A few days ago, our best friend, had to have one of her long time dog companions euthanized. We were all very sad and grieved.
And then I thought of the stunning accomplishment and inspiration this dog represents.
Our friend only has rescue animals, and this one, Lali is her name, short for Lalita, had an especially gruesome story. Before she was rescued, her previous owners had her locked in a windowless metal shed (in Southern California) for days and weeks, often without food and water. Lali spent these torture times oriented only on sounds and any human contact was painful or threatening to be painful. The same was true for light. Light was associated with people and with their mistreatment of the animal.
After being rescued, Lali gradually was able to associate with our friend, but no one else. For many months, perhaps even years, any other person coming into her vicinity had her panic, growl threateningly and retreat under something or run.
Lali was still in “her” metal shed.
Finally, on one of our visits, I felt into her and decided to reach into Lali’s internalized metal shed. I moved on the floor as close to her as possible and then simply did not retreat from her growl but stayed, reached for her head, and she quieted down. The rest of this “soul retrieval” from the hot metal shed proceeded much more quickly and easily than we all had anticipated.
Now, Lali’s physical presence may be gone, but her story is not. Her story is a stunning inspiration, that anyone’s soul can come back from hell. It is a story that shows us there is rarely no hope.
Now what may seem like a jump, a jump to the millions of humans who live in their internalized windowless metal shed:
Considering the staggering prison rate in the US of nearly ten times that of other western nations like, for example, Germany . the issue of hope and Lali’s inspiration becomes a potential beacon into the maybe as much as 10 percent of the population in the US who are affected by incarceration, for whom the fact of someone in prison is a daily reality of their lives. This makes as much as twenty-five million people (25,000,000), which is roughly equivalent to the entire population of countries like Romania or Australia. Let’s call our internal prison affected “country” Prisonia. An archaic dictionary translates the word as “a state characterized by lack of freedom and rights and complete dependency on another”.
Many rescue animals come from Prisonia. Probably most of them.
What is needed is hope and inspiration.
Lali gives us that.
Now imagine if animals, abandoned by Prisonians, who simply have never been taught trust in their ability to give or to receive love, if these animals were given to actual prisoners in a situation of hopelessness, their windowless metal shed, if you will. When there is a being who doesn’t ask for papers or reputation or wrap sheet, but simply accepts a human being and connects, the human partner learns to connect as well, she or he learns to feel, to care, to love.
This is rehabilitation
However, since we know how lucrative poverty and hopelessness and dependency are for the rulers of Prisonia, real rehabilitation may be Bad for Prisoness..
Still, if enough people learn to understand Lali’s story . . .
(*) 78 per 100,000 in Germany vs 698 in the US, not including the inmates in juvenile detention, nor those held in U.S. territories, military facilities, and in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention, and in jails in Indian country.