“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged
by the way its animals are treated.”—Mahatma Gandhi
Our nation has a long way to go regarding treatment of animals. Whether it’s our pets, farm and zoo animals, or wildlife, some people look on animals more as possessions than as living creatures of value. In contrast, two teenagers from Colorado believe that “every animal, no matter the personality or species, deserves a second chance.”
Ariana Brooks and Tabitha Musich, both 16 years old, have been lifelong animal lovers. No animal is too insignificant to escape their care. From moving grasshoppers out of the road to rescuing abused farm animals to reuniting cats and dogs with their owners, the teens have been saving animals for as long as they can remember. Last year, Ariana and Tabitha opened Save a Soul Animal Rescue. Located on the five-acre and forty-acre homesteads known as Cottontail Acres and Western Skies Ranch in Calhan, Colorado, Save a Soul is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) animal rescue. Since its founding last year, Save a Soul has rescued twenty animals.
“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”—Anatole France
The girls take the work seriously. They are not simply rescuing animals and leaving their future welfare to chance. With the help of volunteers and community fund-raisers, they provide love and attention to every animal that Save a Soul takes in, and they ensure that every animal is spayed or neutered and receives any necessary medical treatment and proper immunizations. They have developed a rigorous interview process to screen the people who want to adopt their animals to ensure that every animal goes to a safe, loving forever home.
Sometimes, despite their best efforts, a new home doesn’t work out. When this happens, Ariana and Tabitha take the animal back and look for a new home. All animals that cannot be placed in the community will make Cottontail Acres their forever home.
The question is not, “Can they reason?” nor “Can they talk?” but “Can they suffer?”?Jeremy Bentham
Some people consider the plight of humans and the plight of animals an either/or proposition. You either care about the welfare of humanity OR you care about the welfare of animals. You cannot do both.
In reality, a generous soul finds room for all living creatures and finds ways to treat all with kindness and compassion. Ariana and Tabitha exemplify what one or two people can accomplish if they care enough and work hard enough.
Animal rescues come and go. It’s a difficult calling. Tabitha and Ariana are determined to continue their work rescuing creatures that cannot save themselves.
On this Presidents’ Day, consider what this quote from Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth president of the United States, means to you: “I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being.”