By Dr. Abi O’Connor BVM&S, MRCVS
I recently discovered a letter my grandfather had written to himself, a year before his death. The letter was titled, “My Tale of Woe” and described his feelings of helplessness in the ever-changing world. I found it strange to read my grandfather’s letter and discover how, at the end of his life, this great patriarch of our family who had such a firm command of his own life felt so feeble and out-of-control.
My grandfather ended his letter to himself by writing, “I feel terrible and there isn’t anything I can do about it. End of my tale of woe.” Reading this affected me deeply.
I decided to write my own brief tale of woe. Rather than waiting until my mid-80’s to express my concerns, I chose to write openly to the public in hope that change may come. And thus begins “My Tale of Woe.”
I have always had a strong sense of self. I’ve always known what I am passionate about and have a strong sense of morals that seem to have largely kept me out of trouble over the past few decades. As my parents instructed me as a child, I have tried to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” believing in the mantras of “what goes around comes around,” karma, juju, what have you…
I have tried to be a good person. And, a few disgruntled ex-boyfriends aside, I think I have done a pretty good job. I wake up early, go to bed late, work hard and love deeply. I strive to learn and teach, to improve myself and the lives of others.
It is because of this that I am affected so deeply by the cruelty and injustice I witness on a daily basis here. By the men who beat dogs within an inch of their lives leaving their bodies ruined and bones destroyed. By the rapists and perverts who violate the helpless. By the bystanders who watch these injustices occur and do nothing…
I hope we can live in a world where employers don’t beat their staff, where people and animals don’t live in fear, where hypocrisy and ignorance are relics of the past. I hope to live in a world where people love animals and each other selflessly, not selfishly, putting their loved one’s interests above their own in times of need. In this dark world, I hope the fearless can keep their moral compasses true and stand up to the tyrants and bullies that lie around the corner.
Until then, I ask you, the audience, to help me change the world. To give of yourselves freely in service to others. To resort to diplomacy instead of tyranny. To bring joy to the lives of others instead of fear. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “you cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.
End of my tale of woe.
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*Proper wildlife rehabilitation is an extremely biologically and ecologically responsible attitude toward all living things.*