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Anne Mikolay

Photographs of Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) aboard a departing flight to Cancun during the Texas deep freeze stirred understandable and much deserved criticism. It’s perfectly acceptable to flee hardship if you have the means, but not when you are a public figure charged with supporting the welfare of the very community you hope to abandon. It’s a heartless public servant who professes dedication to his constituents, but very quickly deserts his community when tragedy unfolds. Apparently, this never occurred to Ted Cruz, and if it did, he certainly didn’t care. Rather than stay behind to do his job while his family fled to safety and warmth in Cancun, good old Ted donned his Texas cap and face mask and waltzed through the Houston airport seemingly unaffected. The incriminating photographs of Senator Cruz leaving for Cancun stirred swift, sharp criticism, which was later intensified when a reporter for New York magazine’s Intelligencer publicly speculated Cruz had abandoned his dog. The public was incensed by a photograph of the dog, a rescue named Snowflake, staring forlornly out the front door of the Cruz home at the same time Cruz was in the air heading to Cancun. Was Snowflake abandoned?

Snowflake was clearly not alone. If Snowflake was left home alone while Cruz retreated to Cancun, who opened the front door so Snowflake could look outside and watch the world go by? Dogs are smart, but I don’t think they’ve mastered opening locks or navigating home security systems. According to the New York magazine reporter who snapped Snowflake’s photograph, the dog’s care was entrusted to an on-site security guard during the Cruz family’s absence. Cruz made arrangements for the dog’s care, which is more than Cruz did for his constituents. Cruz is definitely guilty of turning his back on his great state of Texas, but he did not turn his back on man’s best friend. Or did he?

If you are a fellow animal lover, you look at Snowflake’s photograph and immediately see a disturbing truth. While common sense tells us the dog’s physical needs were likely fulfilled by the security guard, our hearts know caring for an animal involves more than that. The Cruz family packed their bags and headed for fun in the sun; back at home, Snowflake had to contend with the frigid temperature, power outages, pipes possibly bursting, and more. Who kept Snowflake warm during the Texas ice storm? Who held Snowflake when the dog was frightened? Who sat with him in the darkened rooms? A pet is a family member. If the family needs to escape an unhealthy situation, the pets need to escape as well. If the situation in Texas was dire enough to flee, why on earth did Cruz leave the dog behind? Surely, there was somewhere the Cruz family could have gone WITH SNOWFLAKE to safely wait out the ice storm. Again, it’s a phony public servant who abandons his community in need, and a cold heart, indeed, who leaves the family pet behind in dangerous conditions. Leaving Snowflake behind, even with the security guard on-site, is as telling as blaming your daughters for dragging you to Cancun even though it “didn’t feel right”. During this historic winter storm in Texas, Ted Cruz clearly abandoned his constituents, and he abandoned Snowflake, too.

No matter how talented, rich, or intelligent you are, how you treat animals tells me everything I need to know about you.

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