And then there were nearly 1,400 strays picked up.

Those numbers tell me that 469 people at least did the responsible thing and discarded their pet at the shelter. And it also tells me three times as many people just put their pets out on the street and were fine with letting Mother Nature take its course.

These were the animals people relied upon during their darkest periods of isolation in the midst of the pandemic shutdowns.

I have lived with animals all my life. And you start to realize they have feelings, too. They relate to you in ways you can’t even understand. And after spending so much time with them during lockdown, how do you just kick them out of the house and let them fend for themselves?

It’s even harder to imagine, when you consider there were days during the summer where it was close to 120° out there. Water is not always easily available. And food isn’t either, but these pets were more likely to become food for wildlife.

I worry about the animals in the county’s triple-crowded shelter. And I worry about the ones who never made it there and died along side of the road.

But I also worry about humanity.

What does this say about us?

This editor’s letter was first published in the February edition of InMaricopa magazine.