- the quality or character of a particular person or thing that distinguishes them from others of the same kind, especially when strongly marked
- separate existence
- the process of the development of the distinct personality of an individual
- the condition of being oneself or itself, and not another
- condition or character as to who a person or what a thing is
- the state or fact of being the same one as described
- the sense of self
Branding is a practice used to mark livestock as property in order to identify the owner in cases of lost or stolen property. Techniques include marking livestock with fire-heated irons as well as freeze branding, tattoos on the inner lip or ear, ear tags, ear-marking, paint branding and microchipping. Some methods are more humane (less terrifying) than others and, in fact, prove beneficial. For example, Eartipping is a universal sign that a feral cat has been spayed or neutered and makes the task of monitoring or managing a colony much easier. The procedure of removing/cutting approximately a quarter-inch off the tip of the cat’s left ear in a straight line is done while the cat is anesthetized for spay/neuter and healing is rapid. Microchipping is a simple procedure. A veterinarian injects a microchip which is about the size of a grain of rice, beneath the surface of the skin between the shoulder blades of your cat or dog. The process is similar to a routine shot for humans and does not require anesthesia. The bottom line is this; livestock is considered property as are the animals we consider ‘domestic’ companions.
The traditional cowboy captured and secured an animal for branding by roping it, laying it over on the ground, tying its legs together, and applying a branding iron that had been heated in a fire. Modern ranch practice has moved toward use of chutes where animals can be run into a confined area and safely secured while the brand is applied. Two types of restraint are the cattle crush or squeeze chute (for larger cattle), which may close on either side of a standing animal, or a branding cradle, where calves are caught in a cradle which is rotated so that the animal is lying on its side.
Does my tattoo make me less desirable? In the leather industry, a branded ‘hide’ is considered to have a ‘defect’ and is therefore less valuable. As well as different types of branding, the marks may be located in different areas such as the side or rump (butt branded).
When I mentioned my idea for a tattoo, my husband argued that I should not choose such a highly visible area for the ‘artwork’ and would I please consider a less obvious part of my body to mark. My response:
No, absolutely not
For years I have considered getting ‘inked.’ Not obsessively but I love all forms of art and the idea of ‘self-expression’ in such a committed manner. I was open to the idea. The reason I hadn’t gone ahead with the procedure was that I really could not think of anything I felt that committed to. Yes, I’m married but my husband and I both consider ourselves to be two separate pieces of a puzzle; together we make each other stronger and better individuals. I don’t need to wear his name on my arm. If I was going to get a tattoo, it would be something that meant something to me – something very personal to me. And, with most things in life, if you keep an open mind and live in the question – for however long it takes, the answer will come.
I have been lucky to have animal companions with me throughout my life’s journey thus far. I’ve had pet snakes, rabbits, raccoons, goats, ponies, a bird, a hamster and of course, cats and dogs. I’m the girl that won’t say ‘no’ – to helping animals in need. I once took a basket of baby squirrels to a rescue organization after their mama had been hit by a car. Only certain shelters will take ‘wildlife’ so it was a bit of a drive to the nearest centre that would accept them. Upon my return home, I had three people from the area show up with baskets of baby squirrels who had also lost their moms. The weather had been unusually mild and for a longer period of time. This confused ‘the birds and bees’ and as a result, there were more squirrels. Most people would leave these little creatures to whatever Mother Nature had in store for them. I was glad these few people knew I would help them and did their part to ensure they found their way to my door.
I love animals with all my heart and will do whatever I can to protect them.
As a volunteer at various shelters, I see the challenges the workers face; overpopulation and crowding of stray and unwanted pets, lack of funding, illness which is easily spread and costly and time consuming to manage. Shortage of staff and volunteers as well as not having enough time in the day, add to the challenge. Staff will often stay late to try to catch up. Volunteers that are able to foster, and walk dogs, and cuddle and socialize animals are essential to the welfare of the animals that end up at shelters. Surrendered and stray animals arrive faster than staff members are able to process paperwork for them. Comfort and safety are the main priority however shelter animals often remain nameless and are assigned a number until such time as they are given a name.
A name makes us relatable. It is a personal form of identity. In some cultures a name carries great significance and tradition and presenting someone with their moniker is cause for a party. For example, some European Cultures recognize ‘Name Day.’ Unlike Birthdays which are usually celebrated by close friends and family, Name Days are widely celebrated. Based on religious traditions or historical events, first names are assigned to a day of the calendar. For example, the Name Day for Michael is September 29th, the day The Church Feast of Saint Michael is held. In Greece, Name day is considered to be more important than a birthday.
Sadie is not my birth name; it is a nickname or ‘pet name’ given to me by friends.
As a profile photographer at my local shelter, I feel privileged to help choose a name for a cat before their profile is created online. My heart breaks each time I see animals online, referred to by their processing number or simply by their size, age and gender.
Seriously, who wants to be known as a LARGE ADULT FEMALE?
I will see this ‘mark’ on my arm every day. It will be an affirmation of sorts; a reminder of what matters most to me. Every person can make a difference. No act of kindness shall be considered too small or insignificant. I must do what I can, whenever I can. I must do something.
Thank you Sam at Blackwood Tattoo
Thank you Brenda and the team at The Wishing Well Sanctuary for allowing Gillian and I to visit your beautiful farm and meet these amazing beings http://www.wishingwellsanctuary.org/
Gillian Woods – whom I look forward to working with on ‘The Awareness Project’ (see tab above). Thank you