The letter

Today I went to a forum scheduled in Lincoln organized by a group called Joining Forces Saving Lives. This group was started by a Lincoln woman who simply felt that there is a need to save more dogs from death. It’s a cause I greatly believe in.

I listened to the keynote speaker, a man who is head of a no-kill animal shelter in San Diego. He had some very thought-provoking things to say. Something he didn’t say left me the most affected.

What he didn’t say were the words in a letter he had received from a man in North Carolina. This speaker didn’t read the letter. Instead he called the head of Nebraska No-Kill Canine Rescue up to read the letter. I’m not sure why.

Prior to this letter being read, the speaker, Mike Arms, talked about the killing of innocent dogs and cats in shelters around the nation. He mentioned that in North Carolina and a few other states, they kill animals by putting them in gas chambers.

Back to the letter. The North Carolina man who wrote it had a job probably nobody wants. He runs the gas chamber that kills animals in the shelter. The writer said it is a decent living but he didn’t like the job. It was a bad job, he said. So bad that he knows he is going to hell because of it.

The gasings were done every Friday morning. Most workers look forward to Fridays, but not him. He had to do the unthinkable — kill perfectly healthy, innocent dogs. Every Thursday night before the gasings, he and a friend bought $50 worth of hamburgers and chicken sandwiches from a local fast food restaurant. They went to the shelter late at night after it was closed to feed the doomed dogs because the bosses wouldn’t let him do it had they known. Feeding the dogs before they are gassed can leave the chamber too messy, the letter said. The shelter worker just wanted to give one last moment of happiness.

In darkness, they snuck into the place where the animals were caged. They let them out of the cages. None of the dogs were mean. They were happy to be let out and happy to get some hamburgers. They ate with joy, enjoyed pets and wagged their tails.

At that point the Lincoln rescue worker reading the letter broke down in tears and couldn’t read anymore. The keynote speaker told him he could stop and the rest of the letter went unread. So I guess I could say I don’t know what happened next, but unfortunately come Friday morning everybody hearing the letter knew what would happen.

I came home to my two dogs and hugged them and took them for a walk. It’s too bad that all dogs don’t have such luck.



About lincolnpets

Lori McGinnis Black is a Woods Bros. Realty realtor and a freelance writer. Look for her pet columns every other month in L Magazine in Lincoln, NE.
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