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(Cathrine is living in Bangladesh right now and occasionally writes about her canine encounters in that country)

Progoti Sarani is one of the busiest roads in Dhaka. Technically the six lane freeway to the airport, it is usually host to eight or nine ribbons of traffic ignoring all the laws that apply to cars, including many of the laws of physics.

This morning, the road was so jammed that Ali Hossain drove his motorcycle across the meridian and down the parking lane on the other side to get to work.

It was thus that he saw a young dog with a huge cut on his head struggling to climb out of a deep, filthy sewerage ditch. Ali threw his motorcycle aside and ran back to help the him. But the dog was terrified and injured, thrashing around, trying to avoid Ali, climb and protect his hindquarters all at once.

Several times, Ali called out to the dozens of passers by for help. Without an exception, they swore at him, called him crazy, and hurried by on the other side of the sidewalk. In the end, Ali got the dog out without help.

They both stank: Ali was sewerage from head to toe, and so was the dog. The dog could not stand, and had several wounds on its body, most likely from a collision with one of the many outlaw buses that drive that road. There was no way Ali could get him on a motorcycle, so he dragged him to the side of the road, and raced for help.

It took almost an hour to get back, because we needed a car, a dog crate, blankets and a muzzle. The dog, now in shock, was right where he had been left, surrounded by a crowd of onlookers who had done nothing. In fairness, if anyone approached him, he bared his teeth and screamed at them.

Fortunately, when we put the crate down in front of him, he saw a chance to get into a safe, protected place, and dragged himself in without help.

It took another ninety minutes to creep through the gridlock to the veterinarian's apartment, but Dr. S. was on the street, waiting. I learned a very useful technique for sedating a terrified and injured dog using a plastic lawn chair to hold him still while inserting the needle through the mesh on the chair back.

We agreed to call him Noa, because he rode upon the (foul) water.

Dr. S. and Ali washed him thoroughly and found he was a light gold and white underneath the muck. Once he was clean, the vet disinfected the wounds, stitched what needed to be stitched, vaccinated him and gave him antibiotics and painkillers. One leg has been hanging limp, but there is no sign of broken bones. We can only hope it is a contusion, sprain or similar injury, and not a spinal problem.

Dr. S. gave Ali enough medications, and instructions as to when to give them, and the lawn chair. We put Noa back in the crate, and drove him to Ali's village, where Ali has built a spacious and clean kennel for just these emergencies.

Most modern readers do not realize the import of the parable of the good Samaritan. It is not merely about helping those in need. At the time Yeshua told it, the Samaritans were despised by all right-thinking Jews as a primitive heretical sect that followed a different Torah, worshiped with different rites, and refused to acknowledge the Jerusalem Temple as supreme.

Yet, it was one of these despised Samaritans who cared for the Jewish traveler when the priest and the rich man of his own nation passed him by.

The three people in this true story are a Muslim, a Ba'Hai, and a Jew. Noa didn't mention his religion. But he's safe in that kennel, not very comfortable because of the stitches, but with a chance.

All prayers accepted, even from those who don't believe: what can it hurt, nu?

Addendum (I received this email from Cathrine this morning):

Unfortunately, Noa died in the night. Sometimes, all we can do is give them a name, a little caring, and a quiet and safe place to die. ALi buried him in a corner of his brother's land that is reserved for the battles we lose....

4 Comments to “The Good Samaritan”

  1. foxpen says:

    How unfortunate about poor Noa, but at least he knew kindness before his end. It's a comforting thought to know his last moments weren't spent in a rancid sewage ditch, in pain, and terrified; thankfully he was cared for, and awknowledged.

  2. Biscuit says:

    What a sad and lovely story. I was just wondering whether you had heard from Cathrine lately.

    Poor Noa, at least he was given a chance he wouldn't have had otherwise.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Good samaritan you provided this dog a death with dignity. Thank you. May the karma come back to you when you need it.

  4. Fen Drayton says:

    As heartbreaking as it is/was, this situation has a small taste of happiness. The dog may not have had a long life, but at the most crucial time of it, he finally knew what peace, and tenderness were like. To feel a hand laid gently on a head, and a soft stroking, would have been unimaginable only an short while before. This dog passed out of this world in peace, and that is more than many others have the chance to do. Thank you , and Bless You.

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A request

The reason for this blog is to help get specific dogs adopted from TAS but equally important is to try to normalize the idea of shelter dogs being just as good and just as desirable as any other dogs including those which are regularly merchandised by backyard breeders, puppy millers and those few remaining pet store owners who still feel a need to sell live animals. The single greatest stigma shelter animals still face is the belief that shelter animals are substandard animals. Anyone who has had enough experience with shelter animals knows this is untrue but the general public hasn't had the same experiences you've had. They see a nice dog photo in a glossy magazine and too many of them would never think of associating that dog with a dog from a shelter. After all, no one abandons perfectly good dogs, right? Unfortunately, as we all know, perfectly good dogs are abandoned all the time.

The public still too often associates shelter dogs with images of beat up, sick, dirty, severely traumatized animals and while we definitely sometimes see victims such as these, they are certainly not the majority and, regardless, even the most abused animals can very often be saved and made whole again.

Pound Dogs sometimes discusses the sad histories some of the dogs have suffered. For the most part, though, it tries to present the dogs not as victims but as great potential family members. The goal is to raise the profiles of animals in adoption centers so that a potential pet owner sees them as the best choice, not just as the charity choice.

So, here's the favour I'm asking. Whenever you see a dog picture on these pages you think is decent enough, I'd like you to consider sharing it on Facebook or any other social media sites you're using (I know many of you do this already and thank you for that). And when you share it, please mention that the dog in the photo is a shelter dog like so many other shelter dogs waiting for a home. If we can get even five percent of the pet buying public to see shelter dogs differently, to see how beautiful they are and how wonderful they are, and to consider shelter dogs as their first choice for a new family member, we can end the suffering of homeless pets in this country.