Dear Sarah McLachlan,

Let me start by saying you, Ms. McLachlan, have an impossible name to spell. I spent upwards of thirty whole seconds trying to ascertain whether or not that word grouping was properly spelled or a jumble of letters. That, however, is merely my issues with words, Sarah McLachlan. See, Sarah, I’m sorta illiterate.


I’m here today, Sarah McLachlan, to talk, not about your complicated name, but about you. Namely, how you ruined my day.

I’ll admit, Ms. Sarah McLachlan, that I, like most people with vaginas in 1993, that your album, Fumbling Toward Ecstasy was a favorite of mine (it seemed that there were two types of girls in the world at the time. Those who listened to Tori Amos and those who listened to you, Sarah McLachlan. And I, if I may, never was a cornflake girl.).

Mostly, because your lilting voice sang about all of the angsty shit that those of us who were both angsty and in possession of a vagina felt. Sadness. Emotions. Lame-ish songs (sorry, not your fault) that we could be all, OMG SARAH MCLACHLAN KNOWS WHAT I FEEEEEEELLLSSS.

I can’t say I much followed your career after I sacked up, but I was proud that you created that Lilith Fair, because I like a powerful woman, Sarah McLachlan, I like them very much. I heard a few of your songs on the radio, and while I never turned them UP, I rarely turned them off – see, Sarah McLachlan, I’m a sucker for a pretty voice. And that, my friend (can I call you my friend? Great – thanks), you do have.

You and me, Sarah McLachlan, we were friends. Or at least I thought so, until you released this particular bit of horror that’s since haunted me. Picture this, Sarah McLachlan: I was at home with my wee new babe, and I had one of two options – I could watch television or I could stare at the wall while I nursed him. He was a boob man, my guy.

Postpartum and hormonal, not to mention sleep-deprived, imagine my horror when this came onto my television:

I’ve never, ever gotten over it, Sarah McLachlan – the sad puppies, the hurt kitties, it was too much for me. I began to weep, which annoyed the hell out of my baby. That commercial, starring you, Sarah McLachlan, and a bunch of pathetic animals, seemed to play whenever I was at my lowest.

And the tears, my good friend, Sarah McLachlan, they flowed.

It’s January, and aforementioned baby is nearly five, but I wanted to tell you that I caught the tail-end of your ASPCA commercial, Sarah McLachlan, and I wept. You have no way of knowing, Sarah McLachlan, that January is the worst month of the year for me – that I’d like to curl up in a ball and wake up sometime in February. But your commerical, Sarah McLachlan, it nearly broke me this time.

And at the very least, you ruined my day.

So, Sarah McLachlan, thanks for that.

Love Always,

Aunt Becky

140 thoughts on “An Open Letter To Sarah McLachlan

  1. I HATE those fucking commercials. HATE HATE HATE THEM!!! I change the channel every time they come on ESPECIALLY if my kids are in the room. She needs a mushrom print.

  2. Oh Hell Yes.

    I have huge respect for Sarah as a musician but the minute I see a sad puppy and hear her singing about the arms of an angel, I want to fucking shoot myself.

  3. THANK YOU Aunt Becky! All this time I thought I was such a bitch because I turned this damned commercial everytime it showed it’s ugly sad self on my TV. I am glad that I am not the only one.
    Thank you once again for letting me know that I am not alone. I am still a bitch tho not because I cant stands the sad puppy faces.

  4. Most. Depressing. Commercial. Ever. Can’t remember what other song they use too, bc I immediately change the channel, but those commercials KILL me.

  5. I TURN THE CHANNEL! I cannot stand that commercial. At all. Why, oh why, would you beat us over the head with such horrible images? I don’t need it. It makes me have an ugly, splotchy face and that’s an even WORSE image.

  6. ugh…..that commercial literally makes me sick to my stomach. but i guess that is the point of the whole thing. make people sick about seeing those poor puppies and kitties all sickly and dieing because we are all heartless asshats who don’t care about saving them. screw you makers of guilt!

  7. See, you just made me laugh over THAT commercial, and I didn’t think that was possible. Thank you for that. Now I won’t feel guilty about muting that damned thing. It’s horrible. I have my rescued pets, defective as they are, I’m not adding to the herd. They’re spayed/neutered, and damn it, I don’t want to feel bad about all the homeless loveless animals in the rest of the world!

