PUNISHMENT FITS THE CRUEL CRIME
I HAD the most beautiful dog growing up. Toby was my playmate, my babysitter, my transportable pillow and most of all, my best friend. If I picked up one of his bones mid-chew, he would wait patiently for me to return it – tail wagging and an embarrassed expression that said: “Oh, you can have it if you really want”. Those jaws could have ripped my arm apart, but he never so much as snarled at me. He taught me one of the most important lessons of all: to be gentle with any one or thing smaller or more vulnerable than myself. When our house was burgled, the thieves kicked Toby so hard in the ribs that he had internal bruising. He limped for weeks. As the police were leaving, my mum mentioned off-hand that our dog had been kicked. The officer told her that if they did catch them, they would go to jail longer for animal cruelty than for stealing our computer. Even at seven years old, I distinctly remember thinking: ‘Yes. That is the correct order of things’.