The past week has been an emotional one in our country. The events that occurred in Central Park and in Minneapolis have left me feeling sad and concerned about the state of our society. I am not one to invite conflict or to make political statements. My work is the opposite of political and contentious. It aims to prevent, reduce, and eliminate the presence of conflict in the lives of people and their pets.
In the field of animal welfare, “The Five Freedoms,” originally established in 1965 by Britain’s Farm Animal Welfare Council, are internationally accepted standards by which we measure the humane treatment of all species. The Five Freedoms are:
Freedom from hunger and thirst
Freedom from discomfort
Freedom from pain, injury, and disease
Freedom to express normal behavior
Freedom from fear and distress.
I’ve been thinking about these five freedoms quite a bit over the past several days and realizing that many Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color in this country are not afforded these freedoms, particularly that last one, “freedom from fear and distress.” How sad that we can articulate the belief that this should be a freedom for non-human animals of all species when we are unable to provide an environment in which it is true for all humans.
As a person and as an animal behavior and animal welfare professional, I am passionate about advocating for those who have no voice. I can never know what it means or feels like to be a cat or a dog but that doesn’t stop me from trying to improve the quality of their lives and the ways that people treat them.
As a service provider and business owner, I want to be clear that I strive to support people of all ages, gender identities, races, colors, religions, sexual orientations, and socioeconomic classes as they advocate for themselves and their pets. I will do whatever I can to make my services accessible and affordable to anyone who is experiencing a behavior problem with their pet or who wants to learn more about how to improve the quality of their relationship with an animal. I also want to help young and other emerging professionals who are under-represented in the field of pet training and pet behavior.
When it comes to the Five Freedoms, I may not be able to ensure all of them for the human members of my diverse community, but I want to assure every person that they can contact me to help alleviate some of the discomfort, distress, and pain that they may be feeling due to challenges with their pets. They can do so without fear and with the knowledge that I will work to bridge cultural, communication and any other gaps we may encounter in our work together.