Saturday, February 4, 2012

Human Nature

Sometimes, I weep for humanity. Sometimes, I am filled with hate and loathing for people. Sometimes, I question my decision to bring a child into the world. Sometimes, I have a heart full of love and hope. Today, I felt all of those at once all because of one little white dog.

It was a normal day here at VBB Hospital. I had finished a busy morning of routine appointments. I guess sometime during the morning's organized chaos a middle aged man came in with his little white dog. The dog was fat, but otherwise looked healthy and normal according to my receptionist and technician. The man said he no longer wanted the dog. My staff gave him the numbers and addresses of several nearby animal shelters and the number to a local “little white dog” rescue group. The man thanked them and left. I had just finished my one scheduled surgery of the day and sat down at my desk to eat lunch, when the staff informed me of an emergency walk-in. The man who walked in was a homeless man, who told them he had no money.

The man who brought the dog in told the following story: He had been panhandling at the freeway ramp, and walked down our way to get some coffee at the gas station. As he was passing by our parking lot, he saw a man viciously kicking and beating this dog. He told the man to stop, but the man would not. The homeless guy offered to by the dog. The man demanded $400.00. Well, the homeless man offered the only money he had, $10.00 he had just gotten by panhandling. The man took the $10.00 and handed his dog over. The homeless man knew our clinic was here, so he brought the little dog in to us. The homeless man had no ID and left after we took the dog with tears in his eyes.

I never saw either man. My technician and I started to work on the little dog, when my other technician said it was the same dog from earlier. The one the first man didn't want. The dog did have a collar and leash, but no tag, or microchip, no way to identify his owner. So, the dog couldn't walk, was covered in grease, and was in obvious respiratory distress. His temperature was 107.4 F (normal is 100 to 102 F). That high of a temperature is extremely dangerous and usually leads to death. We quickly treated him with fluids and cooling, and pain control. I saw no wounds or obvious broken bones. A radiograph showed free air in his abdomen indicating a ruptured bowel. This made the dog's prognosis grave. I decided to humanely euthanize the poor little creature as emergency surgery on a dog who had been in heat stroke wasn't likely to have a good outcome at all.

We did call Animal Control and report the incident. The officers were very nice and professional. They took the body to do a necropsy (doggie autopsy), copies of the radiographs, and the medical record. However, not much chance of anything happening to the man as we don't have any way to identify him.

This whole thing made me so angry! What a senseless act of violence. Why should a little dog suffer like that? Hell, why do kids suffer like that? Then I think of the homeless man giving his only $10.... I don't give money to panhandlers, but maybe it's time for me to rethink my assumptions about people.

People surprise me in all sorts of ways; good, bad, neutral. The world is a wonderful, scarey, evil, and exceedingly beautiful place. I hope some lives are for the better for having intersected with mine. I also hope against hope that karma is real.


  1. The homeless was not bad man.That is good thing !

  2. I'm at a loss for words.

    You know, sometimes I'm happy I don't do hospital work anymore. I'm going to go snuggle my little white (deaf and one eyed) cat now, and cry a bit. And then snuggle my little white dog when I go home tomorrow.

    I hope I dream of that asshole owner tonight, because the first thing I'm going to do is grab him by the nuts and yank of his sack like a paper towel.

  3. What an amazing person that homeless man was! Imagine giving all the money you have to save a dog. I hope bad things happen to the offender. If he is caught, do your state's laws allow for jail time for something like this?

  4. This reminds me of a call I took one night. A citizen called in that a dog was lying by the side of the road. When I got there, sure enough, there was a big, gray, wiry-coated guy - giant schnauzerish - lying in the gutter. No collar, no tags. It wasn't clear whether he'd been hit by a car, or had jumped or been thrown from the freeway overpass nearby. He was obviously in bad shape, and even my untrained eye could see he had spinal cord damage - no movement in his hind legs, and front legs rigid. I managed to haul him into the back seat of my squad car and take him to the nearby vet ER. I told them to do whatever they could for the dog, and I would pay the bill. When I didn't hear from the clinic after a few days, I stopped in during my shift. The tech told me the owners had showed up the next day, and they were pissed off that we (the cops) hadn't done more to find them. They had had the dog put down. That night, I tried to tell my wife about it, but couldn't as I cried like a baby for that dog. I never met or heard from the owners. I still despise them.

    1. No collar or tags, and they were upset you didn't try harder to find them? What did they expect you to do? I don't understand why people don't put collars and tags on pets. Thank you for trying to help the dog.

    2. Another great example of why dogs should be microchipped. True story: one of my own dogs decided she didn't want to stay home anymore. She broke her collar to get off her run and climbed a waist high chain link fence. She then gets hit a quarter mile from my house and animal control picks her up. The only way she got back to me was through her microchip. I patched her up and everything ended happily. And before I catch grief for having my dog outside, she was there b/c she had showed aggression towards my toddler. Fortunately the dog has a new home now and is much happier.

  5. We had a lady come into our clinic for a routine visit and turn down a microchip because she brought her dog "everywhere" with her. On her way home, she got in a car wreck. A good Samaritan came over to check on her and opened the car door. The dog bolted. She never found him. Sad, but true.

  6. Unfortunately, there is often not much humanity in humans.

    As soon as money and/or time is involved, people loose their humane site quite fast.

    Sometimes I think humanity was a concept made up by humans to make themselves feel superior.

    I mean what sense has humanity and a big brain with which you are able to think abstract and know a past, present and future and what your actions will cause when you ignore it?

    Humans have all that and often behave worse than any animal could.

    Sure, lions kill buffallos but they have neither the humane brain, nor the choice not to do so or they would starve.

    But humans with their big brains and humanity and abilities and choices still often choose to do either nothing, or the bad thing.

    I mean, humanity has no place in modern society it seems.

    Puppy mills, gassing facilities, castrating piglets and calfes without painkillers by the millions without any vet, just by the farm workers themselves...

    ..or grinding up millions of fresh hatched male chicks because they are useless, destroying tons of food to keep the prices stable instead of feeding the poor and hungry people

    Those days are sad days for humanity