Then Missy hurt her paw, badly enough that she couldn't walk.
We all hope that we will never be tested with a life or death choice, that the cup will pass from each of us. We hope this particularly when we face the choice because of our own recklessness, and our loved ones are facing the outcome. Anthony Ortolani had to decide what to do.
He left Missy in the snowstorm on the mountaintop and made his way to safety. With this decision, he revealed all that we need to know about his character.
If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and man.
- Mark Twain
So much for Mr. Ortolani. But have no fear, gentle reader, other climbers heard about the situation and revealed their character, too:
Monday morning, eight days after Missy was left, Washburn led a new search team of eight climbers. Chase Lindell and Alex Gelb volunteered to help.
“The thought of a dog slowly dying on the top of the mountain is tough to stomach,” Gelb wrote about his reasoning for joining the search.
The group powered through a snow squall near the summit of Mt. Bierstadt and found the dog right where Washburn had last seen it, on the treacherous sawtooth. They named the dog “Lucky” and took turns carrying the dog down the mountainside in a backpack.
Astonishingly, Mr. Ortolani wants Missy back. The rescuers are suing to keep the dog that they saved. Ortolani has been charged with animal cruelty, but is certain to escape the just sentence that would have been his in a younger and less degenerate age of the Republic - namely, being tarred and feathered.
Worst of all, Missy probably misses her master desperately. Her pack is broken, even though she has had a significant upgrade in human companionship. What captures our hearts about our canine friends is that they see us as we would be seen, not as we are. Alas, this applies even to one such as Mr. Ortolani.
But while Missy will always see him as protector, the rest of us see him as he is: juvenile, reckless, and cowardly when the chips are down. Missy may remain true to her breed and look at him with the eyes of loyalty, as she should. I will look at him with the eyes of contempt, as I should.
No man likes to live under the eye of perpetual disapprobation.Mr. Ortolani is well advised to get used to it.
- Dr. Sam Johnston