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How to choose who has to die?


Posted: May 22nd, 2005 @ 11:05am


Celestine Sibley

Celestine Sibley
My friend Lily Bennett sent me a fax labeled "Urgent...Urgent...Urgent," and, as usual, Mrs. Bennett hit the nail on the head. The message is a letter from Carolyn Keeton of the organization All Creatures Are Truly Special, Inc., to people who have supported an animal shelter she runs in Dahlonega. Ms. Keeton is having a second bout with cancer and is unable to continue the work that she says she "always bounced back from" to do at the shelter.

For the last three years she has paid -- out of her own pocket -- the salary of a man to do the work at the shelter that she had been doing. Now she can no longer afford that, and she writes, "The donations received each month will not cover the total labor costs, so we are faced with the appalling prospect of having to put down animals.

"How to choose who has to die? she asks, and the alternatives will break your heart. They make me ashamed of how I pamper my own dog - and myself. The dogs she listed have been not only starved but criminally abused.

For instance, there's J.R., the one she found abandoned in the middle of a four-lane road. "He was left there to die, so sick and dehydrated he couldn't stand. He was carried to the vet for fluids, and I stayed up all night to get what nourishment I could into him. Today he is a healthy, happy, solid black, fuzzy ball of love who sleeps on my bed."

Another possible choice for death: Jake, found on a North Carolina road being chased away from garbage cans, where he was looking for just anything to eat.
 
"By the time I got turned around to go to his rescue, he was across the road - and still his tormentors were throwing rocks at him. When I pulled to the side of the road and called to him, he was so grateful for a kind word he collapsed at my feet. When I picked him up, I realized he had a broken leg and little round sores all over his body. The vet identified the round sores as cigarette burns. Today he is beautiful, loving and fiercely protective of me."
 
She continues: "Maybe we could put down Precious. Someone left her at the shelter one night when no one was around. When we found her the next morning, we couldn't even tell what kind of dog she was, as she was covered with mange and had only tufts of hair. Her skin was black and cracked and bleeding. With proper care, she blossomed into a beautiful blonde cocker spaniel who loves toys - not only her own, but any she can steal from others."
 
Then there's the Dalmatian called Darcy, whose owners rejected him when they learned he can't hear.
Ms. Keeton says she has 300 of those stories, one for each of the animals. A donation will help them to keep the shelter going, "and none of the animals will have to die." If you want to help, the address is: 53 Lakeview Drive, Dahlonega, GA 30533-6637.
 
I am speaking to my dog Kazan immediately. He may not be able to save the shelter, but he can certainly share. Those expensive pills our friendly vet gives him can go a little way in helping some abused, abandoned brother or sister dog. I put them in peanut butter sandwiches for him.
 
Mrs. Bennett is my authority on this shelter. She has known it for years, vouches for it and, as she says, "helps it out a little when I can." Maybe we can all do the same.
 


Author: Celestine Sibley Date: 01-31-1999
Publication: The Atlanta Journal and Constitution Page Number: M01




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