Three selfless acts for animals

Published 5:31 pm Friday, December 30, 2011

During this week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, journalists often find themselves struggling to find interesting things to write about. Government offices are on abbreviated schedules, some businesses are closed and a surprising number of people take vacation time between the two holidays. These factors make it hard to get in touch with the sources needed to put together good news stories.

Most media outlets — including this newspaper — plan for this period by setting up stories about last-minute shopping, post-holiday returns and cleanup, New Year’s resolutions, retrospectives of the previous year and the like. And usually something ready-made for the season seems to drop itself into the mix at some point.

This year, three unrelated, but similar, stories presented themselves to the Suffolk News-Herald’s news staff. Taken separately, each story reveals a caring spirit that is a fine exemplar for the love that at the foundation of the Christmas holiday. Taken together, the stories are a rich commentary on the humanity of people in Suffolk and on the unselfish attitudes of its finest citizens.

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All three stories are about animals that were at risk of death and the people who stepped in — at significant financial, physical or emotional risk to themselves — and rescued them. They are stories of great love and compassion and could hardly have been more appropriate at any other time of the year.

Thursday’s edition of the paper featured a story about a 3-year-old Lhasa Apso that had been turned over to Animal Control officers with severe internal injuries and an eye that had been knocked from its socket. Animal Control got Bennett’s Creek Veterinary Care involved, and staff there turned their attention to saving little Gizmo through the charity Eve’s Orphans, which was set up to provide funding for the care of orphaned and abandoned animals that otherwise would have been euthanized.

Ben Otteni rescued a waterlogged kitten from Bennett’s Creek on Christmas Day, scooping it from the muck with a net and then returning it to the family’s home for a bath, a few good meals and some rehabilitation. Otteni and his family are unsure where the cat came from, and they’ve got pets of their own to care for, but they still stepped in to help.

And finally, on Friday, we published a story about Eggs, the 65-pound potbellied pig in foster care at the Wendt farm in the southern part of the city. The pet was found abandoned by Animal Control officers, who often rely on the Wendts to take care of exotic or unusual animals that are abandoned or abused in Suffolk.

Surely not everyone in Suffolk would go to such lengths to help save a suffering animal. But we’d be willing to bet that these stories are more representative of the type of people who live in this city than not.