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Through the Lens of Kimberly Gauthier, Rodrigo & Sydney playing in the yard, cherry blossoms

A year ago after watching commercial after commercial by the ASPCA showing sad and abused animals, I wrote a post about why I choose not to donate to the ASPCA despite the good work that they do.  It’s because of the ASPCA ads.  They break my heart, they make me cry, they give me nightmares, and they don’t inspire me to donate.

However, I do believe that that these ads did work; I believe they do what they were intended to do and that’s to inspire us to Do Something.

Thoughts on ASPCA Commercials

For the past few days, I’ve been dealing with people who are not just disagreeing with the title of the article, but they’re attacking me and my character for having written it.  One person has threatened to report me to the editor (I’m not sure which one) for this article.

What I find interesting is that it doesn’t seem like either person has read beyond the words “why I won’t donate to the ASPCA” and insist that I’m bashing and attacking that fine organization while encouraging my readers not to donate the the ASPCA.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.   So I thought I’d revisit the article here to point out the positive things that I wrote about the ASPCA in the article in question…

  • I know that the ASPCA does a lot of great work
  • The ASPCA knows what their doing, because those commercials work!

  • I imagine that the ASPCA is run by some brilliant people
  • The ASPCA is a little bit brilliant!

I am honestly baffled by how these statements can inspire such venom from strangers.  It absolutely blows me away that saying I don’t like the ASPCA ads has lead to these comments.

Here is a taste of what I’ve had to read about myself this week…

“I found your post to be very negative in tone and I dislike it even more since you expressed how much support they gave you and you turn around and say something that could discourage support of the ASPCA. It just seem ungrateful.  I take exception to this blog because it has lately become a habit for people to trash the ASPCA and when I say I love animals and speak of the ASPCA, people tell me I DO NOT SUPPORT THE ASPCA and then say they choose instead to support the local animal shelter. I wish that instead, we’d say something like, I’m so glad you do that! I also support animals through the local animal shelter.” ~ Alben R

I didn’t say I don’t support the ASPCA, I said that I don’t donate to the ASPCA.  I very much support the ASPCA and what they’re doing.   It’s important that people raise awareness.  With too many images of animal cruelty, I believe we become desensitized; with no images, we find it easier to bury our heads in the sand and pretend that there isn’t a problem.  I think the ASPCA has found a nice balance and it’s that balance that has helped me see that I can do more.  But I don’t like the commercials; I wish that they would mix in a few images of rescued dogs with their new families.

I believe supporting local rescue groups would not only be supported by the ASPCA, but encouraged by them as well.  Every little bit counts.  If anyone reading my blogs sends money to the ASPCA, I don’t think negatively about them – I think we should all do what we can.  I just choose to focus my donations locally.

“I’ve seen Kimberley state on forums that she has no compunctions about slandering small businesses, either. There’s a level of passive aggression here that I find really disturbing. It isn’t limited to the ASPCA. She bashes others on forums in a disingenuous way that is quite cutting. When confronted, out comes the, big eyes, the “Who meeee?” and the First Amendment. What you need to know about the First A: Free Speech is NOT slander nor innunendo. Free Speech is a right; slander is legally actionable.” ~ Animal Lover

I have no idea what this person is talking about.  I’ve never slandered a small business online or otherwise.  (1) I believe deeply in Karma and (2) I believe in treating people how I want to be treated.  If I don’t want people slandering me, then I won’t slander others.  However, this person has no trouble hiding behind a online name and slandering me.  If I had this online reputation, would I have such a large following, would brands be willing to risk their reputation working with me, and would I have been invited to speak at BlogPaws and to local small business groups?

online bully, mean comments, ASPCA ads

The comments have also gone offline to my personal email and it hurts, because I love dogs, I support all forms of animal rescue, and I’m stunned that these strangers are making up stories about me – painting me as this wicked person.  What I find interesting is that people can fire off hurtful things to one another online and feel justified.  We’re all animal lovers, so why are we so quick to tear each other down?

My first instinct is to give up – this is the part of blogging that I absolute can’t stand, but then I think of my Online-BFF Don Jones aka Deej.  I can hear him now saying “comments like these just mean that you’ve arrived, congratulations.  When do we celebrate?”  There is room in this huge world for all kinds of opinions.  I welcome all of them, but ask that they be polite.  I don’t attack anyone here or anywhere else online.  Attacks don’t inspire anyone to change their mind; they don’t teach anyone.  Did “Animal Lover” think that when she wrote those comments, I would have a change of heart and come around to her way of thinking?  No, I think she (or it could be a he) wrote those words specifically to hurt me.  But why?

I want to say thank you to the people who left polite comments and inspired a great discussion…

“Of all the big organizations, I do prefer the ASPCA. I won’t get into why the Humane Society is corrupt (the corporate side of things, NOT the local Humane Societies) but I also choose to give my time, resources and money to local rescues.  I always appreciate your point of view, Kimberly. Keep fighting the good fight. There will always be someone out there that disagrees with you. We only hope that we can all remain civil and discuss these topics like grown ups and agree to disagree when necessary.” ~ Kendra Dempster, local dog trainer

“In regard to the ASPCA commercials, I cannot watch them without tearing up – I also cannot watch the St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital commercials either (and I am a “Partner in Hope” donor). I am a former employee of Habitat for Humanity (and I still volunteer regularly both at home and across the world); what I loved about Habitat’s videos (never really have been commercials) is that they start just like the ASPCA, or St. Jude…with scenes of poverty housing but they always conclude with Habitat’s success stories in that region/area/etc. If only some of the other nonprofits would follow suit….then, I may be able to watch their commercials (though I would probably still tear up).” ~ Oz the Terrier, fellow pet blogger

“i dont watch tv but i do alot of computer sweeps and so on and see those ads from the aspca and YES it did lead me to become a monthly guardian at 20$ a month..i dont know exactly where my money goes,i do know that i feel i am helping them and it is a small percentage of my rescue donations..with that said i believe one purpose of having your own blog is to be able to express your opinion and to encourage discussion not attacks.” ~ Dixie Bracken, reader

“I don’t agree with everything that I read on this blog but I am sure you don’t agree with everything I say. That is what makes bloggers real. Thank you for donating to your local rescue, those are the ones that need it the most.” ~ Carma Poodale, fellow pet blogger

I don’t expect everyone to agree with everything I say and do.  Life is like a never ending sociology class; we’re constantly learning and being tested.  Graduation days come as we master a lesson just in time for the next one to be presented.  From this experience, I’ve learned that not everyone will agree with me and there will be some that express their disagreement in cruel and hurtful ways.  I can do one of two things…

  1. I can tuck my tail, run and hide.  Crying and licking my wounds, because a stranger doesn’t approve of me or
  2. I can respond to the comments, block the bullies, and keep doing something that I love and truly believe is making a difference.

 

This is a passionate topic.  I understand that there will be many people who hold opposing points of view.  I ask that everyone share their thoughts respectful and refrain from personal attacks.  Comments that detract from the discussion and seem to be an attempt to go after someone personally will not be approved and the individual(s) will be blocked from future commenting.  I really want this to be an opportunity for us to share our opinions and experience on the topic in this post – by sharing, we are given the opportunity to consider a new point of view, which, in my opinion, makes us better dog parents.  Thanks!


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