Weaker Than The Old Man

Mandy had a lot of firsts. She was the first dog my parents ever owned that was purchased. My brother bought her for my dad when both my parents had been retired for some years. She was the first dog my parents ever let into their home. She was the first dog my dad had ever taken to a vet. When she was five, I got her from my parents. She was my first dog as an adult. She was the first (and last) dog I bred, and I kept one of her puppies. At 15, Mandy died in her kennel of natural causes. She hadn’t suffered a bit.

Just a year or two later, her puppy was the first dog I had to euthanize. He had a limp in his front right leg, and I took him to the vet. The vet conducted an examination, including x-rays, but couldn’t identify the problem. During a business trip the following week, the vet left a message for me to call. The shoulder x-ray had incidentally included part of the lung, and it was filled with cancer. After a brief conversation, the vet informed me that I would need to put my dog down before he suffered. To my relief, he mentioned they could euthanize my dog with a shot. Throughout my life, putting a dog down meant digging a grave, calling the dog, shooting him, and burying him. This wasn’t just my family’s experience; it was how everyone did it.

A couple of months ago, I had dinner with an high school friend. His family ranched, and he has always had a Blue Heeler (Australian Cattle Dog). We got talking about our dogs, and he indicated that, like me, he couldn’t put his dog down (versus taking them to the vet). With great respect, we discussed our tough fathers.

Tough means the ability to do the right thing even when it is very difficult. It is much less difficult to have the vet put the dog down, and I doubt this has much to do with the shot being more humane. Yes, I would prefer the vet to use a shot versus a rifle, but the fact is that it would be very difficult for me to use either.

As I watch the hysterics about Kristi Noem’s putting her dog down, I can’t help but think our society is upside down and over-pampered. They seem to think that because they could never put their pet down, anyone that does must be cruel. They never look at themselves to understand whether they could do anything that is right but difficult. Would they keep their dog suffering for a week until the vet was available and think it was humane? I think I know the answer. I watch people that will let their dog suffer for weeks because they cannot even bring themselves to take it to the vet to be euthanized, and they rationalize it because they love their pet. It is out of this love that they will let their pet suffer. They will let their dog attack other dogs or people and do nothing. That is called weak and cruel.

I have dogs that are pets and also enjoy hunting. My father had a dog to hunt. My father hunted to put food on the table. I spent around 6 grand last year on my two dogs, roughly 10 percent of the median income. I don’t wonder if my father and everyone I knew growing up were cruel or inhumane; I wonder if I am.

I don’t question whether the folks of my youth could sit on a jury and do the right thing. I question whether I could sit on a jury and do the right thing when there are threatening protests outside the courtroom.

I wonder how many of these people clutching their pearls today will walk right by a real human laying in the gutter tomorrow? How many will drive by a broken-down vehicle? A person walking down the road? How many will watch a person get mugged or beaten?

I guess I knew the answer to these questions about the same time I took that first dog to the vet to be euthanized. Around that time, I broke down a mile from town in the dead of winter. I walked that mile as car after car passed me. I remember thinking, I ain’t in South Dakota no more. Not one of those folks that put down their dog ever drove by a person walking on the road in the dead of winter.


Very well written.

On the subject of dogs, Myself, I could not put down, (read that as shoot), my dog. I had a love for him that brought me comfort despite his injury and handicap having to use an appliance to give him mobility when his back legs would not function. When his wearing diapers in the house caused a UTI to destroy his kidneys, I employed someone that could do it for me, a vet, to humanly end his suffering.

To do the right thing, a concept many don’t understand.

I had just two dogs, an aged Bichon Frisé and an aged ShihTzu Poodle mix, (my late wife’s dog) and now I have four because I’m in the process of adopting a bonded brother and sister American Eskimo type seven month old dogs. I think it’s the right thing to have them spayed and neutered. Because I can not control the puppies they may have. I don’t want them the puppies suffer.

But wait a minute, doesn’t that apply to me having progeny?

In a way yes, I gave my two offspring the best I could have until they went on their own. They are living thinking beings and I believe, (we), brought up well enough that they have instilled in them the knowledge and willingness to do the right thing.


