Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I am a veterinarian who works with rescue organizations in cases of
major emergencies and natural disasters. In my time in Texas the past
few weeks I have witnessed acts of great heroism and great cruelty
and indifference towards pets. I’m proud to say that I helped a great
many helpless, abandoned creatures that might otherwise have died.
What do I say to my clients and neighbors here who are accusing me
of abandoning them in their time of need and “running off to help
strangers when I needed you!”? I value my clients and my neighbors
in Florida. When I got assigned to Texas no one knew what would
happen here. I trust that my professional peers who were not in Texas
will be just as heroic and diligent as I was when they work in my
community. How can people learn that we are all connected and
should care for one another rather than hoarding and blaming and
being only out for themselves?


Dear Altruist:

It always fascinates me during periods of great crises, natural disaster
or war, how human nature tends towards the extremes. Hard times
bring out the best in many, even thankfully most, of us, and the worst
in a few who make all problems worse. Compared to physical violence,
looting, and threats and coercion, emotional guilting is a relatively mild
form of acting out. But it speaks to the same limited consciousness
and selfishness as the worst of the bad extreme.

You are to be commended for volunteering to go into danger zones.
The whiners should be chastened but I suspect that is not your nature.
I’d like to think they would find greater compassion once they are out
of imminent danger, though sadly that’s likely not going to happen.
Give them a pass for now, and send an email to your clientele both
now and just before you deploy next time. Remind your clients that
you serve a wide population in need, and that if they need help while
you are away, they should contact so-and-so. Wish them good health
for themselves and their critters and remind them of your years of
service. If they choose to leave your practice, wave at their departing
tushies and seek out kinder folks. This is the season to heal the world.
Thank you for doing more than your share of the heavy lifting.