Letter to the Editor: True compassion can save a life

Published 7:00 am Saturday, November 19, 2016

Sir, or Madam,

Please forgive the lack of social grace by not including “dear” in the greeting. Perhaps, after consideration of the following, you may understand why.

A few months ago, after enduring many stifling hot summer days and numerous thunderstorms, an emaciated female Welsh Corgi dog crawled up and collapsed on a stranger’s porch. The animal was infested with ticks and fleas, and had been severely mauled by a canine of some unknown description. Her rib bones were showing through her skin and what was left of her fur. Her rear legs were paralyzed. She had been out alone in the Pearl River County wilderness a very long time and was, literally, approaching death.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The fine fellow, who found her, initially thought she was past all hope and had called a neighbor to help put her down. In the intervening few minutes, the rescuer pulled off a tick embedded in her spine and, miraculously, the rear legs began to function. Feeling true compassion for one of God’s creatures, she was brought to a dog rescuer and then to one of our local vets. The dog was quickly put on an intravenous drip, had the twenty-eight remaining ticks removed, was given a flea bath and antibiotics. Hookworms and mange were only part of the ultimate diagnosis and weekly medicated baths ended a few days ago.

I have had Welsh Corgi’s off and on for over 50 years, and know the breed. They are precocious, athletic, intelligent and great family dogs, if they are given limits and lots of love. It was a pleasure to be contacted to add another to the family. Daphne, the newly-named youthful addition, and the older resident Corgi, Oliver, are now close friends. After gladly expending over $600, she is well on her way to recovery, being licensed, chipped and wearing a very stylish pink collar.

We continue to work on the emotional damage. Daphne is still skittish when it comes to loud noises, and unfamiliar events, but sleeps well in the bed and on my lap. Fully housebroken, she goes into her crate before being told, greets me energetically when returning to the house, travels well in the car, is great on the leash, and has learned some basic commands. Still much of a puppy, she has lots of excess energy, but is never mean. She is now dozing at my feet, blissfully loosing the horrific memories of her near-tragic sufferings.

In the effort to find you, the one entrusted with the responsibility for the care of this beautiful animal, several venues were checked; each with no success. She had no collar, no identification and no microchip. If Daphne was a runaway, then no effort was made to inform the authorities; no effort was made to publish the loss. Likely, you abandoned the dog just to be done with her, and your justice will come from above and your shame, if it is possible, should be etched deeply in your psyche.

Let us be clear…Daphne is the real hero of the story, as she survived the depredations of those to whom were entrusted with her well-being. Thankfully, there were others who so graciously intervened. Appropriately, we will celebrate her first birthday on Thanksgiving Day, as we are unsure of the exact date.  Yet, it does not really matter, for we give our thanks for this precious gift of life, found in this four-legged survivor, now in our purview and care.

May everyone have the grace and intellect to surrender their charges if they are no longer wanted, or cannot be afforded, and to allow others to provide for them. We should all be offering our thanks giving for those who do.

Fr. Jonathan Filkins