Two Wonderful Animal Related Stories
- Permission to cross post
His Name Was Sam
After I was discharged from the Navy, Jim and I moved back to Detroit to use
our GI bill benefits to get some schooling. Jim was going for a degree in
Electronics and I after much debating decided to get mine in Computer
Science. One of the classes that was a requirement was Speech. Like many
people I had no fondness for getting up in front of people for any reason let
alone to be the center of attention as I stuttered my way through some
unfamiliar subject, but I couldn't get out of the requirement and so I found
myself in my last semester before graduation with Speech as one of my classes.
On the first day of class our professor explained to us that he was going to
leave the subject matter of our talks up to us, but he was going to provide
the motivation of the speech. We would be responsible for six speeches, each
with a different motivation. For instance our first speech's purpose was to
inform. He advised us to pick subjects that we were interested in and
knowledgeable about. I decided to center my six speeches
around animals especially dogs.
My first speech was to inform, I talked about the equestrianart of dressage.
My second speech was to demonstrate, I brought my German Shepherd, Bodger, to
class and demonstrated obedience commands. Finally the semester was almost
over and I had but one more speech to give. This speech was to take the place
of a written final exam and was to count for fifty per cent of our grade. The
speeches motivation was to persuade. After agonizing over a subject matter,
and keeping with my animal theme, I decided on the topic of spaying and
neutering pets. My goal was to try to persuade my classmates to neuter their
pets. So I started researching the topic. There was plenty of material,
articles that told of the millions of dogs and cats that were euthanized
every year, of supposedly beloved pets that were turned in to various animal
control facilities for the lamest of reason, or worse dropped off far from
home, bewildered and scared. Death was usually a blessing. The final speech
was looming closer, but I felt well prepared. My notes were full of facts and
statistics that I felt sure would motivate even the most naive of pet owner
to succumb to my plea.
A couple of days before our speeches were due, I had the bright idea of going
to the local branch of the Humane Society and borrowing a puppy to use as a
sort of a visual aid. I called the Humane Society and explainedwhat I wanted.
They were very happy to accommodate me. I made arrangements to pick up a
puppy the day before my speech. The day before my speech, I went to pick up
the puppy. I was feeling very confident. I could quote all the statistics and
numbers without ever looking at my notes. The puppy,
I felt, would add the final emotional touch.
When I arrived at the Humane Society I was met by a young guy, named Ron. He
explained that he was the public relations person for the Humane Society. He
was very excited about my speech and asked if I would like a tour of the
facilities before I picked up the puppy. I enthusiastically agreed.
We started out in the reception area, which was the general public's initial
encounter with the Humane Society. The lobby was full, mostly with people
dropping off various animals that they no longer wanted. Ron explained to me
that this branch of the Humane society took in about fifty animals a day and
adopted out twenty. As we stood there I heard snatches of conversation, I
can't keep him, he digs holes in my garden. There such cute puppies, I know
you will have no trouble finding homes for them. She is wild,I can't control
her. I heard one of Humane Society's volunteer explain to the lady with the
litter of puppies that the Society was filled with puppies and that these
puppies, being black, would immediately be put to sleep. Black puppies, she
explained, had little chance of being adopted. The woman who brought the
puppies in just shrugged, I can't help it. They are getting too big, I don't
have room for them.
We left the reception area, Ron lead me into the staging area where all the
in coming animal were evaluated for adoptability. Over half never even made
it to the adoption center.There were just too many. Not only were people
bringing in their own animal, but strays were also dropped off. By law the
humane society had to hold a stray for three days. If the animal was not
claimed by then it was euthanized, since there was no background information
on the animal. There were already too many animals that had a known history
eagerly provided by their soon to be x owners. As we went through the
different areas, I felt more and more depressed. No amount of statistics,
could take the place of seeing the reality of what this throw away attitude
did to the living breathing animal. It was over overwhelming.
Finally Ron stopped in front of a closed door. That's it. He said. Except for
this. I read the sign on the door. Euthanization Area. Do you want to see
one? He asked. Before I could decline, he interjected, You really should, you
can't tell the whole story unless you experience the end. I reluctantly
agreed. Good. He said I already cleared it and Peggy is expecting you, He
knocked firmly on the door. It was open immediately by a middle aged woman,
in a white lab coat. Here's the girl I was telling you about. Ron explained.
