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Some People Would Not Understand

Message Suzana Megles
I recently commented on an article on the internet's Cleveland Plain Dealer
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!
And later during the day I read a sad but loving account on the 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 wonderful patience
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 anesthesia.
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 his voice.
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 love."
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.
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 butter.
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?

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I have been concerned about animal suffering ever since
I received my first puppy Peaches in 1975. She made me take a good look at the animal kingdom and I was shocked to see how badly we treat so many animals. At 77, I've been a vegan for the (more...)
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