Love, respect, and adoration for the lives of the abused and neglected creatures in our community—that’s one thing. Blind obsession bordering on zealotry—quite another.

I have a great story that illustrates the extremes the bullheaded, ignorant and fanatical will go given one sad unfixable puppy and enough money to run a shelter…into the ground.

Everyone involved shall remain nameless—though I’m not quite sure they deserve to.

The story centers on a veterinary facility that purportedly provides low-cost services for  the pets of our neediest citizens. Located as it is in a wealthy municipality, it serves rather more to provide lower cost services for those who can pay but prefer to skimp wherever they can. (Its services aren’t that much cheaper anyhow.)

The organization is run by a bunch of bleeding heart, on-the-fringes types who apparently haven’t a clue how to run a candy shop, much less a medical establishment for the needy. I could tell you lots of stories detailing their eccentricities but would much prefer to concentrate on the one tale that tells it all:

I call it the “spare liver” incident, as it’s somewhat reminiscent of the Monty Python routine…but far less funny.

A vet I know by reputation—a good one—worked there for a short time, perhaps believing he was doing the world some good in so doing. The people who interviewed and hired him were non-medical and “a bit off,” but they seemed well-intentioned enough.

After a month of this strange association (working for a non-veterinary group can be like that, as my personal experience will also attest), a young pup fresh off Miami’s streets arrived with a horrendous liver ailment. After a few days it became clear that the pup’s liver was failing badly. Understanding both the high price and essential futility of the situation, its owners had relinquished the pup to the facility’s care—at its administrators’ request.

The vet wondered at the bizarre transfer of ownership, especially given the pup’s fatal condition, and questioned administrators as to why the euthanasia was being delayed. The powers that be replied that the dog was to receive a very unique treatment, at the hands of a specialist, within a few short days. As more information was not forthcoming, he continued to treat the pup supportively, doing his best to provide as much care as he could while the pup awaited his savior.

A couple of days later it became clear that what was intended was a liver transplant. A what? I can just imagine this vet jumping out of his skin when he heard the full story. Apparently, a human doc, skilled in the transplantation of livers (in humans, presumably) had been retained to make this miracle happen.

Let me now interject to point out that liver transplants are not tremendously effective in dogs. In fact, to paraphrase the eloquent words of a certain vet surgeon I know, they don’t f------ work.

Seeing as he was getting nowhere explaining this to his bosses, our story’s young and idealistic veterinarian next attempted to point out the obvious: “Ummm…where’s the liver he needs going to come from?”

The very next day our hero was summarily dismissed.

The organization had clearly not taken kindly to its employee’s logical assertion that to transplant a liver into a dying dog one must first sacrifice a healthy dog of the same general dimensions.

Meanwhile, besides languishing in nauseous torment in a facility roughly comparable to our military’s Building 18, the pup was now going to be subjected to a human doc’s dubious medical ministrations in what would almost certainly be a gruelingly painful experience.

I’m sure I couldn’t come up with a better reason to revoke a facility’s license if I sat here in front of my laptop for a month. More proof that truth is way stranger than fiction.

Perhaps one day they’ll run out of money. Well, we can always hope…