Saturday, May 26, 2007

Roger's dilemma

Hello all

In a recent post, I encountered a sick badger called Roger. I was concerned at the time that he was coughing in a way not dissimilar to an animal suffering from TB, and resolved to test him for the disease. Timothy Hedgehog appeared to be satisfied with my suggestion, but the badger was less than keen.

'I cannot submit, Doctor' said the short legged mammal as I bent down to pick him up.

'Huh?' I said, although I wasn't entirely surprised. Seeing as the animal could talk, it was possible he already knew what would happen if he was positive for the disease.

'It is not that I am personally afraid...'


'But I'm afraid that I belong to a badger sect whose prophets are the revered Bodger and Badger, bovine blessings be with them. The teachings of Bodger are sacred to us, and one of his commandments is that we should never submit to medical tests, for fear of disturbing the universal badger aura that unites us all. I cannot allow you to test me doctor. You may only offer palliative care.'

I sighed. This was a clear case of sect-conditioning. I doubted that Roger had any real idea who Bodger and Badger were, but he remained adamant that I must not test him for TB. I was faced with a dilemma. Should I go against his wishes, and risk violating his badger's rights. Or should I take a wider view that society was more precious than the wellfare of a single animal.

Timothy hedgehog supplied a surprisingly diplomatic answer. 'We have some spare cages I think, Doctor. Perhaps you could put Roger in one of them, temporarily, until he gets better?'

I was forced to mull over the idea as we walked back to the hotel. I held Roger in my arms, stroking his fur and equating him, in some bizarre anthropomorphic way, to No. 3. I imagined that myself and Dolores had the same ideaology as the badger, and that someone wanted to test our baby for a genetic disease - the outcome deciding the baby's fate. What would we expect?

Of course, we would expect others to respect our way of life and leave us alone.

I couldn't bring myself to break the poor badgers heart. His stoicism was admirable, more so in my eyes, perhaps, because I lack stoicism sometimes when it is required. As we approached the Institute, I therefore resolved to offer the badger the care he desired, and let nature take its course. Roger is now in a cage, and is given all the food, water and warmth that he desires. So far, there is no sign that the disease is progressing, but he does have a chronic cough and rheumy eyes. I'll let you know he he progresses.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hope Roger gets over his TB. Life in a cage is no fun though.