"We must be the change we wish to see in the world." -Mahatma Gandhi

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Before and after

Just as I was beginning to get discouraged with the recent death and general lack of improvement among most of the animals, I was contented somewhat when we examined the donkey with the hobble wound. I think I wrote about the donkey a while back, on one of my first days in cattle, but for those of you wondering, a hobble is a piece of wire, rope or plastic that is tied to the donkey's front and back legs, or front leg and neck.  This is to prevent them from running away.  Many of the donkeys we see have had the hobble tied too tightly for too long and a deep wound persists, sometimes requiring amputation.

This one particular donkey had developed a serious, granulomatous mass of "proud flesh" around where the plastic hobble had been tied.  The wound had looked raw and painful and she didn't put any weight on it at all. I didn't see the animal when it had first come into the hospital, as it had arrived a few days prior, but I was able to snap a picture of it after a few days of treatment.  For several weeks we replaced splint after splint, cleaning the wound and applying wound powder and betadine routinely. Today I noticed that she is now able to stand on the leg.  The swelling and raw flesh has receded and only a small wound exists where the large mass had been. Success! Finally.

This situation reminds me of a story my friend recently sent me.

Once upon a time there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing.   He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.  One day he was walking along the shore.  As he looked down the beach, he saw a human figure moving like a dancer.  He smiled to himself to think of someone who would dance to the day.  So he began to walk faster to catch up.  As he got closer, he saw that it was a young man and the young man wasn't dancing, but instead he was reaching down to the shore, picking up something and very gently throwing it into the ocean.

As he got closer he called out, "Good morning! What are you doing?"  The young man paused, looked up and replied, "Throwing starfish in the ocean."
"I guess I should have asked, why are you throwing
starfish in the ocean?"
"The sun is up, and the tide is going out, and if I don't
throw them in they'll die."
"But, young man, don't you realize that there are miles and miles of beach, and starfish all along it.  You can't possibly make a difference!"

The young man listened politely.  Then bent down, picked  up another starfish and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves and said, "It made a difference for that one."

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