Every-day Thoughts in Prose and Verse
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
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A Plea For The Horse.
I want to say a word to all men and women who
own or are in the habit of hiring horses.
  Do not let the blinders press against the eyes of
your horse.  It affects the sight and produces blind-
ness.  Open the blinders as much as possible--
gradually if the animal has been always used to
them--but with a little more freedom of vision each
day, you can soon accustom his eyes to freer vision.
  Make it your own case.  Put a pair of pasteboard
box covers each side of your eyes, leaving only two
or three inches in front open, and go about your
work for a few hours.  You will realize the discom-
fort, the strained effect upon your vision, and the
increased nervousness better by this personal
experiment than by anything I can write about it.
  Then try the overdraw check on yourself. Take
a pipe stem between your lips sideways, put a cord
on either end, and fasten it to your belt in the back.
  Bring your chin well up in the air, and then go to
work.  Try climbing a hill with a heavy bundle in
your arms.
  After one experiment, you will always think to
loosen your horse's check-rein going up hill or when
he stands.
  Don't jerk the reins and scream at your horse.
Animals have nerves; horses and cats are especially
nervous, and loud voices, sudden movements, and
irritable tones injure them.
  I saw a colored man in the crowded portion of
Thirty-fourth street and Broadway driving a laundry
delivery wagon, and his treatment of the animal
trusted to his care filled me with pity and indignation.
Every alternate moment he screamed at the poor
quivering beast in a voice distinguished above the
roar of the streets, and when he did not scream he
jerked the animal first one way and then another,
after bringing his nose against his shoulder.  It was a
sickening sight, and I must confess it made me mo-
mentarily wish the slave days and whipping-post were
back again.  Then I began to philosophize on the
theory that probably this colored brute was the result
of that very system--his ancestors had been beaten
into soulless, sullen animals, and this descendant
had come into the world with the whipping-post
instincts dominant in his nature, and the impulse to
scream at and chastise whatever was dependent
upon him.
  I must say our churches and our Sunday-schools
are terribly remiss in using their influence regard-
ing the treatment of animals.  I doubt if twice a
year anything is said to children or adults in our
churches to make them think of their duty to these
dumb, dependent brothers of ours.
  Our splendid society for the protection of animals,
and the beautiful "Animal Protective League"
originated by Mrs. Myles Standish are both doing
noble work, which will do more for the regeneration
of the world than all our Sunday-schools com-
  In a little pamphlet issued by the latter society,
children are asked to remember the following rules.
It is better than repeating the catechism.
  "Get people who drive dock-tailed horses to cover
them with fly nets."
  "Be sure and turn a horse's head away from the
  "Water dogs, horses, and cats frequently."
  "Be kind and gentle with all animals, never
rough or impatient."
  "Do not allow any one to hurt, tease, or frighten
any animal."
  "Use your influence and knowledge as much as
possible when you find an animal in bad condi-
tion.  Give your knowledge in preference to report-
  "If you see a man beating a horse, show your
badge and request him to stop.  A word will some-
times do it, as it is a misdemeanor under the law.
If he refuses, call a policeman, who is obliged to
prevent cruelty."
  "If a horse is standing uncovered in cold
weather, cover him.  If his blanket has fallen or
blown off, pick it up and put it on him."
  "If you see a horse that has sores or galls under
the harness, tell the driver what to do for it and
how to arrange the harness."
  "Watch for overdraw checks.  Try to have them
loosened or taken off; if not, ask the driver to see
that they are undone when the horse is stand-

Every-day thoughts in prose and verse. by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Chicago: W. B. Conkey Company, 1901.
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