Sarah Palin is ringing in the New Year with a debate on her Facebook page about animal abuse. Palin posted a New Year’s wish to her followers, together with images of 6-year-old Trig doing what Sarah called “overcoming obstacles.” Those who saw the image on Palin’s page, however, called it abusing the dog, and they’re calling Sarah complicit for taking the photos and treating the behavior as cute instead of correcting it.
According to Sarah Palin, her son Trig wanted to help with dishes. His request for help went unnoticed, and the family dog was in the way — so Trig stepped on the dog to reach the sink.
Sarah used the images to bolster a message about stumbling blocks and stepping stones.
Happy New Year!
May 2015 see every stumbling block turned into a stepping stone on the path forward. Trig just reminded me. He, determined to help wash dishes with an oblivious mama not acknowledging his signs for “up!”, found me and a lazy dog blocking his way. He made his stepping stone.
– Sarah Palin
The images have caused an outcry on Palin’s page.
“Not cool. The dog and your kid could be harmed.”
“No, No, No! I love you Sarah but not THIS”
“not a good ideae,even if dog allows it,might harm dogs internal organs doing this,pls teach the boy another way.”
“Back injuries are terrible life long conditions. This picture is NOT cute. Just because the dog is tolerant does not mean it should be abused.”
Though many of the followers who say the photos depict animal abuse clearly support Sarah Palin (politically, that is — not in the living stepstool sense), the immediate backlash has been for others to insist that anyone who thinks Trig shouldn’t stand on a dog is a bleeding-heart liberal who hates God — or at least, worships animals above Him.
“The Bible does say that in the last days, Man will worship the creation over the creator. And I love my pets and do not condone abuse but I think my point is being made by many of the comments made like DOG spelled backwards is GOD. Please do not equate the God of the universe with an animal.”
“He is adorable and I am sure the dog wasn’t hurt, you Libs can’t enjoy anything in life”
“Can’t even post anything with out our bleeding heart’s chiming in…”
Of course, it’s not the first time Sarah Palin has been accused of animal abuse. According to the Los Angeles Times, she’s been roundly criticized for her hunting as well as for animal welfare policies she supported during her partial term as Governor of Alaska.
Though Sarah Palin’s dog doesn’t exactly look pained, in some of the images, he doesn’t look too comfortable either.
It’s not uncommon for dogs to tolerate pain and discomfort caused by their humans, especially from their smallest human family members, so the pooch’s willingness to stand still and be stepped on isn’t necessarily evidence he isn’t being hurt. There’s also the very real risk of Trig being hurt if the dog does decide he’s had enough of being a stepstool and moves abruptly.
While Sarah Palin’s message was surely well-meant, dog and child would both be better served by providing Trig an accessible stepstool.