British Sentimentality or Responsibility?

Sentimentality or Responsibility?

We were watching a programme a few nights ago about Hurricane Katrina and what happened to all the pets that were left behind. People were told to leave their pets with food and water as they would only be gone for a few days. They were told they couldn't take them with them as there would be no room for them at the evacuation centres. The reality was of course that they were not allowed back for weeks and rescue operations had to be mounted by the various SPCA organisations in the vicinity to get the pets out of the abandoned homes

We were talking about this afterwards. I know that people were instructed not to take their pets with them, but I think British people would simply have ignored that. Certainly if we were told to evacuate, our dogs would be going with us. The thought of leaving them behind would not even occur to us. No threat or attempt at coercion the authorities could make, would have any effect on that. They are part of our family and leaving then behind would have the same emotional impact as someone suggesting that a parent leaves their children behind. Literally. Perhaps the British are overly sentimental about their pets, or perhaps we just take our responsibilities seriously. Who knows?

But I can remember seeing a programme about a British Coastguard helicopter having to winch people from a flooded caravan park and a very elderly lady stating, point blank, that she wasn't going anywhere without her dogs. She was refusing to be winched to safety unless her dogs were taken first. The helicopter crew hadn't even argued - of course the dogs were going to.

I suspect if they were interviewed in an official capacity, they would have said that it was the only way to get the old lady to allow them to rescue her. I know that RNLI personnel often say that they only rescue dogs that have fallen in the sea or are trapped on cliffs because if they don't, the owners will attempt it themselves risking death and injury. But if you talk to them, you'll find that this is simply a useful, “official” justification for the reality. If challenged, they can justify the risks they are taking. The reality, of course, is they are in the business of saving lives, any lives, human or otherwise.

That's the British way .... and long may it continue !!


“Pets are humanizing. They remind us we have an obligation and responsibility to preserve and nurture and care for all life.” — James Cromwell

*Header Image Credit: StockSnap/Pixabay



Jamie Whitehorn

Jamie Whitehorn

A self proclaimed geek who loves technology, data, computers and science; but balances this by spending time with his wonderful better half and their dogs and horses in the countryside.

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