Times Do Change
When I saw this video of 50 firemen and a helicopter rescuing a German Sheppard from the Los Angeles River, memories flooded back. As a boy growing up in Downey, not too far from the City of Vernon, I remember it as “slaughter town.” Twenty-seven slaughterhouses lined Vernon Avenue from Soto Street to Downey Road. You could hear animals screaming and the morning death stench flowed all of the way to the freeway going into LA.
When I saw fireman Joe St. Georges finally reach the dog and grab him, my eyes teared up. The dog was viciously biting him as he fought to save its life. It’s hard to think that this was happening in that same town where animal life was so abused on a daily basis. As a curious pre-teenager I ventured into one of those slaughter houses one day, and saw awful things I will never forget. These were not people who would go out of their way, let alone risk their own lives to save the life of a dog they didn’t know.
We have come a long way, baby!
The dog was nicknamed Vernon, and he is recovering nicely in a Downey Shelter. Joe too is recovering after a trip to the hospital with serious bites on his hand and arm. He was unable to both muzzle and save Vernon, He opted for the latter. I understand there are 20 people lined up to adopt Vernon should his rightful owner not show up. If I lived there I would be in that line. I would also go visit Joe with a bottle of fine wine. I hope the other 20 do.