    As for post-partum issues, I just watched dvd episodes of my favorite shows because I couldn’t handle anything with a baby in it or a baby animal. I’d lose it completely. Heck, I couldn’t even watch anything with a baby, pregnant woman, etc while pregnant. Especially the baby birthing shows. My god, what horror for an expectant mother!

  8. I totally agree and thought about that last week while watching it, she ruined my day as I stared at the 3 dogs and cat that I now have because of her.Bitch. I have no more room at the INN for another dog. My dogs live a wonderful life, better than some people I am almost ashamed at how well my dogs live. They give alot back, but they also send me out the door everyday so I can work to support them. Oh what twisted lives we live. Thank you Sara. And do not get me going about the photos of those children with flies in their eyes, dying as we watch them, that is another blog. How can we save the world.

  9. I didn’t mind so much when she ruined her own song, unfortunately I’ll always think of these commercials now when I hear that song. What I really minded is that she ruined a perfectly good Christmas song. Now whenever I hear Silent Night, I am dragged kicking and screaming to images of maimed animals and such. I like ASPCA and give to animal shelters so I appreciate their needs but I have to change the channel and I really wish they would have left Christmas alone.

  10. “January is the worst month of the year for me – that I’d like to curl up in a ball and wake up sometime in February.”

    Ditto. My mom was murdered 13 years ago TO – fucking -DAY. And, you know what. I almost cried just looking at teh still of the commercial.

    I should vagina up, or whatever, but this day, of all days, I don’t fucking want to.

    Also, her birthday is exactly one week from today.
    Mine’s 4 days thereafter. Sweet fucking 16 that was.

    I feel you, Aunt Becky. I fucking hate January, and this goddamn commercial.

  11. I think the ONLY time I watched her commercials from start to finish was when I was on Maternity Leave and going through PPD.
    They not only made me weep… i had the lump in my throat.. you know, the lump before you cry that HURTS! yes, that one.
    But, as any PPD owner… I watched, in pain, and then released the tears.

  12. OMG – I thought I was the only person who, when this ad comes on, immediately and uncontrollably starts chucking anything within arm’s reach at the TV while simultaneously feverishly patting down all the horizontal surfaces looking for the remote to STOP THE AGNONY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I used to think of my Gram when I heard that song – now I think of starving puppies with Precious Moments eyes, begging me for succor………..GAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. Not only does this commercial make me cry, it makes my 10yo cry. She wanted to know if we could adopt more animals. ‘Cause 2 dogs and a cat isn’t enough. We needed to rescue MOAR ANIMALS.
    I really hate this commercial.

  14. You’re so right Becky. I have enough guilt walking into a pet store looking at the animals and realizing I can’ take them all home to save them. Then they come up with this damn commercial. I think what needs to be done is a machine needs to be made that can somehow detect the commercial and either mute the sound or change the channel automatically. As someone else had said, I can’t grab the remote quick enough to do either.

  15. I can be in another room and simply hear the music and I’ll start tearing up. I have to sprint to the TV and do anything to MAKE IT STOP. Luckily I haven’t had to take a chair to the TV to get it to stop. But, I figure that’ll happen someday. Which will make me even SADDER than the commercial did. Damn.

  16. Oh Kristen! What a tragic memory to have sweetie! I know words are next to useless in such a painful situation, but I’m sending you extra good vibes that the rest of your January gets better.

    You too AB – hang in there! You help so many of the rest of us get through each day, I wish I could do something to help you.

    And thanks for making it okay to turn off that bitch and her sad sack commercial!

  17. I HATE those damn commercials! FYI- now they are using Willie Nelsons music.(You Were Always on my Mind, or whatever its called) And I really consider a home lobotomy every single time they play that effing commercial! Mostly though, because so many people send the greedy bastards money, and it never makes it to help the animals it is intended to help. Also, I change the channel, and/or mute the tv. Stupid effing commercials!

  18. So many times this has come on and I’ve changed the channel, waited a good 5 minutes cause they are long ass commercials, changed back to the channel and they are showing the goddamn commercial AGAIN! Back to back!