Peggy looked me over. Well, I'll leave you here with Peggy and meet you in
the reception area in about fifteen minutes. I'll have the puppy ready. With
that Ron departed, leaving me standing in front of the stern looking Peggy.
Peggy motioned me in. As I walked into the room, I gave an audible gasp. The
room was small and sparten. There were a couple of cages on the wall and a
cabinet with syringes and vials of a clear liquid. In the middle of the room
was an examining table with a rubber mat on top. There were two doors other
than the one I had entered. Both were closed, one said to incinerator room,
and the other had no sign, but I could hear various animals noises coming for
behind the closed door. In the back of the room, near the door that was
marked incinerator, were the objects that caused my distress ---two wheel
barrels, filled with the bodies of dead kittens and puppies. I stared in
horror. Nothing had prepared me for this, I felt my legs grow weak and my
breathing become rapid and shallow. I wanted to run from that room,
screaming. Peggy seemed not to notice my state of shock. She started talking
about the euthanizaton process, but I wasn't hearing her. I could not tear my
gaze away from the wheel barrels and those dozens of pathetic little bodies.
Finally, Peggy seemed to noticed that I was not paying attention to her. Arey
ou listening? She asked irritably. I'm only going to go through this once. I
tore my gaze from the back of the room and looked at her. I opened my mouth
to say something, but nothing would come out, so I nodded. She told me that
behind the unmarked door were the animals that were scheduled for euthanasia
that day. She picked up the a chart that was hanging from the wall. One
fifty-three is next. She said as she looked at the chart. I'll go get him.
She laid down the chart on the examining table and started for the unmarked
door. Before she got to the door she stopped and turned around. You aren't
going to get hysterical are you? She asked Because that will only upset the
animals. I shook my head. I had not said a word since I walked into that
room.I still felt unsure if I would be able to without breaking down into
As Peggy open the unmarked door I peered into the room beyond. It was a small
room, but the walls were lined and stacked with cages. It looked like they
were all occupied. Peggy opened the door of one of the lower cages and
removed the occupant. From what I could see it looked like a medium size dog.
She attached a leash and ushered the dog into the room in which I stood.As
Peggy brought the dog into the room I could see that the dog was no more than
a puppy maybe five or six months old. The pup looked to be a amount of tan
above his eyes and on his feet. He was very excited and bouncing up and down,
trying to sniff everything in this new environment. Peggy lifted the pup onto
the table. She had a card in her hand.which she laid on the table next to me.
I read the card. It said that number one fifty-three was a mixed Shepherd, 6
months old. He was surrendered two days ago by a family. Reason of surrender
was given as jumps on children. At the bottom was a note that said Name: Sam.
Peggy was quick and efficient, from lots of practice, I guessed.
She laid one fifty-three down on his side and tied a rubber tourniquet around
his front leg. She turned to fill the syringe from the vial of clear
liquid.All this time I was standing at the head of the table. I could see the
moment that one fifty-three went from a curious puppy to a terrified puppy.
He did not like being held down and he started to struggle.It was then that I
finallyfound my voice. I bent over the struggling puppy and whispered Sam.
Your name is Sam. At the sound of his name Sam quit struggling. He wagged his
tail tentatively and his soft pink tongue darted out and licked my hand And
that is how he spent his last moment. I watched his eyes fade from
hopefulness to nothingness. It was over very quickly. I had never even seen
Peggy give the lethal shot. The tears could not be contained any longer. I
kept my head down so as not to embarrass myself in front of the stoic Peggy.
My tears fell onto the still body on the table.Now you know. Peggy said
softly. Then she turned away. Ron will be waiting for you. I left the room.
Although it seem like it had been hours, only fifteen minutes had gone by
since Ron had left me at the door. I made my way back to the reception area.
True to his word, Ron had the puppy already to go. After giving me some
instructions about what to feed the puppy, he handed the carrying cage over
to me and wished me good luck on my speech.
