Although not always, sorrow sometimes makes humans contemplate. A feeling of sadness experienced in childhood may be even more so since it stays longer and stronger inside one’s heart.
It was the case with Italian critic and philologist Antonio Prete. He had a dog named Ali when he was little. Two opposite images come to his mind when he thinks of Ali: The image of Ali lying down beside Prete under olive trees on a peaceful sunny afternoon and the sad eyes of Ali Prete saw the next day.
What happened was Ali got bitten by a dog that had been infected with rabies. Prete’s parents decided to put the dog to death, thinking that the disease might spread to their children. Prete looked at the eyes of Ali, which was tied to a table leg. The dog’s eyes knew its fate determined by humans. “An endless sorrow” and “all the pains in the world” were inside those eyes. The sorrow and the pain the dog had were nothing different from those of humans.
Prete could not forget those eyes of sorrow and pain even after he grew up. It was a scar that could not be healed for the rest of his life. The reason why Prete devoted the last chapter of his book, “About Compassion” to the pains of animals is because of his wounded heart. That scar made him reflect on the issues, such as zoo business, hunting for entertainment, vivisection, and slaughter for carnivorous diet. Prete did not stop asking the question, “How much compassion or love is necessary to put a brake on this imprudent creation of pain?” even though he did not have a solution to the problem. The eyes of Ali were the start of Prete’s concern for the pains of others, including animals. The sorrow and pain in those eyes led Prete to contemplate the pain of others.