Welcome, Gerard!
When I read @Mettelus’ piece yesterday, I wasn’t aware of the context of the Noem story. Sheesh! She shot a perfectly healthy PUPPY! Followed that up by shooting a pet goat—then posted about just having put down THREE (3) horses.
Yes okay sometimes this kinda thing has to be done, it’s part of keeping animals, of course we al get that. But the norm, i think, is what Gerard describes: we go to great lengths to accommodate the pet’s disability, And then we GRIEVE!! i wailed like a banshee with the last horse for whom we had to summon the vet, even though i knew he’d never get up again, i SHOULD have done it BEFORE he had to experience the terror of immobility.
Why put these incidents in a book? To show she’s tough even though she looks like a Barbie doll?

It was an awful, awful mistake writing so cavalierly about these incidents, just totally tone-deaf, even IF her actual conduct in the circumstances was rational and humane—(but a PUPPY?)


I suppose I’m a kind of intersection when it comes to euthanizing. We have had cats off and on for many years now. One of the young kittens we bought developed Feline Infections Peritonitis (FIP). It is 100% lethal. It causes the abdomen to swell up in a highly disfiguring manner. The poor thing - named “birdie” because she would climb up my body with her claws and perch on my shoulder - needed to be euthanized.

Now, I’m a target shooter (I would hunt for meat if necessary) and have an assortment of guns. However, I live in the suburbs of a large city where it is illegal to discharge a firearm. So, that was out of the question. As well, I’m an anesthesiologist, so I know about lethal injections. In fact, I have performed scores of thousands of them. Every general anesthetic, you see, begins as a lethal injection because the IV drugs we give cause apnea. If we didn’t “rescue” the patient by ventilating them, they would literally die.

My wife and kids preferred we do it ourselves at home. So, I acquired the requisite medications, ketamine (a general anesthetic) and pancuronium (muscle paralytic) and injected, first, a massive overdose of ketamine. After the poor creature was asleep, I injected the paralytic. She promptly stopped breathing and became so limp that when I carried her out to the grave I had dug, she was so flaccid it seemed as though the skeleton had dissolved.

This was difficult for me to do and I suspect I had similar feelings to those who have had to shoot their pets to accomplish the same necessary end. It felt like a duty, required of me as an adult.


Gerard - welcome. I hope you hang around.


I respect your ability to do the difficult.


To be clear, I don’t care about Kristi’s political ambitions. I don’t have much respect for any politician, and those who write books while in office I hold in even lower regard (if possible).

I think you make my point. In this country, you can drone strike innocent people, you can drone strike US citizens, you can sell your political influence, or commit any number of other actual crimes, and it isn’t even a speed bump with regard to your political career. But don’t hurt a puppy or be accused of an ‘ism’ or your career is OVER.

Maybe she should have written about how she got pregnant as a senior in college and her dad got killed in a farm accident, so she needed to abort her baby to take over the farm. This would make her a brave hero. She didn’t abort the baby, and she was married when she got pregnant. Politically, she would be better off making it up like I did.

I did not read what she wrote, so I don’t know if my facts are correct. I did read the summary that is already on Wikipedia. There is a paragraph in Kristi’s write-up about the dog incident. I scanned Biden’s, and there is no reference to being accused of selling influence.

I read it was a 14-month-old dog. That isn’t a puppy. By one year, most dogs are fully grown. I read it attacked the neighbor’s chickens. When judging whether a dog is vicious, one should err on the side of caution, especially when the dog will be unrestrained, as is true of a farm dog.

Assuming Wikipedia’s write-up is fair and truthful, which is always in question, I would have some questions about Kristi’s actions. The dog was a Wirehaired Pointer, which requires a great deal of training, or you will have the problem that seems to have kicked off the issue with this dog. He went wild and flushed pheasants. He then jumped out of the truck and killed the neighbor’s chickens. He was definitely out of control, and the main question is: was he trained? If he was not trained, the chasing up of pheasants is the owner’s fault.

She was using an e-collar. I use them and think they are indispensable. They are not inhumane if used appropriately. Many uninformed people think e-collars are inhumane. The level of stimulus is less than you get touching a 9-volt battery to your tongue. They can save your dog from harm. However, many people think the e-collar is a substitute for training. They think it will magically make the dog understand commands.

