Tag Archives: Bankers

Today he lost his best friend – the human cost of the economic crisis


Joyma - grieving and bewildered

Some people have made vast fortunes playing with money. Others have let them do so – by turning a blind eye, either to maintain the status quo, line their pockets, keep their parliamentary seat or preserve the possibility of honours. Although relatively few in numbers, the damage these people have done has had brought countries to their knees. It has affected and is affecting thousands, millions of people.

The story I’m about to tell is just one among these millions.  It may appear insignificant in the great scheme of things. But for one man and his old dog, their world has shattered.  Their story is not unique. Similar scenes are being played out all over Europe.

Spain, like many other places, has been badly hit by the recession. People have lost their jobs, their houses. Families have been broken up. One of the consequences is that people are no longer able to keep their pets. So they bring them to the killing stations, abandon them, or in some few cases try to find them a place in rescue centres.

The organisation I’m involved with is called ACE – Animal Care Espana, in Southern Spain. The rescue centre itself is called El Refugio, founded by Fabienne Paques nearly fourteen years ago. Like all the others it’s full to bursting now, with ever more dogs arriving or being dumped at the gates daily.

He came to the gate in tears. A young man of about 35. He’d lost his job. As a result his marriage had broken up. His wife had thrown him out with just a backpack and his dog, his Joyma. He had no car. No family he could call on. He’d been trudging from refuge to refuge to ask them to take Joyma. He loved him too much to even think of bringing him to a killing station or to simply abandon him. All the centres were full, besides nobody was willing to take in an old dog.

El Refugio is full, over full. But Fabienne couldn’t turn him away.  She couldn’t find the young man a home or a job, but she could take his dog. She’d make room. She would give him the only thing she could – the assurance that his Joyma would be well taken care of. It was distressing for everyone, so emotional. Heartbreaking. The dog was drooling in fear – clinging to his master. Don’t leave me.

The young man left, weeping. His Joyma is safe and will be found another loving home, but that’s of no interest to the old Cocker Spaniel. For he is grieving, pining for his best friend whom he lost today.  As to the young man he too has lost his best friend. He’s lost everything. Tonight he’ll sleep on the street. Alone.

This is the human cost of the recession.

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Whacky and Wonderful

While the Angel of the Star of Love may sound suitably romantic, some angels have jobs that positively beggar belief.

The Dictionary of Angels is a unique book. A mixture of serious scholarship and delightful whimsy.  The New York Times called it a ‘wacky and wonderful compendium of angelic lore. ‘ While the book naturally contains much erudite information there are also many quirky, little known facts.

It was news to me that there are angels over clouds. That angels guard the gates of the South Wind, as well those of the North, West and East winds.  All nature seems to be covered. Rivers and running streams, showers (not I think the one in the bathroom), the sun’s rays, whirlwinds, earthquakes and the rest. Even vegetables have their own special angel. So does fruit, not to be outdone.

The animal kingdom is well represented. There’s an angel who’s job it is to return small birds to their owners, another for birds in general, though doves get a special mention for some reason.  Maybe because of the Ark! Other angels, respectively, look after ‘wild fowl and creeping things’. Tame beasts have their champion angel and wild beasts do too. There are angels over fish, aquatic animals, the ocean and the deep.

The book includes the fallen angels.  And there are plenty of those.  Take Abbadona, not an Abba tribute band but a rather dithery fallen angel.  Known as the penitent angel it seems he wasn’t entirely committed to the rebellion and kept moaning about his fallen state. So he got a reprieve.  They were probably glad to get rid of him.

The splendidly named Watchers are another fallen lot.  Sent from heaven to instruct the children of men, they were condemned for cavorting with their charges. Though they weren’t all sent to outer darkness, some stayed in the 5th Heaven. We’re not told whether that was because they behaved themselves or for some other reason.

Writing didn’t get a particularly good press either. The angel Penemue ‘taught mankind the art of writing with ink and paper.’ An art that was frowned on: it was thought to be wicked and corrupting and as a result ‘many sinned.’ Better watch it, all you writers out there.

There are angels for the days of the week, the signs of the zodiac and the twelve months of the year. There are angels whose task it is to look after countries and watch over professions. Yes, including the oldest one. Not doing a very good job, some of them. Javan, the angel of Greece, really needs to pull his socks up. Anauel, on the other hand should give himself a pat on the back, though I for one would rather like to shoot him in the back. His task? Protecting commercial bankers.  No one could claim he isn’t doing his job.





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