“Surely, we do not need to repeat the mistakes and cruelties of the past.” —- “All Creatures Great And Small” (S.3; E.3)

I am inspired to write as I was so moved by a recent episode of All Creatures Great And Small. (PBS TV Season 3, Episode 3) The series is a favorite of mine. The instant episode was particularly poignant .

The chapter includes the friendly relationships and warm humor for which the story is known. However, this particular storyline is is distinctly tender and inspiring.

Siegfried is haunted by his memories in the Animal Veterinary Corp during World War One. His sadness returns when a colleague and friend from his days in the A.V.C. takes his own life. The shocking death of his friend cause him to remember the horrors of war.

This tragic loss of his friend is amplified by a current case with which he his dealing. A horse has been traumatized and suffers from acute fear. The owner of the horse tells Siegfried that he will have the horse “put down” as it is useless as an uncontrollable race horse.

The present case of the race horse bears an emotive similarity to war horses under his care in 1918. The British War Department following the Armistice of Nov, 11, 1918, ordered the veterinarians of the A.V.C. to slaughter the military horses in France and Belgium rather than incurring the costs of transport back to Britain. Siegfried followed these horrible orders.

Saddened by the loss of his colleague and tormented by the cruel massacrer of wartime horses, Siegfried vows to help the young race horse overcome his fright and anxiety. He proclaims..”None of this is this poor animal’s fault. Morris needed help. But no one was there to give it to him. But we are here now. Surely, we do not need to repeat the mistakes and cruelties of the past.”

The chapter ends with Siegfried taking the troubled race horse for a ride. The green of the Dales stretched out before them.

It is a new day. One is reminded that we all are given chances to not duplicate the error and inhumanities of former times.

SOURCE: Screen images from PBS tv series