Had it not been for the dog wantonly killing chickens, which I think is not normal even for an inadequately trained Wirehaired Pointer, I would guess Kristi was at fault. The owner usually is at fault. Add the fact that most politicians have some mental aberration, I wouldn’t be surprised if she put the dog down to offset the humiliation she felt from her dog’s behavior. I don’t know the facts, and I wasn’t there, so I don’t just assume my guess is correct.

This is not the debate. It is simply the fact that she put the dog down in a way that bothers people that lack any understanding and don’t even attempt to understand. They wouldn’t or couldn’t do it so it is cruel. Yet, almost daily I witness people that I think are cruel to their pets. They have working dogs that never get to work. They have pets that they made fat. They have dogs that run wild risking the dog getting hit by a car. Almost on a weekly basis, I have had dogs charge up to my dogs. The owners are oblivious to the fact that their dog or my dog could get injured or killed in just a few seconds. Not to mention, they could hurt a human. City slickers. They are ignorant with regard to animals, and yet they know-it-all.

It is a human tendency to judge others. It is important for a social being to be capable of judging others, but it is a dangerous weapon. In important matters, we need that judgment to be as impartial as possible. The US set up rules to try to facilitate fair judgment of others. Attempts to make trials fair. Yet, in a voting system that elects those that will have enormous power that has a much greater impact than any given individual trial, we have devolved into a system that is the exact opposite of one designed to be fair and impartial. It actually leverages the human tendency to make judgments in the worst possible way. The least impartial. The least informed. The most emotional.

Anyone that watches the “news” or reads newspapers should feel insulted, not informed. The manipulation is obvious.

Ask yourself if you would want to be on trial using a system with the same rules that are used to elect the President? I am not talking about official rules such as voting laws. I am talking about how it is that we determine for whom we will vote. Where we get our information, how it is presented, who is doing the presentation, etc. Hearsay would be a step up in fairness.

Leveraging people’s fear, greed, envy, pride, etc. in order to gain power is not a good system. Even compassion is not inherently good. It is an emotion just like fear and envy. Every emotion can be manipulated to achieve really bad outcomes. Those that think compassion is pure, true, and right will be the cause of much devastation.

A few months ago, a person I know said about Trump’s legal battles. “They shouldn’t have a trial. They should take him out into the street and hang him.”

If you’re a Trump supporter, maybe that bothers you. Did it bother you when Trump supporters chanted about Hillary “Lock her up”?

Given our upside-down society, one that uses the argument that you cannot claim any traditional value is right unless you are perfect, I have to end with a disclaimer. I have let animals suffer. My dogs are not trained to the proper standard. I unfairly judge people. I make bad emotional judgments all the time.


What I wrote wasn’t a criticism of you or your piece, I’m not questioning why Noem did those things, just why she wrote about ‘em.


Hear, hear! Our moral compass is completely broken. I am reminded of the Mitt Romney [ugh…I just puked in my mouth] dog incident.


I have been thinking of Romney’s dog ever since I heard about this. It’s another reason you’d think Noem woulda known better than to mention it.

It IS funny, though: we can hear about hundreds of people dying, in a tornado, in an attack in war, whatever—without shedding a tear—but a picture or a report of ONE dead child—or dog—and we’re in tears. Is that a Western thing? In 3rd world countries where people have to step over dead animals and dead babies in the streets, I reckon people probably aren’t tender about either mass or individual death.


I didn’t take it as criticism. It was maybe a bit of a tirade so I apologize.


You mean to tell me that with the war, (Ukraine vs Russia), you don’t shed a tear?

Of course you do, I know I do.

I believe that it’s the western culture for the most part that feels remorse for something they had no part of inflicting upon another “being”.

Then again it could be a religious thing. I am not qualified to search or quote from other religions. But,

See Genesis 1:27-28
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

See: Proverbs 12:10
The righteous care for the needs of their animals, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.

Just another opinion…


Pertinent here is a quote - usually attributed to Stalin: “One death is a tragedy, a million deaths a statistic”. Even if he didn’t say it, it accurately characterizes the result and ethos of his rule.


I know this question was directed at Hypatia, but I’ll give you my answer anyway: No, I haven’t shed a single tear for Russia or Ukraine.

