Life imitates death?

Monkey see, monkey do. As parents we try to be discreet in our behavior around our children. However, we sometimes shelter our kids from experiences that probably would be good for them. Farm kids, in my opinion, may be better off growing up around breeding and bleeding and therefore come to terms with some of the basic realities of life.

In this spirit, I allowed my stepson and two daughters free exposure to pretty much whatever veterinary procedures came their way. They witnessed everything from C-sections to euthanasias.

One day while I was doing a postmortem examination on a cat, I plopped my 21/2-year-old daughter Krysten on a stool up close so that she could watch Daddy. As I proceeded to dismember the dead animal looking over its every organ, I remember thinking how quiet Krysten was. She watched seemingly unmoved, said almost nothing but was rapt in her attention.

Later that night as my wife, Hilde, and I watched television, there was a clattering crash in the kitchen adjacent to our living area.

Rushing to see what happened, we found Krysten with one arm clutching our cat while the other hand fumbled at the pile of silverware that had fallen to the floor from an open pantry shelf above.

Asked what in the world she was doing, she uttered, "Gonna cut the kitty."

Needless to say, a stern lecture was forthcoming. After all, at her age it was important that she understand there could be severe consequences for practicing veterinary medicine without a license.

Dr. Jack Thornton is a semiretired veterinarian. Reach him in care of editor

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