  19. Oh yes, the last time I saw it I had conveniently just finished the book “The Art of Racing In the Rain” (fantastic book btw) and had to curl up in the fetal position next to my dog and lay on the carpet with him for 30 minutes. The dog now looks at me like a crazy person and I do not like being judged by someone who licks his asshole daily.

  20. I don’t think I could have written this any better myself. That commercial at the right time can send me into a blubbering mess of tears. And as soon as I hear the music I am fumbling over things to turn the channel I have actually hurt myself to change the channel. So no lie Sarah I can’t spell her last name always fucks up my WHOLE day whenever that commercial comes on. I should maybe sue her for the damage don to my ankle when I was running to change the channel. We don’t need to mention I am a klutz.

  21. I turn the channel every-freaking-time I hear the first chords of that damn commercial. But then, just a few weeks ago, my KID watched it. And he likes it. And he whines not to change the channel and begs to go to the pound and bring home a 10 litters of cats and dogs. I WON”T DO IT. I hate that freaking commercial.

    I used to love Sarah, but I have always hated that damn song. Grrrr.

  22. So here’s the thing. I was a cornflake girl. I know. I hate me too. But if a Sarah Mchowdoyouspellthis song came on the radio I wouldn’t turn it off. That was back before fancy cds could be played in cars, and mixed tapes were the way to say I love you. So fast forward to now, and these goddamn tv commercials with Sarah McWhatever giving me grief over abused animals. I know the commercials are meant to invoke sadness, but instead they just make me furious george. Don’t you dare use sad music to make me cry rivers! Now if Ryan Gosling were holding a puppy, say with no shirt on, I would adopt like 18 puppies and a goat just as long as he delivered them to my door. THAT is how you get my attention animal shelters! That is how you get my money!

  23. oh god. i love sarah mclachlan, but that commercial completely fucking RUINED my mother and i. like she called me to warn me about it in advance because she didn’t want me to be as completely devastated as she was.

    i guess it worked, though. i donated once, and then finally told ASPCA “take this much from my bank account every month but please, please, for the love of jesus, mary, and joseph, do NOT involve me. your mail makes me cry. your commercials make me cry. i do not want to cry over this anymore.”

    there was another commercial that used natalie merchant’s My Skin over the top of pictures of sad hurt animals…my husband changed the channel so fast i never did find out the organization, but to them, i can only say: no fairsies. that song is sad enough all by itself.

  24. no, no – i applaud SM for these commericals. i know most just change the channel and do what one can to forget about it, let’s face it and do what one can to help, and not necessarily donate cash, one could donate a towel to the local shelter, clean a poop pen out for a homeless shelter pet, foster a pet, or share stories of pets in need. so, stand up peeps! let the commercial INSPIRE you, please? do it for the sad puppy dog eyes!

  25. First things first – I rarely comment, but today I’m feeling pretty commenty.
    Secondly – I was probably one of the only people on the planet who loved Sarah McLachlan, Tori Amos, AND Alanis Morisette… I can’t say that I was an overwhelmingly cheery teen.
    Thirdly – when we had our old school box tv and that fucking commercial came on, I actually threw things at it. I don’t do that anymore because we have a shiny tv without the solid glass front that would probably be rendered worthless if I threw shoes at it, so now I just knock people/things/animals over while desperately trying to find the remote in order to change the channel.

  26. See, not only do I hate these commercials for making me feel sad, but they drive me to a frenzied rage as well. Wanna know why? Of course you do. Because the ASPCA does NOT REALLY HELP ALL THAT MANY ANIMALS FOR REALZ! Not only that, but they lobby AGAINST laws that would protect animals more and prevent more needless killing.

    So now instead of crying, I generally wind up yelling at the tv about how they are real jerks and I’ll never give them my money.

  27. I don’t know how I missed those….but I did catch ALL the UNICEF ones with Sally Struthers and now I just saw one with Alyssa Milano. They make me all kinds of sad…

  28. I HATE those commercials. They are simply cruel. To those of us who are bleeding hearts and have to watch it. Maybe if they only played in hunting and baby killing conventions…but to inflict them on the general public is just mean.

    Down with Sarah McLachlan! Did I spell her name right?

  29. I WAS a cornflake girl, but I also listened to Ms. Mclachalahclan, too, and think her version of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen with The Barenaked Ladies is one of the best I’ve ever heard.

