PUN­ISH­MENT FITS THE CRUEL CRIME

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Western Opinion - Rosanna Can­dler - re­porter

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’.

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