Thursday, March 11, 2010
The Preacher’s Corner
Happy for Dr. Childers and staff
I cannot think of a better recipient for the Mississippi Veterinary Medicine’s Association’s Outstanding Veterinarian of the Year award than our own Dr. David Childers of Holly Springs!
That was truly good news to read in last week’s The South Reporter. It is often said that newspapers thrive on bad news, and so it was heartening to know that one of our town’s most giving people has been recognized on the front page.
I have lived here a good while now, and most of that time Dr. Childers has been involved in the care of my three toy fox terriers — some of whom have presented rather, well — let us say — challenging situations for the good doctor.
It seems that my pet situations have often involved emergencies and, of course, emergencies — by definition — seem to happen after hours and on weekends.
As a pastor I know full well that nobody gets seriously ill on weekdays when the doctor is “in.” The wild rides in the ambulance always happen at night or on holidays, and it has been no different with my animals.
My little dog Lady (who lived to the ripe old age of 16) had three emergencies. Once she got into rat poison; once she had a strange, wasting illness that required surgery, and most famously, on a Saturday night at 10:30, she broke her leg! Each time Dr. Childers was right there for us, ready to meet us at the office and do whatever was needed.
My dog, Skipper (who lived to the ripe old age of 18) had fewer emergencies, but whenever he was in for his regular checkups, always embarrassed his “preacher parent” by setting up a ferocious snarl and snapping just as soon as Dr. Childers would enter the examining room. It was no way for a Presbyterian to behave toward a kind and considerate Baptist!
Dr. Childers attended Skipper at the end, and to his last breath, that dog was absolutely incorrigible (apparently, according to my friends, only I could ever “see” his better side) — growling and baring his teeth at the gentle veterinary hands that were trying to ease his pain.
It was no matter, Dr. Childers knew just what to do, and eased the poor dog’s suffering, all the while offering kind words and pastoral care to his grieving owner. He’s done that for a lot of folks in my neighborhood, for it seems we are all getting on in age, and we’ve laid away quite a few of our pets in the past year or two.
Through it all, Dr. Childers has been right there, and after I lost my first two, he was there again to help me welcome Gracey, my current canine companion.
Others reading this column could probably supply remembrances of greater amusement or pathos, for the animal world is full of both. But the people we allow into our lives at moments of birth, or sickness, and death, of ourselves or those we love, are people we would like to invest with character, skill, and compassion. Dr. Childers has a fullness of all three.
They say a society is judged by the way it treats its weakest and most helpless members. That being the case, our animals rank high on the list of how we are judged. Indeed, people who abuse animals are much more likely to commit other crimes, so the criminologists say.
Meanwhile, as my friend Charles Long puts it, our pets teach us about two things: the sadness of mortality and most importantly, unconditional love.
David Childers sets a good example for us all, and I am happy for him and his staff that this honor has come his way.
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