    Anyway, I can’t watch those commercials, because even though I don’t like dogs and my cats make me mental, I refuse to have my heartstrings pulled taut by a COMMERCIAL.

  30. My god, I can’t take those commercials either!! Even when I’m having the best day possible, seeing one instantly crushes my spirit, makes me cry, and makes me want to run out and snatch up every stray and maimed animal I can find. Why did she have to do that to us??

  31. I was talking about how I hate those commercials last night. They will make me cry every time! Even if you are trying to fast forward through it, it still goes by slow. They must pay more money. I will have it on the fastest forward it can go and that commercial still lasts forever. No escaping that. It’s gotten to where I hear that song, I think about the puppies and kittens and start crying. And I feel like the crazy cat lady from that dating video, and I hate myself even more.

    I hate January too AB. Worst time of the year, horrible things happen. TV’s fall from 8ft and on to my back, boyfriends would dump me, father would get drunk and get arrested for DUI.. The list goes on. Always on my birthday too! This year was no exception, and actually the worst of them all. I can only come to this conclusion. I NEED ME A PANIC ROOM! I will stay in there and boycott January. If I get a panic room I will totally share that bitch!

  32. Fumbling Toward Ecstasy was a really good album, but it will never make up for the fact that my five year old caught one of these commercials not too long ago and it totally wrecked her shit. Sarah McLachlan had her convinced that those dogs and cats were being put to death rightNOWANDOMGHELPTHEM!!!

    Damn you, Sarah McLachlan.

  33. I dislike negative advertisements like that in general. They should show only happy kitties and puppies being happy and doing happy fun puppy and kitty stuff. That would get people’s attention just as well as anything else. Yes, sex sells, but so does puppies. It’s not better, just different. It better be different though because don’t you dare put puppies and sex together in any kind of usage, even joking because that is not funny. But don’t think about what is not funny or you won’t laugh, so think about puppies bouncing around playfully and gnawing gently on each other. Sarah McLachlan is a big dummy. Don’t hurt kittens. Please and thank you.

  34. I had a vagina in 1993 and I listened to BOTH Tori Amos and Sarah McLaghlan.

    I was just that angsty.

    And I hate that commercial with the burning fire of 1000 suns. Almost as much as I hate the infomercials for those super absorbent towels with that guy who is way too excited for 2 am. Fuck him.

  35. I absolutely have to change the channel when this commercial and the Willie Nelson version invades my TV screen, which sort of ruins my Sunday night Wedding reality TV viewing. WE TV insists on playing these commercials over and over and over again. David Tutera and the Bridezillas aren’t quite as amusing when I’m being beat over the head with images of abused & neglected doggies & kitties. Sometimes I forget to change back and to WE TV and miss David Tutera working his wedding magic. *pout*

  36. 2 mistakes I made while knocked up:
    Watching Marley and Me
    Not changing the channel when the above commercial was aired.

    I cried for days at the drop of a hat. Fuck you Sarah and dying dogs everywhere.

  37. I’m obviously the fart under a nun’s habit, but sometimes I think we all have to feel more, Things don’t change when we stay comfortable. Hard post to read,

  38. All of those SPCA or Humane Society commercials get me every time, but I agree, the Sara McLachlan ones are the worst. For me it’s not only the sadness of the neglected animals, but that they play her song, “Angel”, in it. This is the song we chose for my step-father’s funeral and now I can’t hear it without crying, if not outside, inside. It’s our own fault for choosing a popular song, but under duress you do the best you can choosing things for funerals. Thanks a lot for reminding me about it, damn commercial.

  39. Yes I do not need to see a mangy, one eyed shivering, malnourished, puppy. So even though she fucking sucked before, this confirms it. Hell must have a stage for her rich, guilt tripping ass to sing shitty songs on.

  40. Love this. Just posted to facebook. I am a huge animal rescue advocate and have 2 rescue dogs that I adore but drive me crazy b/c they are insane. But those commercials drive me crazy. Make me want to poke my eyes out.

    Great post.

  41. Yesterday was my Father in Law’s memorial service. My five year old daughter was very close to that Grumpy Ole Man and the past weeks have been tough on her.
    During the service, that freakin’ “Angel” song came on and my daughter lost it. She could handle the crap about everybody dying because Eve ate an apple (for some reason my MIL’s family thought that such a sermon was appropriate for our not-very-religous Grumpy Ole Man) but she couldn’t handle the song because it made her think of the “sad puppies and kitties”. That song should never be played again.

