Shaddup Already!



There's a dichotomy that exists in humanity. A yen and yang, a night and day, good and evil.

Yesterday a grizzled, blue-collar-type man came into the vet clinic with tears in his eyes. His hands were blackened with oil, grease, general dirt from hard work.

"Do you put animals down here?" he asked, obviously pained to do so.

"Yes," I replied, knowing that this is not anywhere near my favorite part of my new veterinary receptionist job. "Is the animal with you?"

"Yes, he was hit by a car."

The man had to fill out paperwork before we could euthanize his pet. While he was filling out the information, another couple came out with their young, energetic dog, Bucky. I didn't understand at first the way the gentleman looked up when the doctor came out asking for Bucky. But I found out later that this man was Mr. Buck.

As I was putting him into our system as quickly as possible, I overheard Junior's tragic story. A six month old chihuahua, who hadn't yet had a chance to live, was run down intentionally and left for dead. A neighbor reported that the car actually swerved into the ditch in order to hit this innocent creature.

Mr. Buck was stoic, as men are often programmed to be. He showed little emotion, aside from the tears that crystallized at the corners of his eyes. We were all appalled by what we were hearing. Then Mr. Buck declared that if he ever saw that car, there would be trouble.

Throughout the process that seems so inane in times of life and death, Mr. Buck answered my questions and paid his bill without complaint. He was polite and respectful the entire time. Something that belies his gentle manner. Truly a gentleman.

Just as I was getting angry and sickened by this story, a woman popped her head in the clinic door to ask if there was anyone who could help. An elderly lady's car had broken down in the middle of the street. This stranger, a good samaritan, couldn't just drive by and leave her there. So she went to summon help. As soon as the words were out of her mouth, two men left to assist with the broken down car. It reminded me of the goodness of people.

Mr. Buck went and got Junior from his car and brought him into the clinic. I led him to a room, his eyes clouding over. He asked with a quivering voice if he had to stay for the procedure. I assured him that it was his decision entirely. He said his goodbyes to this little pup that, no doubt, held so much promise as a life-long companion. An innocent spirit maliciously destroyed by someone who I can only think of as evil.

I was almost in tears myself as he walked, shoulders slumped, out of the clinic. I was filled with rage, contempt and an overwhelming sense of empathy for this man. I wanted to find those responsible and run them over myself. I was sick to my stomach at the thought that one could be so brutal.

Just when I was about to lose it, the good samaritan came back in the clinic with two very elderly women. One was moving slowly within the confines of her walker. She asked if these ladies could sit in our waiting room as it was cooler than outside. Then she informed us that they called someone who was coming to get them.

Once she was satisfied that the ladies were out of harm's way, she turned and left. Undoubtedly back to the busy day she had put on hold for another human being.

My emotions were so conflicted yesterday. At a time when I wanted to declare that people suck, I was reminded of the infinite generosity of spirit that exists. I guess I have to believe that these two events happened simultaneously to teach us something. I often say, half-jokingly, that I hate people or that people suck. Yesterday my blanket statement was robbed from me by this display of love and concern for our fellow people and fellow creatures.

For that I am grateful.

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