Friday, May 4, 2012

"IS THIS ALL THAT DOG IS?" (A letter to Veterinary students)

(Website for the above image, click HERE)

Dear Veterinary student,

I was a stray; a dog with no name; one of the many who paced the world in search of a better life.  Although I was bred to seek out human companionship, the relationship, up until now, has evaded me. I lived off the street, became prone to disease and now lie on your dissection table. I thought my life was over when I took my last breath, but I realise that it probably is not. My most important mission now lies in front of you.

I know your studies are long and arduous.  Like me, you will have to plod your way through unfamiliar territory to uncover your destiny. You may have started off with all the enthusiasm of a puppy, but may also have become disillusioned along the way.  Do not become disillusioned, dear student. Unlike me, you have the gift of choice.

As a vet you are destined to become a helper of animals. You are also destined to become a helper of those humans who care for creatures like me. Many of my species will fall under your learned hands – hopefully to experience a better life.  Now I lie, open, in front of you, and hope to reveal the mysteries of my life.  Perhaps, one day, you will be able to make a difference to my world.

But what do you see when you now look at me?

When you plough through the structures of my body, do you simply see dead flesh? Or do you remember that I was destined for an instinctive purpose – to become a companion to human beings like you?  Will you consider my ability to survive those cold nights in search of a home?  Will you remember how I curled up into a small ball; tucked my snout under my fur, and sheltered myself from the elements? Is my design not incredible?

When you cut through my rib-cage and examine all that lies inside me, will you marvel how the scraps of food sustained me? Or will you be surprised at my will to live?  Will you question the toys that I chose to swallow as a puppy, or my ability to partially protect myself against disease? And my eyes: when you hold them in your hands, will you remember that I once looked to humans for companionship and favour? That I, too, provided loyalty to those who needed me.  My brain may be small, but its ability is not fully known. There is much we don’t know about this life.  Learn well, dear student – one day the eyes of other dogs will look to you in a familiar, pleading manner.

Will you remember, dear student, the silent language of my tail which now lies so quietly on your table?  And how my ears conveyed their own messages of pain and illness? Will you recognise that the paws that lie in front of you have travelled many distances in search of a better life; they helped me seek out the world when I was lost.  I buried, dug up and uncovered bones and other interesting objects; all of which taught me survival.  Despite this, the world held wonder for me.

And those small, fragile threads called my whiskers… will you understand that you don’t have them; that I was able to sense things well beyond your own senses?  That the world in which I lived was marvellous and challenging – like yours is now as you try and unravel my own mysteries?

Will you remember that amidst my hardship, that I was designed to study you too?  That I, too, hoped to form a relationship?

Veterinary student, as you cut me open and examine all that I am, will you consider this question…

“Is this all that dog is?”

You are human.  I am dog. I hold some of the answers which you seek.  I may not have found my forever home in this life, but perhaps I will now…beneath your scalpel. Please do not harden yourself from who you have always been – my helper. 

And yes, I am grateful!


kks said...

thank you for sharing this.......
we remind our students to thank the animals, appreciate that they give their lives so that we may learn, for without them, we wouldn't be here...
also remember and thank the many shelter dogs and cats that come through to be altered, bathed...for learning purposes....and hope you all find wonderful homes!

H and Flo said...

Wow. :)

My Dog Sam - Ruptured Disk said...

Hi Maxmom, my dad kind of "speed read" through your article. He's not too good with this kind of stuff but he wanted to let you know that we'd been by to say hello.

Mrs. JP said...

very poignant.

Bobz said...

Dear Dog (especially to "Patch")

Dear sweet, beautiful dog that gave up your life for me to learn..
thank you for your enormous sacrifice.
I want you to know that I thanked God for you the day that we met. I wish we had met under more pleasant circumstances..
I want you to know that with every muscle, vein, artery and bone that you exposed to me, I cherished the beautiful miracle that was you.
I know that you were long gone, enjoying the happy mysteries of the next adventure, well before we met, but what you left behind I will forever cherish as a stepping stone in the road to helping your kind.
Thank you so much... dear Patch.

With love,
-future vet-

3 doxies said...

OMD...we read dis and my mum cried, how beautiful! I mean, I don't even knows what to say...holy cows! And then we gots to Robyn's comment...and nows I really don't knows what to say udder than I needs to have my vet read dis.

Powerful and beautiful! And thank you fur sharin' dis,


Tweedles -- that's me said...


Sheila and Bob said...

Very Powerful.

Sheila & Bob

STELLA and RORY from Down Under said...

We too have a future Vet in the family, and yes, she certainly does recognise the loss of these beautiful animals, and is thankful to them for helping her to learn how to help others. It is usually something we don't like to think about, but when we do, we send them our love. Poor souls. Love Carol

Curt Rogers said...

This is a wonderful letter. I know Ken sometimes struggled when he was studying to be a CVT and had to dissect dogs and cats. Something like this certainly would have been appreciated during those days. Thanks for sharing, Ceryl!


♥Mimi♥ said...

Beautiful - sad. I'm sobbing...