Monday, October 22, 2007
The Ellen Thing
I'm going to weigh in on the Ellen Degeneres controversy.
Ellen adopted a puppy from Mutts and Moms, an adoption agency run by two women in Pasadena, California. After spending 9 days with a trainer (Ellen said on her show that this was for the purpose of making sure the dog got along with her cats) the puppy went home with Ellen. Shortly thereafter, Ellen decided that she couldn't deal with a puppy that young. (Again, she said on her show that it was just "too hyper".)
Ok. I can rant about how naive Ellen was to think that a puppy wouldn't be "hyper", but it happens. This is why Mutts and Moms has written in their contract that any dogs adopted through them that need to be re-homed, should be given back to the agency.
Ellen signed that contract, but then gave the puppy to her hairdresser.
All this took place with about a 2 week period. When the agency called to see how the puppy was doing in Ellen's home, she told them the truth. Because of the above mentioned stipulation in the contract, as well as the fact that the hairdresser's family included 2 girls under the age of 14 (who would not be allowed to adopt a dog that small from the organization) the agency repossessed the dog from the hairdresser.
So, Ellen goes on her show and cries (literally) to the world about how unfair all this is. The result? These two women whose livelihood involves helping homeless animals are now receiving bomb and death threats. Their living, as well as their lives, are threatened by a group of media-crazed fans who, apparently, have no lives of their own.
Again, on her show, Ellen complained that she had spent $3,000 dollars on the dog, implying that that much money should have counted for something, surely.
There are a couple of issues here. First, for many people who still have some sort of ethical head on their shoulders, gobs of money do NOT buy morality.
Second, the girls in question 11 and 13, I think, are more than old enough to learn the life lesson that rules, for the most part, are made to be followed and that not following rules has consequences. In spite of the fact that the dog was not with them for very long, Ellen sobbed about how "bonded" they were to the dog. Maybe so, but love involves wishing the greater good for the loved one, whether it is what you want or not. Ellen is more than financially capable of purchasing another dog for this family, either through a reputable breeder, or through an adoption agency.
What a lesson that would be to those girls. "I was wrong," Ellen has said. Fine. That is only the first, small step. She should have gone to her hairdresser's home, apologized to the girls, and promised to accompany them to the agency to go through the proper channels to get them a dog that would be a good fit with their lives. It's called "making amends".
The next bit of amends that Ms. Degeneres needs to make is to the two women who own Mutts and Moms. Thanks to her television histrionics, they are receiving death threats and may loose their business. She needs to publicly reprimand her "fans" who have made these threats and beg them to help these women and the good work they do with homeless animals.