Another Poignant Quote

September 26, 2011 § 2 Comments

James Herriot is a country vet in England’s Yorkshire and has written quite a few books about his times there and the animals he dealt with – large and small.

The book James Herriot’s Dog Stories is one such book.  It was published in 1992, but many of the stories are from decades before.

One story, about a small white dog he was dealing with which had Hodgkins and was starting to suffer, led me to quote him.  It shows my exact thinking on euthanasia.

‘Good lad, good old Theo,’ I murmured, and stroked the face and ears again and again as the little creature slipped peacefully away.  Like all vets I hated doing this, painless though it was, but to me there has always been a comfort in the knowledge that the last thing these helpless animals knew was the sound of a friendly voice and the touch of a gentle hand.

Sentimental, maybe.  Not like Paul (the owner).  He had been practical and utterly rational in the way he had acted.  He had been able to do the right thing because he was not at the mercy of his emotions.

Then he goes on…

‘You know, Helen (speaking to his wife),’ I said, ‘that was an object lesson for me.  The way Paul acted, I mean.  If I’d been in his position I’d have shilly-shallied – tried to put off something which was inevitable.’

She thought for a moment.  ‘Well, a lot of people would.’

I won’t spoil the rest of the story, in case you end up getting and reading the book.  He also wrote All Creatures Great and Small, which may be one you’ve heard of.

I guess I have a couple of points to this post.  One is that the right thing to do is not always the easiest.  Another point is when the author says things like ‘do the right thing’ and ‘painless though it was’.  It really does emphasize my point about euthanasia.  It is painless.  It is the right thing to do.  And when it comes to pets, large and small, it is the humane thing to do.

On another note, I’m not sure if you’ve seen the latest drivel coming out of Bill desBarres arena, but I’ll be writing about that one soon.

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