Saving Private Ryan
He’s not much to look at right now and maybe he never will be. The fact is, he may not live through the week. But then again, he might. I’ve named him Private Ryan because he’s in a battle to survive and he definitely needs saving. Private Ryan lives in my neighborhood, though in an area where I rarely travel. I saw him last week and was horrified and angry. “Oh, you mean The Walking Dead”, said my animal-loving English landlord when I asked him about the skeleton dog that wears a green water hose for a collar. This should not happen, I thought.
Since that time I’ve fed Private Ryan two big hot meals a day and will continue to do so indefinitely. My Filipino neighbors seem happy that I’m taking care of him. No one enjoys looking at this level of suffering. “His owner only gave him shrimp heads”, said one woman. “That’s no good”.
These photos were taken this morning, and believe it or not, he’s come a long way in a week. I can no longer see his entire rib cage. I’m hoping that his fur will grow back normally now that he’s recovering from malnutrition and starvation. His sores seem to be healing. Last week he spent all his time curled up in a garage, on the tiny piece of cardboard which is his bed. Now he is up and about, spending his days outside. He seems to know that he’s won the lottery. He recognizes me and comes trotting toward me as I deliver his food bowl.
Who cares about one hungry dog when there are so many thousands of others all over the Philippines? I don’t believe in throwing up my hands and crying and moaning that it’s hopeless because I can’t save the world. Nobody is asking me to save the world. Of course, I can’t. But I can save Private Ryan. Maybe. I’d say he’s got a 60/40 chance of making it. But last week he had ZERO chance. And it matters a lot to Private Ryan. I also don’t believe in strutting around pompously, pointing my finger at poor, uneducated people and telling them how it’s “done” in England or America or Germany. I see foreigners doing that all the time and it makes me ashamed of my race. I will take responsibility for this dog and make sure that he has what he needs — which is better than talk or tears or pointed fingers…
We’ll see how it goes for Private Ryan. I’ll give you an update at the beginning of March. It may be bad news, of course, I can’t tell yet. But he may be doing great. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.
Just because you can’t save the world, doesn’t mean you should bury your head in the sand. We can all do our bit. It matters.