Miriam’s Musings

Don’t allow the cry of an injured animal go unheeded!

When I hear about an animal being neglected, abused, or abandoned, I’m filled with fury. As a former animal welfare officer – now a volunteer – I know that incidents of cruelty perpetrated on the most vulnerable and the most innocent of our society is becoming more commonplace. And when I say ‘society’, I mean right here on our own doorstep, readers!

Typically, the animals most at risk of being abused are dogs, cats, horses and livestock, with direct violence being the most prevalent crime. This is followed closely by neglect and abandonment, resulting in thousands of creatures dying horrifically painful deaths year in, year out across Ireland.

Now while direct violence is the most obvious form of mistreatment, animal neglect is a more common type of abuse – and not just by the animal’s owner. I’m talking about neglect by those who see an injured and suffering little creature, one desperately in need of help, and, instead of doing something, they ignore the poor pet and walk by.

This brings me to Álainn (which means beautiful as Gaeilge – as named by her rescuer). She was beautiful. A beautiful, sentient soul who suffered, and died needlessly.

Last week, one of the volunteers involved with TNR South Roscommon was notified by people from a local village, who reported seeing a cat that was ‘limping across the road’. They explained that kitty ‘was in a bad way’ and being decent, humane individuals, they were concerned. Volunteer Áine answered the call, retrieved the kitty, and, despite the late hour, John Finnegan of Cloverhill Vets – our family’s vet, as it happens – administered emergency treatment to this beautiful little creature.

Sadly, due to the severity of Álainn’s wounds, in a bid to try and save her precious little life, her damaged leg required amputation. The injury had become infested with maggots; fly larvae that had literally grown inside her decaying body, feasting on her tissue. Her other paws were bleeding badly. I’m not a veterinarian, but I’ve lectured in animal welfare, and I know this infestation did not happen overnight. Therefore I believe (as do my fellow advocates) that long before these kind locals called, someone must have seen Álainn on the street, dragging her broken little body around the village, crying and begging for help. If so, that someone ignored her. Shame on them.

My reason for telling you about Álainn is not to shock you, rather it’s to ask you, nay beseech you, to please, please, if you see an animal in distress, don’t walk by and assume someone else has acted; pick up the phone and call your local rescue or the Gardaí. Don’t allow their cries for help to go unheeded, because to do so, you are, in my opinion, adding to their pain and suffering.

I believe one of the most powerful tools we have for preventing cruelty to animals – and others – is education. It’s clear that anyone who witnessed Álainn’s plight and walked on could have benefitted from having someone plant the seeds of kindness early in their lives. If they had, I’m certain they’d have been capable of feeling enough compassion for this helpless little creature to the extent that their intervention would have led to the prevention of her death.

Yes – heartbreakingly, this kitty’s injuries were so severe and had gone ignored for so long, that despite everyone’s valiant attempts to save Álainn’s life, (mainly volunteer Áine and wonderful vet John and his staff), she passed over Rainbow Bridge, leaving everyone feeling utterly distraught. I’m sobbing my heart out writing this. I’m also mad as hell and wondering what’s so wrong with humanity that some people will only provide help to those who have two legs, caring nothing for those with four?

TNR South Roscommon, run by my good friend Orla Hanley, is not a rescue charity – it’s a trap, neuter and release charity, desperately in needs of funds. However, despite that, when the good people of this particular local village called, volunteer Áine didn’t hesitate. Despite the late hour, she rushed to the scene, and got Álainn to vet John Finnegan and his staff who fought valiantly to save her life. However, had someone called sooner, particularly anyone who spotted this poor creature’s difficulty, it’s very possible that Álainn would be recovering in foster care, preparing for her forever home.

RIP little Álainn, your life mattered to us. We are so sorry we weren’t given the opportunity to save you.


Too much, too young…nine-year-olds are not WAGs in training!

I’m no pearl-clutching conservative, but I have to ask who in their right mind decided it was a good idea to stock ‘sexy’ items of clothing and aim them at children?

Let me explain: high street retail chain New Look (a fashion chain I like) have been facing somewhat of a backlash this week for selling padded bikini bras for little girls in their ‘915’ range. The ‘915’ range means that these specific items are being targeted at nine-year-old to fifteen-year-old girls, and whatever about the upper age limit, in my opinion no nine-year-old needs, nor should be wearing, a padded bra. I mean, what are they…WAGs in training?

In the interest of being fair and balanced, let me say that New Look has defended its products, saying they ‘comply with industry standards’. I’m sure they do, this is a highly reputable retailer. However, these padded bikini bras are highly inappropriate for the simple reason the product is teaching young girls that their only ascribed value is their sexuality and physical sex appeal, totally excluding all of their other wonderful characteristics.

I believe that when individuals, and in this case, impressionable nine-year-old little girls, are being held to a standard that equates their physical attractiveness above all else, that individual is being sexually objectified.

Maybe I’m getting cranky, but despite the fact I’ve shopped in New Look in the past and will do in the future because they carry good quality, affordable items, I’m afraid that for me, their ‘915 range’ padded bikinis falls under the ‘spectacular fail’ category.


Roll on the Rossie summer!

Roscommon has now taken a major step towards getting back to business, and, it has to be said, normality! In fact, as far as ‘traditional’ pubs are concerned, last weekend was the first time they could reopen their doors since the beginning of this pandemic. Even though our local pubs, coffee shops and restaurants can only provide outdoor services, (for now), I have to say, as far as their facilities are concerned, the Rossie business fraternity certainly did themselves proud!

Comhghairdeas to everyone on pulling out all the stops when it came to adapting their premises. You couldn’t move for the amount of diners/Bank Holiday revellers enjoying the outdoor heaters, gazebos, shelters and windbreakers, etc. Yes, the wonderful weather was a major factor in getting people out and about, but hey, we must also acknowledge those business owners who clearly went above and beyond to provide what was a comfortable, enjoyable and exciting hospitality experience for all. Roll on July!