George is doing extraordinarily well. Take a look at those eyes...
He still does not like that Elizabethan collar, but we keep reminding him that it's a small price to pay for getting his eyesight back.
I have been thinking a good deal about the cost involved. Before this all came about, Ellie and I had agreed--very sensibly--between us that we were not the kind of people who would spend inordinate amounts of money on a dog when we knew that countless people in the world were sick and starving and when, indeed, in this terrible recession, we were a bit insecure about our own financial future. But come the time to make a decision between shelling out the money and George being blind for the rest of his days, I have to report that we did not hesitate for more than a couple of moments.
Looking back on that decision and reflecting on it, I realize that we were caught between two conflicting sets of values. The one set had to do with a sense of obligation, from our position of relative ease in life, to sympathize with, and as we can to help those less fortunate and less privileged than ourselves. The other had to do with our love for this animal who has done nothing but return that love with interest, who is a living being we have taken into our care, and for whose life and well-being we have assumed responsibility. When it came right down to it, we made our decision not out of ideology but out of love.
On a Sunday evening news show the other night, we were deeply distressed by a report on the plight of the poor in a part of the American Midwest. Unemployment has left many working people homeless and destitute, resorting to food banks and soup kitchens much as they did in the Great Recession of the 1930s. It is heart-breaking—indeed, outrageous—to see children go hungry, scantily clad in freezing weather conditions, and physically, emotionally and mentally unprepared for what little education is offered them. Then, just yesterday, we took George for a walk in the coastline park a mile or so south of where we live. The park is bordered by a recent development area of brand-new, multi-million dollar ocean-view houses, the majority of which are used for only a few days of the year by wealthy owners for whom they are luxury vacation stops. We judge these people—and stand to be judged for a decision like the one we made for George by those who do not share our good fortune.
Injustice exists—and it’s a whole lot easier to take the moral high ground from the theoretical point of view than when the dilemma is immediate and personal.