Sunday, January 24, 2010

Dog Rescue in Los Angeles....Biting Out of Fear-- A Saturday Journal

As soon as I finished last evening's post about my new "friends" at the Buddy Foundation, I saw the dramatic video of the rescue of a three-year-old German Shepherd mix from a flood-swollen Los Angeles River:

The dog had no identifying tags, and so was named Vernon after the town in which he was found. Officials at the Southeast Area Animal Control Authority shelter say the dog is doing fine and will be ready for adoption in five days.  Already, hundreds of well-wishers are sending cards and donations.

As much as anything else, I wanted to preserve this fascinating event.  Talk about dedication, and compassion, and risking safety to save a helpless creature.  It was not an easy rescue for Firefighter Joe St. Georges, who was bitten several times by the frightened canine. St. Georges was treated and released from a local hospital, and demonstrated true understanding of the dog's predicament, and harbors no animosity.

Dogs bite out of fear.  In this extreme case, even a healthy, friendly and well-adjusted dog  under such extreme stress cannot know that the person it bites is trying to help.  Fortunately, humans with the patience and understanding of animal fear will not back away from saving an imperiled animal from harm, even when the animal can potentially act out and bite.

People are figurative fear-biters as well, often lashing out at what could ultimately save them.  In small everyday interactions between individuals, as well as major political movements, and especially in the fearful reactions to ultimately positive yet unpopular legislation, those who are committed to doing good must understand the fear, and not be afraid themselves, and forge on to do what's best.

Although they are not always captured so dramatically on film, rescues of animals from extreme circumstances occur regularly all over the world. The Chicago Tribune reported firefighter Brian Rohr pulled a yellow labrador from the icy Iowa River in Iowa City (home of my alma mater the University of Iowa) just yesterday. Many videos can be found of these rescues. The are inspiring. They speak to the best in human nature.


  1. It did my heart good when I first saw this video. For a moment, I forgot about all the pain and suffering that is going on in the world. :)

  2. i love your post specially when I saw the video. it made my heart melt. because i am a dog lover =) just wanted to share this links to all dog lovers in the world btw, love your blog =) thanks for sharing
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  3. Always happy to see a happy ending when it comes to our canine companions. It's a testament to our society that so much effort went in to protect the life on one dog. Maybe there is hope for us after all! Great post, Tom.