Wednesday, December 16, 2009

You could even say he glows

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Rudolph the Dog is as amazing as his flying, glowing-nosed reindeer namesake.

Like Santa's lead sled-puller, the Chicago canine is "different," and he faces some pretty severe challenges, too. But I guess that's why he's so perfect for teaching little kids about compassion and the intrinsic worth of all God's creation.

IT'S ALSO WHY this cutie of a dachshund was deemed worthy of a piece on and a story on the NBC Nightly News:

It's not easy to imagine a better messenger of compassion than a pup named Rudolph. Especially when the recipients of the message are elementary-age children. They're young enough to respond to floppy ears and a soft coat, and old enough to understand the life lessons they are receiving.

Rudolph is not an ordinary dog, and Marcia Fishman knew this when she decided to take him in. She already had one dachshund, named Gunther, and wanted another one. That's when an online search led Marcia to a small fawn-colored dachshund she would call Rudolph. Not only was his coloring a result of over-breeding, so too were his inability to see or hear. Marcia's favorite hobby is training dogs, but this would present a unique challenge -- how to care for a dog that is blind and deaf? She decided to find out.

He was skittish at first. No wonder. In addition to his sensory challenges, Rudolph had spent the first year of his life in a cage at a puppy mill, then in four different homes. Now in a permanent and nurturing home with Marcia and his canine brother Gunther, Rudolph burrows and hides under blankets, as dachshunds like to do. When Marcia comes home, she can call out to Gunther.

But not Rudolph. Marcia jokes: "People ask, do you call him Rudy? I say, I don't call him!" He wouldn't hear her if she did.

It's no coincidence that this dog that lives in darkness shares a name with an unlikely reindeer hero who was able to navigate through darkness too. Canine Rudolph's nose is also his guide.

That gave Marcia an idea, and she decided to write a short story coloring book with a lesson. The title: Rudolph's Nose Knows, starring a certain dachshund who was teased by other dogs. When a little chick that is too young to fly falls into a deep dark hole, it is only the dachshund named Rudolph who can save it. He is then received by the other dogs with kindness rather than taunts.

The message is tolerance and acceptance of differences. It's a message Marcia delivers compassionately to young children. And she decided to do this with Rudolph's help.

"The kids think he's darling. They just seem to want to embrace him," she said.
MAYBE WE should just elect little kids to Congress. And let them run for president.

And be governors. And doctors. And academics.

And journalists.

Perhaps then we would think Down Syndrome children were so "darling" that we wouldn't abort the vast majority of them. And maybe we wouldn't be starving "gorks" to death because, surely, theirs is not fit enough a quality of life to be worthy of . . . life.

AND MAYBE we wouldn't be having hissy fits about making sure -- as part of health-care "reform" -- the government can subsidize aborting every baby that someone feels is less worthy of life than an inbred deaf and blind dog.

Indeed, that little dog's life is precious. But to the extent that we can no longer recognize the innate preciousness of every human life, too, we are just committing slow-motion suicide as a people and a civilization.

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