Since I know, almost as a fact, that Trevor will not be put down by the Bylaw Services Department, I can sit back and enjoy this story as it unfolds.
I know that Trevor is safe because I’ve been here before. I was a reporter in northern Ontario in the early 80s when some whales were trapped in the ice in Canada’s Arctic. The logical thing to do would be to let the local First Nation harvest them. But the public’s ears perked up and it became “a story”.
So, hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent on helping them find their way to open water.
It was worth the money, in a way, because it was a situation that united us all, regardless of which side we were on, as we examined the value of life.
Here it is, a new century in another part of Canada, with the same basic story in which there are no bad guys.
Humane Society Yukon found a good home for Trevor; Trevor acted out as the abused dog he was (OK, his former owner was the one bad guy in this); the new owner turned Trevor over to Bylaw Services because, for whatever reason, he was dangerous; and Bylaw Services followed procedures laid out by representatives of us, our city council.
The public has a right to change its mind on such policies and, via Kevin Sinclair’s injunction, Yukon Supreme Court Justice Randall Wong ordered a stay of euthanization.
Do you think someone will come forward and offer to adopt Trevor and be able to prove he will live out his dog days in safety? You bet. End of story.
Meanwhile, one side of the public thrilled to the noble mission to save Trevor by assigning human traits to him. Meanwhile, the other side claimed he is a dog.
Now, I am still terribly confused about why seals should live and cows should die, but I completely understand why people are so passionate about Trevor’s well-being.
We love our dogs and it is easy to believe they love us. They wag their tails at the sight of us and they like to play and cuddle.
If we thought about it too much, these things could be explained away. But we choose not to think about it too much because that would rob us of reliable sources of affection in our day.
So then we hear that one of us human beings treated Trevor, the dog, cruelly and we feel morally obligated to protect him.
Him. Trevor. Those of us who would happily chow down on a cow, cooked over a barbecue, or those of us who would buy a dog from a breeder instead of adopting an abandoned dog from the shelter, have put their names on letters to the editor and petitions for all to see.
Some say they are silly; I say they are sweet. They are moved by their passions and not by reason.
They have drawn a line in the sand that says, “Society is measured by how it treats those who are different from us. And our hearts are big enough to include animals.”
I would think that some of these people would agree that putting down a dog that bites is a good general policy. I am sure they understand that rehabilitating a mean dog costs more and takes longer than processing a good dog that was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
But we got to know Trevor … not as a person, but as a dog. And there is nothing wrong with that.
I’ve seen people get weepy over selling a car; I’ve seen people sleep with a favourite blanket; I’ve seen people name the lobster they are about to eat and then order the halibut instead.
Yup, this has been a good month for Trevor and it’s been a good month for all of us. We have taken part in an exercise that could re-calibrate our perceptions of the value of life.