  42. Yes! Yes to everything anybody in comments has to say!
    I support the ASPCA every animal I’ve ever had was adopted. But this commercial gets turned off every time. It’s emotional blackmail, and it lasts longer than a freaking Viagra commercial! Ruined the song for me too.

  43. Sorry the cruelty inflicted by many malcontempts in our society towards animals runied your “rose colored” view of the world day. Turning your back is such a better solution. If I don’t see it, it doesn’t exist. End the commercial and get me back to my fav show, PLEASE!

    All of your comments make me want to puke. Stay in your box, and continue to let TV dictate their slant on the world on EVERYTHING . Or better yet, stick to what you know, shopping and talking about people on line.

    Get your face out of your phone. Put it down and look at those pictures. That’s reality.
    Get pissed and fix it.

    1. You’re making so many unreasonable assumptions and accusations here it’s unreal.

      Yes, I understand that it’s necessary to tear jerk to get people to give money. And all charities do this, not just the animal ones – NSPCC will show scared beaten children, Oxfam will show starving Africans.

      And yes, these commercials, as well as making money, spread awareness. This is all important stuff.

      That said, it is entirely possible to already be angry about all the evil that goes on in the world and to already be aware of it before being made to feel bad about it on a personal level by an advert.

      Don’t assume that people are ignorant, shallow or callous for choosing not to voluntarily subject themselves to the worlds suffering 24/7.

  44. For all of you who criticize sarah and all the good she and other people do for animals, you are a bunch of arse wipes. Get off your lazy fat backsides and go and work with animals in distress, you don’t know compassion or real love until you have had a child or pet. With so much cruelty going on out there, we as humans SHOULD do something to help. Humans have a choice and the power, animals don’t, so use your actions and voice to do some good instead of bad mouthing those that do! You are truly loathsome and pathetic humans, love an animal and you just might change into something better

    1. Well… calling everyone loathsome, pathetic, fat “arse wipes” is CERTAINLY better than turning off a depressing commercial. It truly shows that you must have such a pure heart *insert eye roll*

      How can any of us miscreants EVER hope to live up to the standard you set. At least Becks isn’t nasty about it, and makes it amusing. You’re just being plain hateful. Also, slightly ignorant to assume you know what kind of people we are. Becky has brought me through rough times more than she even knows. She’s fucking GOLD in this crappy world.

      Have a lovely day, and try not to ingest vinegar first thing in the morning 😉

    2. You’ve clearly got the wrong end of the stick here. The blog post was evidently tongue-in-cheek and if you’ve read the rest of the comments you’ll note that the vast majority of comments are a) also tongue-in-cheek and b) animal lovers.

      Why on earth do you think they are talking about it being upsetting and making them feel unnecessarily guilty? because largely, they *already care* about animals. That’s *why* they find it upsetting. Regarding “you don’t know compassion or real love until you have had a child or a pet” (which is a ridiculous and self-righteous assertion, by the way) If you’d read the comments, you’d note that the author of the blog has children and has had rescue pets.

      She isn’t bad mouthing anyone, nor is she loathsome and pathetic. She found the adverts upsetting and wrote about it in – what most people found a witty and empathic way. You, on the other hand, are coming across as quite nasty and vindictive.

      I do give my free time volunteering at the RSPCA (British version of ASPCA) to raise money to help animals. I don’t tend to watch tv shows or commercials featuring animals in distress as I find it upsetting. I know it happens, I’m already”getting off my lazy fat arse” and doing something about it, but I don’t feel the need to be masochistic and completely wallow in tragedy. Does that make me loathsome and pathetic too?

  45. I’m an animal rescuer. I’m deep in it. I see the worst of the worst of the most horrible horrors and acts of violence and neglect committed against animals every day and I cannot stand to be within earshot of these commercials. I can’t handle it. I have to control my emotions as I tend to the ears of a mini goat used as fighting bait. I can’t cry when I pull a dog out of a ditch on the side of the highway. I need to be strong for these animals so they know that life is okay from here on out.

