The appropriately named dog Hope was one of the most talked about subjects in the Cedar Valley this week. If you aren't familiar with her story, Hope was brought to the Cedar Bend Humane Society suffering from severe starvation and dehydration. Over the past couple of days, Cedar Bend had worked with Eastern Iowa Veterinary Specialty Center in an attempt to save her life. Along with much needed donations, animal lovers in the Cedar Valley, and points elsewhere who picked up on the story, offered support on Facebook. Sadly, Hope did not make it. A little after noon today, September 30, Cedar Bend announced on their Facebook that she passed away. It's an especially heartbreaking ending for anyone who has or has had pets. If you listen to me in the mornings, you know I have three cats. Though I often joke about my distain for their flagrant disregard for house rules (common, they're cats! They're love being bad) I do love them deeply.

There's an investigation into who was responsible for allowing the dog to starve. I certainly hope that person is held responsible and, dread the thought they could have more animals in their care. But I'm not writing this to depress you. I feel that there's an important message we can all take away from the situation and it's one of, no pun intended, hope. You see, where likely one person mistreated this innocent animal, thousands gave both virtual love and donations to save her. In a time where we're listening to constant bickering between politicians, dealing with negativity on social media, witnessing stories of violence like the mass shootings in Waterloo Saturday, and battling a pandemic, we again see that there is hope.

There is hope that we can unify and work together. You see, if we can rally around the care of an innocent animal... if we can open our pockets to help an animal we'll never get to meet (as of this writing, over $17,400 has been raised). Let us carry that same love and emotion we all shared for Hope, and apply to others in our community. To our neighbors. To people who we disagree with. To the guy on Facebook that loves and talks about candidate A, even though you're for candidate B. To the person who lives in the apartment above you, and be a little loud sometimes. To the person driving what you feel is overly cautious on University Ave. To the high school kid who rings you up at the grocery store but could care less about their job. To the people we all judge after seeing a 12 second clip about them on the evening news. Should we have to tell them we love them? No of course not. But if we can apply some of the emotion we feel for an innocent animal to the strangers around us, we'll make this a much better world.

All it takes is a little courtesy. Trust me, I struggle with that many days myself. But, next time I feel frustration with someone while I'm driving, or standing in a slow moving line... I'll just remember to have Hope. Let's try it together.

Photo courtesy of the Cedar Bend Humane Society, Inc - used by permission

You can still donate to the Cedar Bend Humane Society and help them help other area animals in need.

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