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Silicon Veggie

A Christmas Tale

By Elisa Camahort

ONE Christmas night, as the Significant Other and I were leaving my mom's after another gluttonous holiday meal, we got an urgent phone call. My sister's teenage cat-sitter frantically reported that one of my sister's cats, Poseidon, was hiding under the Christmas tree, unresponsive and uninterested in dinner: a sure sign of something seriously wrong.

The SO and I volunteered to rush over there and take Poseidon to the Adobe Animal Hospital in Los Altos—open 24/7/365. It was clear Poseidon's condition was very bad, and while they didn't know if it was due to poison, a fall or a kick, Poseidon was bleeding internally like there was no tomorrow.

While we anxiously waited at the hospital, a man came in with a puppy, probably a lab mix, that had been the victim of a hit-and-run outside his house. The puppy wasn't too seriously hurt, but he was crying in a particularly pathetic way. The driver of the car may have run away, but this guy stepped up. He said he would pay the bills, and if no owner was located, he would keep the puppy.

There we were spending Christmas night in a way I'm sure none of us expected to (or in the case of the hospital workers, hoped to), caring for injured animals that needed help.

Yet the cat-sitter didn't think twice about taking the time to call about Poseidon and then wait for us to get there. The SO and I didn't think twice about rushing to get him. The man didn't think twice about saving that puppy. And the hospital workers didn't think twice about giving up their holiday evening to help animals that ended up there.

In the end, the puppy only had an injured paw, and Poseidon pulled through. But how many of the kind people who made that happen went home and didn't think twice about eating a cow or chicken or lamb? I don't like to put people on the spot, but I don't get how we've learned to segment animals we rush to save from animals we rush to eat at the end of a long night.

If you've ever saved a stray or shelled out major dinero for veterinarian bills or thought about both human and pet victims of natural disasters, then perhaps this year you can think about resolving to spread the love just a little more broadly around the animal kingdom. Just my Christmas wish.

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From the December 1-7, 2004 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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