I’ve never had a bad day

By Daris Howard
Special to The PREVIEW
One of my colleagues at the university where I work, Dr. Garth Waddoups, is one of the most positive people I know. One day, he shared the reason with the professors and the students.
He started by asking if anyone had had a bad day. Many students said they had. He informed us that he had never had a bad day. He then went on to explain why.
Waddoups, besides teaching animal science, is a practicing vet. One day, an immigrant family of parents, children and grandparents all brought in a scruffy white and black dog.
Waddoups said, “You have never seen such an emaciated mess in all your life. He had one red, swollen eye and what looked to be a large dirt clod on his head. His coat was dirty and unkempt and he was very gaunt.”
One small child spoke English and interpreted for an older woman. “We want you to fix Cholo.”
Waddoups was shocked. “You want him fixed?”
“Yes,” the old woman said. “He’s broken.”
He realized that by “fixed,” they meant healed. The woman went on to say that they had put Cholo to sleep a week earlier. Waddoups was concerned that he had done it and something had gone wrong. But the family assured him that was not the case.
This time the mother, in broken English, began to explain. “A week ago, Cholo ran into the road and was hit by a car. It didn’t kill him, but he was badly hurt. His eyeball was popped out and his skull was fractured. We could see his brain. We knew he could not live and so my husband’s friend took him into the desert and put him to sleep.”
Waddoups asked, “How did he put him to sleep?”
She answered that he had shot Cholo five times.
Waddoups commented, “He must not have been a very good shot.”
“Oh, no,” came the reply, “Cholo was dead and we buried him in a shallow grave.”
Waddoups was becoming more perplexed at this bizarre story and asked how the dog got home.
The woman answered, “An hour ago, the phone rang and my husband’s boss said, ‘Your dog is out here and he doesn’t look very good. You better come and get him.’ We tried to explain that it could not be our dog, that he had been dead for a week. But he said he was sure it was our dog and that we had better come down. It was Cholo and so here we are.”
Waddoups was still not sure what they wanted and asked, “So you want us to put him to sleep?”
The mother became anxious, and began to shake her head. “No! No! Cholo is a good dog! After all of this, he came home to us! We want you to fix him.”
Waddoups said that Cholo truly had had a bad day. In fact, Cholo set a new standard for bad days. He had been hit by a car, had his skull fractured and his eyeball popped out of its socket. He had been taken out into the desert, away from his family, and shot five times. Then, to end this bad day, he was buried alive.
Even though it didn’t end up being too much of a problem to heal Cholo, Waddoups said, “With Cholo as my standard, I would submit that I have never really had a bad day.”
As I thought about what Waddoups shared with us, I thought about how I sometimes complain and feel sorry for myself. But I resolved that through this next year and from now on, whenever I do, I will choose a different thought.
I will think, “This is a good day because I am not Cholo the dog.”

This story was posted on July 27, 2018.