    I have to find a way to compartmentalize the things I see every single day and these commercials push me over the edge.

    I’m a big fan of the “if they cry, they’ll buy” fundraising tactic but these commercials go too far in my opinion. It is crucial to end on a happy not and not linger on the sadness and horror for a minute thirty. I’ll tell you real quick that June Bug was a bait dog. We found her in a ditch, she lost toes in fights, her teeth were pulled, she was strapped to a breeding rack. But we found her. We have her now and she is healthy and happy and sleeps on a temperpedic bed every night and plays with happy little puppies now! Done. End of story. Thank you for helping us help animals, we can’t do it without you. That’s less than a 30 second commercial because normal human beings can’t handle being bombarded over and over and over with these goddamned commercials.

    If I hear Sarah Mclaughalktaieong’s voice coming from a radio or TV I run as fast as far as I can or I will lose my shit and have to be locked away and heavily medicated.

        1. I have a massive amount of respect for what you and others do, as it must be so hard to confront something heart breaking on a daily basis. I don’t think I’d be strong enough to do that. (also a requirement is to swim a certain distance fully clothed, and I flail and sink after 5 meters soo…) On twitter the RSPCA have been tweeting what their inspectors come up against – people threatening and attacking them with knives, clawhammers, crossbows, shotguns…Awful. At least you know you’re making a difference to that animals life when it’s possible to save and rehome them.

          1. Education is the biggest part of what I do. You wouldn’t believe how many people don’t know that you shouldn’t house a dog and a pig together. Or that their dog has easily and inexpensively treated demodex or that I can get them free spay or neuter and there are pet food banks that can help them feed their animals. I also provide free dog training to people who can’t afford to pay a trainer but would keep their dog if “the damn thing would just stop knocking Grandma over”.

            When you go in assuming that people just don’t know and offer help instead of accusing them of being evil you make progress.

  46. I will bear the brunt of Vanessa’s anger because 1. I don’t donate to or, frankly, care about the ASPCA. 2. I hate, have always hated, and most likely will always hate Sarah. We are not friends. 3. I am lazy and have a fat ass. So thanks for pointing that out. 4: I don’t care abou Alyssa Milano either because all I can see is her cutesy look from who’s the boss. 5. Starving children in my home town bother me a lot more than starving kids in Africa. 6: I have missed you aunt Becky. 6. Or 7. I rescued a cat and spent the first six weeks after my mom died in August taming him and he is now slavishly devoted to me. However, I took him into the vet to be de-nutted and did not spring for the pain pack for him because it was $40 extra. So I guess I more heartless than you. Did I tell you I have missed you?

  47. I thought that was Paula Dean in those commercials. I always watch until the very end, because I’m trying to catch her sayin the N word.

  48. Not being able to afford cable has really helped me not to have to see those awful commercials. I embrace my first world problems! It’s awesome to have you back, Aunt Becky!

  49. It’s reality…oh! I’m sorry…I forgot that people don’t like to be disturbed the bubbly boobs moment happy life with real scenes that happens every day! They don’t want to know about kids hunger …or animals that are suffering because they can get depressed or they can cry! Suck it…! Or just change the channel and let others be the ones that can donate money for a a good noble cause. I am telling ya…humans…we are something. Anyway. Get some help. And sorry if i was rude. Take care girl

    1. If you think for a single moment that I’m not aware of the atrocities in the world, you’re beyond wrong. I make it a habit to donate to the ASPCA – with or without the ads. Horrifying things people do to animals and other people makes me physically ill, and I do take action when and where I can. If I could do more, I would.

  50. Freaking Sarah McLachlan ruined Silent Night for me, on Christmas Eve!!! :'( I already have depression on top of having Hodgkins, I don’t need to be brought farther down. Yes, it’s sad that things like the stuff in those commercials happen to defenseless animals, and yes, I wish I could afford to donate, but I can’t! I’m a teenager, and my family doesn’t have much money as it is! Also, those commercials upset both of our rescue dogs (they literally cry). My puppies are only 5 and 6 years old, and they are very sensitive! I’m trying to watch a Cops marathon on Spike TV, and I can’t because that Silent Night commercial is ALWAYS airing. It better not air on BBC America tomorrow night, because I’ll be watching the Doctor Who Christmas special with my sister and doggies.

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