Melís Kindness

by John C. Westervelt

On a Friday night in mid-October, I picked up Mel Pearson and Nancy Parks for a twenty-minute drive south of Tulsa for a Joy Sunday school class party. Mary Pearson was in Oregon visiting her sister. Mel, Nancy and I talked about how our day had gone.

Mel, a retired veterinarian, said, "My day began at 3:30 AM with a phone call from a former client. She said that her dog was vomiting blood and that she feared for its life. This elderly woman could no longer drive, and her husband was in the hospital. She had tried unsuccessfully to reach the veterinarian who bought my practice. I told her I would come get her dog and take it to the ĎAnimal Emergency Clinic.í"

When I asked if the dog was going to live, Mel explained, "The dog had licked some flea medicine off its coat. The doctor was able to stabilize the young dog, and it should fully recover." Mel went on to say, "Later, the husband called from the hospital to thank me. I could hardly understand the message because the old man was crying amidst his gratitude."

I included Melís story in my weekly letter to family because my children and grandchildren love Dr. Pearson. You would love him too if he had cared for your animals. The next time I called my daughter Mary Kim, she talked about another of Melís kindnesses.

She reminded me of what good care Dr. Pearson had taken of Poochie so many years ago. Poochie arrived at our house in Sungate addition shortly after we moved in during the summer of 1964. Mary Kim, soon to be a first-grader, asked if she could keep the dog. Poochie appeared to be a stray dog, but was wearing a collar, so I asked the Sungate patrolman to see if he could find her owner before our family adopted her. Instead of following my instructions, the Sungate patrolman took Poochie and dumped her out in the country, many miles from our house. In about a week, Poochie showed up on our doorstep again, this time with sore paws. It was at that point that we realized she had claimed us as her family. We took her to Melís and had her examined. Mel gave us some medication for her coat and gave her a series of shots. From that day forward, Mel became her doctor.

Some years later, Mel saw Poochie through a fourth of July accident in which Poochie was frightened by a boy throwing a firecracker and was hit by a car, when she darted in front of it. Mel sewed up her leg and her ear. Even though half of one of her ears would be missing for the rest of her life, Poochie recovered well and remained a vibrant dog.

Mary Kim then reminded me of the sad day on which she accidentally hit our dog when leaving for high school one morning. (Poochie still had not learned to fear cars.) Poochie was chasing the car out of the driveway, but somehow slipped and fell under the back wheel. Mary Kimís brother Paul was home from college on that May day and helped get an injured Poochie into the car. Paul drove to Dr. Pearsonís.

At the clinic, Dr. Pearson lifted Poochie from the car and took her back to his surgery center. Several minutes later, Dr. Pearson came out and looked Mary Kim and Paul directly in the eye, saying, "Sheís gone." According to my daughter, it wasnít his choice of words, as much as the compassion in his voice and eyes that indicated that he too would miss Poochie. His sensitive announcement of Poochieís death tempered the harshness of it.

Mary Kim told me, "Dr. Pearsonís life exhibits that you donít have to be a pastor in order to be a minister. Dr. Pearson is a minister in his own way. By ministering to animals, Dr. Pearson has blessed their owners as well and glorified God in what he was called to do."

When I think of Mel, I am reminded of Colossians 3: 23Ė24 "Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men; knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve."

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