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Reflections on puppies and poverty

World Vision
12 February 2014 by Leigh Cameron
Reflections on puppies and poverty

My children Eadon, Annie and Hamish with the latest addition to our family.

After five solid years of lobbying from my children, my family just got our first puppy. Her name is Pepper, and she’s the cutest, fluffiest, friendliest little bundle of playful niceness you’ve ever seen. And she’s also possibly the smartest puppy ever. We’re not biased at all.

With the puppy came loads of literature and advertising from various pet-related suppliers and service providers. I was in shock when I read what was available for my puppy – dog grooming, dog spa, puppy pre-school, puppy school, oncology treatment, neurosurgery, behavioural medicine, and my favourite… a weight loss clinic!

I grew up with dogs. But I don’t remember any of this being available back then. In fact, I’m not even sure all of them were available for people back then.

I never quite know how I should think ethically about the fact that by virtue of my country of birth and life, I not only have such luxury options, but I could probably afford many of them. And if I do decide to spend money on something so ‘discretionary’, my conscience (or a number of smart-aleck friends) are quick to remind me that I work to serve those in extreme poverty.

It’s easy to ignore this internal moral dilemma and externalize the problem of extreme inequity. This really hit home the other week when I read the news that 85 individuals now share the same amount of wealth as half the world’s population! While we might be far, far removed from the wealthiest elite, we’re also far better off than the majority of the global population. And while it might be convenient to think of inequity within particular countries, if I dare to think of inequity globally, I have to think of me. And that’s uncomfortable.

So I’m glad to have our puppy and I’m thankful for being so blessed to be able to afford one. But when I’m challenged to think about inequity, I continue to wrestle with what feel like such obvious contradictions in my life.

Anyone else do the same?

And here’s one more photo of our furry friend:

Pepper puppy


Leigh Cameron Leigh Cameron

Leigh Cameron is Chief of Staff at World Vision Australia.


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