Eleanor H. Porter’s 1913 book "Pollyanna’’ told the story of a girl whose infectious optimism changed the hearts of people in her small village.
Pollyanna’s favorite diversion was something she called "The Glad Game,’’ which challenged the participants to find good in the worst situations.
For example, when the maid complained that she dreaded Mondays, Pollyanna suggested she could be glad on Monday because "you won’t have another one for a whole week!’’
Blue Butt and Whitie might consider playing the Glad Game today.
Blue Butt and Whitie are hogs, which is depressing enough. Then on Sunday, as the two hogs were rooting around in a corral at the Agricultural Science Department at Mesa High School, two pit bulls slipped through the fence and attacked them.
Whitie, the smaller of the two, was valiant in defense of Blue Butt. In an effort to protect Blue Butt, Whitie bore the brunt of the attack and sustained the more severe injuries. His left ear was almost torn off and his right ear was mangled. Both hogs had numerous scratches and cuts.
Dennis Tellenn, an agricultural science teacher at the school since 1974, says the hogs aren’t out of the woods yet. "The stress of it is what we’re worried about now. That and infection,’’ he said.
Blue Butt seemed to be doing OK Monday. Whitie isn’t. "He’s not eating,’’ Tellenn said. "When a hog doesn’t eat, it’s serious.’’
Which brings us to the Glad Game. Blue Butt and Whitie can be glad that the pit bulls attacked them on Sunday.
Why? They were supposed to be slaughtered Wednesday. The attack buys them a few weeks.
"We can’t send them to slaughter until we find out whether there’s any infection,’’ Tellenn said.
Let’s pause here to get one thing straight when it comes to the animals in this story: They are animals. Applying human standards to animals trivializes human life on one level and is simply silly on another. Hogs are born to be slaughtered. The ag science courses Tellenn teaches instruct students how to raise, maintain and care for animals for human consumption.
Dogs will be dogs, too. Some chase livestock, kill chickens and rabbits. On the farm, a dog so inclined is likely to get shot. In the city, there’s a little more due process.
Still, playing the Glad Game will be more difficult for the two dogs and their owner. The dogs are currently in custody. If judged vicious, they will be euthanized. The owner, listed in the police report as Blanca Alvarado of Mesa, faces four counts of dog at large, a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of $2,500 per count.
In the meantime, Blue Butt and Whitie try to get healthy enough to fulfill their hog-ly destiny.
Pollyanna, I suppose, would be glad for the bacon.