Now, perhaps by “shed a tear” you mean a metaphorical tear. I think that what’s being done in Ukraine is a manifestation of pure evil, primarily on the side of the United States (although the super-cynical side of me also suspects that this entire conflict is some kind of sick sideshow or form of mass manipulation where both America and Russia are playing their assigned roles willingly…in other words, there are no “good guys”) and the loss of life—primarily the slaughter of young, white males—doesn’t make me sad, it enrages me with anger.


I tried to point out that the warring nations are natural allies against the ongoing real, long-term, time-proven, regularly-repeated intent to conquer and mass murder all us infidels. This misdirection of our anger is politically useful to the present power structure. It cares not at all about our collective future.


Absolutely. I’m not the quickest study (as evidenced by my belief in “the system” for so long despite all the evidence—spanning decades—that indicate the contrary), but this fact has been made exceedingly clear to me over the past couple of years. I will never trust the government or the powers that be ever again.


#Me Too!


Good point, Civilwestman.

BlackPrince, I shed not a tear for either, Russia or Ukraine, rather I shed a tear for the men, the fathers, the husbands, the wives, the mothers, the children, not to forget what we started this discussion about, pets of those in the conflict region.

To move this down a different path, away from the original poster’s intent, is purely my mistake in choosing the “War” as an example. But to try and defend my poor choice of an example and to address your statement with my own, I continue.

As for the “manifestation of pure evil, primarily on the side of the United States”, I don’t think I need to remind you who invaded whom.

The United States along with the NATO nations seemingly has taken on the role of a crossing guard. Putin crossed over a border to conquer for the Mother Land as it was in days gone by. Many think his wanting to rebuild the Soviet Union is his goal. Long before the second world war, the Czars extended “Russia” to the east. Not by conquering peoples, but by subterfuge. They even extended into the Americas, Alaska, which Putin says he wants back.

I can’t say how the conquering mode of a certain class or type of Russians came about, but if some of the plans or statements were followed true and so called “Russia” was conquered, where would we be now?

For example, After WWII, General Patton was quoted as wanting to have a go at the Soviets, even wanting to rearm German troops and together with his Allied troops, attack the East!
Personally That would not have gone well. The people of “Russia” when up against a wall are a stubborn bunch.
Or, Operation Unthinkable was a code name of two related plans of a conflict between the Western Allies And the Soviet Union. Both were ordered by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in 1945 and developed by the British Armed Forces’ Joint Planning Staff at the end of World War II in Europe. I don’t think that would have gone well either.

The answer lies in a civil war. Something that may be coming. One that would break up or subdivide “Russia” into smaller independent states, preventing any future single man from doing what the Czars did or Putin is trying to do.

Again I am sorry I used that “War” as an example.

Back to the original post. We love our pets, sometimes more that we love people. To have the strength to end the life of someone we love to ease the pain and suffering takes a special type of person. And then we have the uncaring type, I don’t know if they have love at all. My one dog, Mya, a Shizu-Poodle mix was taken to a vet with bladder stones by her previous owner. They didn’t want to pay for the operation, not that they didn’t have the money, they just said put her down to the vet. He had them sign over the little dog and preformed the operation and offered it through a local pet adoption service. My late wife fell in love with the little girl dog. We adopted her and paid $300 that paid for the vet’s reduced fee for the operation. Back on track, One may say it is a deeper love to the ease the pain and put a pet down. I don’t know. What I do know is that if my pet was unconscious and not staring me in the eye, I maybe, maybe could do it. The pleading look in their eyes to “please help ease the pain”, is too hurtful for me to give them their final rest.


Sometimes euthanasia is the only way left to ease the pain. I’m not skilled with a firearm, so my way is to hold my companion of however many years while the vet administers the final pain relief. And be brave throughout so as not to frighten my friend. Tears after.


That was my understanding…I interpreted your use of the words “Russia” and “Ukraine” to mean its people.

No need to apologize…and I thought it was an appropriate example.

The reality of the situation is not that simple. If you haven’t done so already, I’d highly recommend watching some talks by John Mearsheimer (they’re available on YouTube) to get another perspective.

This is the mainstream view…I don’t buy it. You clearly see Putin and Russia as “the enemy” where as I see our (Western) leaders as the enemy.

No need to apologize at all.