That night I went home and spent many hours playing with the orphan puppy. I
went to bed that night but I could not sleep. After a while Igot up and
looked at my speech notes with their numbers and statistics. Without second
thought I tore them up and threw them away. I went back to bed. Sometime
during the night I finally fell asleep.
The next morning I arrived at my Speech class with Puppy Doe. When my turn
came to give my speech. I walked up to the front the class with the puppy in
my arms. I took a deep breath, and I told the class about the life and death
of Sam. When I finished my speech I became aware that I was crying. I
apologizedto the class and took my seat. After class the teacher handed out a
critique with our grades. I had got a His comments said, Very moving and
Two days later, on the last day of class, one of my classmates came up to me.
She was an older lady that I had never spoken to in class. She stopped me on
our way out of the classroom. I want you to know that I adopted the puppy you
brought to class. She said. His name is Sam.
What We Did to Rodney
We called him Rodney. He was a tall, gangly, fle-bitten shepherd mix. One ear
stood up, shepherd style, and the other flopped over and bounced against his
head like a rag doll when he ran. His head and feet were too big for his thin
but muscular body. A stale, musty odor accompanied him from flea-infested
skin and neglected ears. Altogether, he wasn't much to look at - one of
thousands of dogs facing the world without the luxury of an owner.
I was in my third year of veterinary school, and he came from the local dog
pound. For the next quarter, four of us students would practice surgery
training. He was always happy to see us - tail thumping widly against the
walls of his small steel cage. Rodney hadn't much of a life, so a pat on the
butt and a little walk around the college complex made his day.
The first thing we did was neuter him, a seemingly benign project, except it
took us an hour to complete the usual 20-minute procedure, and an anesthetic
overdose kept him out for 36 hours. Afterward, he recovered his strength
quickly and felt good. Two weeks later, we did an abdominal exploratory,
opening his abdomen, checking his organ inventory, and closing him again.
This was the first major surgery for any of us, and, with inadequate
supervision, we did not close him properly. By the next morning, his incision
had opened and he was sitting on his small intestine. Hastily, we sewed him
up again, and he survived. But it was a week or more before he could resume
walks he had come to eagerly anticipated. He would still wag his tail when we
arrived and greet us with as much enthusiasm as he could muster.
The following week, again when he was under anesthesia, we broke his leg and
repaired it with a steel pin. After this, Rodney seemed in almost constant
pain, his temperature rose, and he didn't rebound as he had in the past. His
resiliency gone, despite antibiotic treatment, he never recovered completely.
He could no longer manage his walks, and our visits generated only a weak
thump of his tail. The shine was gone from his brown eyes. His operated leg
remained stiff and swollen. The quarted was ending, and Rodney's days were
numbered. One afternoon we put him to sleep. As the life drained from his
body and his eyes lost their focus, my attitude toward animal research began
I am a scientist weaned on the scientific method. ... But after 15 years in
the veterinary profession, I now believe there are moral and ethical
considerations that outweigh benefits. Because we happen to be the most
powerful species on Earth, we humans have the ability - but not the right -
to abuse the so-called lower animals. The ends do not justify the means.
Love All Animals
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I support In Defense of Animals "They are not our property, we
are not their owners" Campaign
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed
citizens can change the world...indeed, it is the only thing
that ever has!" -- Margaret Mead
No matter how sweet and wonderful Love is and no matter how true and deep promises are, Love still hurts and promises are useless. So why bother to love someone and hurt yourself again? -- Ryan Courtade
If you don't like my opinions leave.
But just remember, the animals can't leave the cages that hold them. They are captive and suffering. As you cozy into your bed tonight, try to imagine the pain and the suffering that they endure day after day and night after night. Next time you get some soap in your eyes, try to imagine that pain for 3 or 4 days at a time. Next time you have a stomach ache, try to imagine liquid plumber being poured down your throat till you puke so much blood that you bleed to death. Next time you bump your head, try to imagine being a monkey and getting a steel plate smashed into your skull at 50 miles per hour. Then, only then should you feel compelled to tell me that I'm wrong about my opinions. For all these things have happened in the name of science.
They continue in abundance till this day.
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