David Bruce: Animals Anecdotes

• Lots of truckers are using their wheels to get dogs to new homes. Sean Kiel, a 46-year-old who has been a truck driver for 30 years, helped to rescue a curly white Bichon Frise from life in a puppy mill. He took the ball of fluff to a woman in California who was eager to adopt it.  Mr. Kiel said, “Here I am, a big ol’ tough truck driver, and I’m sitting here choking up right now. She was so happy to get that dog — just absolutely happy. It was so touching to see.” Sue Wiese, age 68, is a former truck driver from Joshua, Texas; she is also an animal lover. Ms. Wiese said, “You just have to do something.” Following Hurricane Katrina, a natural disaster in which lots of pets lost their homes, Ms. Wiese took action. She said, “My heart was just breaking from all the stories about the pets. I was driving down the road and I was praying, ‘Lord, what can I do? I’m just a truck driver.’ And then I heard one word: Transport.” She founded Operation Roger. People can read online about animals that need a home, and truck drivers can volunteer to take the animals to the people who wish to adopt them. From 2005 to 2011, Operation Roger took approximately 600 animals to new homes. In some cases, animals are reunited with their owners. For example, Robert Montagna, age 56, a truck driver and Operation Roger volunteer living in Michigan, witnessed a waitress in Colorado being reunited with her chocolate Labrador retriever. Mr. Montagna said, “When they saw each other, they just ran together toward each other like it was in a movie. She cried and cried when she saw that dog.” Mr. Montagna said he loves being a member of Operation Roger: “I just love doing this. I always say that if I won a big lottery, I’d buy a big RV and I’d call Sue up and say, ‘Where’s the dog at? I’ll deliver it.’ And after that, I’d call her and say, ‘OK, where’s the next dog at?’ I’d just keep doing this all over the country.”

• In December 2005, someone tried to kill a cat by putting it in a cage, weighting it with a 16-pound rock, and dropping it in the icy Clark Fork River in Montana. Fortunately for the cat, the cage hit the ice instead of the water, and firefighters from Missoula, MT, rescued it. After media reports about the rescue appeared, many, many people called the fire station to thank the firefighters for saving the life of the cat and for finding it a good home. The firefighters had used a rescue boat to get the cat and had then fed it turkey and milk. Firefighter Josh Macrow took the cat to a veterinarian and then took it home to his 12-year-old daughter, Taylor, who had long wanted a cat. City Fire Chief TomSteenberg said, “We’re just doing our job. We are happy that we’ve got the tools and firefighters with the training to go out in the river and operate this kind of rescue safely. It takes a lot of training and specialized gear to do this kind of thing, and we train constantly.” These days, firefighters train for major disasters, including complicated high-rise and confined-space rescues as well as hazardous waste emergencies. Mr. Steenberg said, “We really aren’t in the business of getting cats out of trees anymore. On the other hand, a can of tuna fish has always worked. In this instance, with a caged cat out on the ice, tuna fish isn’t going to work and we have a lot of people here at the station with big hearts. We can’t ignore a situation like that.”

• In autumn 2005, 10-year-old Chantal Burnup was swimming in the Sale River in Western Australia’s Kimberley region. A 9-foot-long crocodile grabbed her by her torso and tried to pull her underwater. Her 14-year-old brother, Simon, assisted their father by punching the crocodile in a successful attempt to rescue her. The children’s mother, Gabrielle Burnup, said about Chantal, “She’s very well. She’s had treatment and all her dressings have been renewed and she is lying in bed watching a video. She is OK as long as she doesn’t have to speak directly about what has happened. She gets very emotional to put herself back into that situation.” Mrs. Burnup said about Simon, “He doesn’t say much, but I think it very much scared him as well. I think he was [brave] to get back in the water knowing what was in there, which is what he did. I thought he was fantastic.” Chantal said, “I tried to get it off me, and my dad pulled me out of the water and he pulled me back onto the rocks.” Simon spoke about his part in the rescue after his father had grabbed Chantal to keep the crocodile from dragging her underwater, “By that time I got out of the water and was watching and Dad was shouting at me to help. So I got back in and smacked it on the head and Dad pulled her out.”

• Comic artist G.B. Jones says, “All girls should have big dogs.” She has two bull mastiffs—huge dogs. Ms. Jones says that “there is nothing like the feeling of walking down the street, any time of the night, be it 10, 11, 12, or 3 in the morning, and seeing guys get right off the sidewalk. Nobody bothers you. Nobody says anything to you. You can go where you want. You are totally free. Can you imagine?” She says, “If a guy’s bugging you, you can say, “F[**]k off, jerk.” You don’t have to worry that he’s going to rush over and kill you.” She adds, “The first time I went for a walk with a dog at night, I couldn’t believe it. I experienced total freedom. I guess it’s the way men live their whole lives.”

• “An animal’s eyes have the power to speak a great language.” — Martin Buber

• “We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.” — Immanual Kant

Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

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