site where a nearby small city was getting ready to shoot innocent
"nuisance" deer. I realize that for some people the prospect of deer nibbling in
their gardens is frustrating. But I feel that they fail to see this from the
deer's perspective. After all -- did we not gobble up their woods for our own
purposes to build more spacious homes, thereby limiting their own needed space?
Where are they to go? Where are they to find food?
I said something like this in my PD comment, and wouldn't you know --
someone commented that there are people who like animals better then they like
people. What a juvenile response. It is not about liking animals better than
humans. It is about being concerned for the deer who are also God's creatures. We need
to find alternatives to killing them. This is old --very old. We should be
using contraceptives on the does. Worried about deer-meat contamination? Just don't kill the does!
SAYING GOOD BYE TO HELEN
And later during the day I read a sad but loving account on the
All-Creatures.org internet site about two wonderful and sensitive caretakers at Catskill
Animal Sanctuary and their account of having to sorrowfully say good-bye to
Helen. Helen was a cow who came to CAS when she was only a calf, blind and frightened.
Now Helen was grown to nine years old and Kathy O'Keefe of CAS remembers
that she learned to love and trust after such a difficult beginning. She even
soon bonded with a young steer named Rudy and with her human caretakers as well. Kathy recalled that Helen proved to be spunky, vivacious, and smart. She notes
that Helen was hardly a shrinking violet, and she recalled the times when she would be
the one to test and break the fences when the mood would strike her. What
and understanding the staff showed to her at those times. But she was also
always the one ready for a snack or a snuggle.
It was obvious that the CAS caretakers accepted her as she was, and I
couldn't help smiling reading their description of her. She seemed to be so human. And
indeed -- animals do have personalities, and many of them show a great deal of intelligence
as did Helen.
And how amazing -that despite her blindness, she managed to thrive until
her ninth year when the vet noticed that the pressure behind her eyes was building and
causing her pain. He suggested that it would be better to have her eyes removed. This
procedure had been done successfully before at CAS with three blind horses. So it was decided
to take Helen to Cornell for the surgery.
After enticing her into the van with treats and a little bit of nudging,
Kathy and staff member Alex began the over 4-hour drive to Cornell. Once there, Helen was
directed into a deeply bedded stall. Kathy then gave the vets her history, and while
introducing Helen to them, she also let them lovingly know that Helen was looked upon as "a
1,000-pound cocker spaniel" and a beloved friend to staff and visitors alike to the
Catskill Animal Sanctuary.
The surgery went well, and everyone at the sanctuary breathed a sigh of
relief. However, this happiness was short lived when Kathy received a message to call
Cornell. Helen had slipped and fallen as she tried to get up while coming out of
Because she tore ligaments and cartilage in one of her back legs,
corrective surgery was not possible. This was devastating news as this meant she had to be
euthanized. The return trip for Kathy and Alex was not a happy one. When they arrived, Helen was lying down in her stall. Kathy softly called her name and Helen turned to
her and lowed a soft response. She responded in kind when Alex approached and she heard
She then nuzzled him too.
When the vet came in, Kathy sat cross-legged with Helen's head in her lap.
She stroked her and repeatedly told her how much she loved her and that every thing
would be okay until she slowly slipped away. She then laid her head back and whispered
"It was my honor to know you."
Of this sad happening, she reflected: "How privileged we were to have been
a part of this dear animal's life... and how privileged Alex and I were to have eased
her death. My face and the front of my vest were soaked with tears and my chest felt
like it would explode. It was a long ride home. Yet as much as it hurt, I would not
have missed it for the world. These gut-wrenching goodbyes are, after all, the price of
How lucky Helen was... despite her blindness and premature death. She had
had 9 years of contentment and affection that the cows on the milking lines would
never have. She had had mobility and access to a sunny pasture. The cows on the milking
line never moved out of their dark airless factory surroundings -- day after day after day.
And this was the only cruel existence they would know until released from it and then
slaughtered for their meat. No retirement for them after years of faithful milk output.
Selfish man wants retirement for himself, but is not concerned that other living beings
receive it as well.
Do you think that the clod who commented on the deer problems around the
periphery of Cleveland saying that some of us love animals more than humans would
have understood this concern for Helen? I don't think so. Thank you Kathy,
Alex, and anyone else who made Helen's life happy and peaceful. You are indeed blessed with
a rare compassion so few people have.
A VEGAN EASTER
There was a time when I ate ham, cooked eggs, cirak (Slovak cheese) and
Paska (egg bread). All the Catholic families would bring this food in baskets to be blessed on
Holy Saturday and enjoyed on Easter Sunday. Some even included a lamb made from sweet
I am so glad that for me the wonderful joy of Christ's resurrection no
longer means eating these foods, which often cause so much farm animal suffering. I became
vegetarian in 1978 and vegan in 1983. Big Pharma does not
like vegans like me. Wouldn't it be great though if there were millions more like me?