Faculty/StaffSeptember 2001: Vol. 80, No. 4

Abused dog back to chasing squirrels, thanks to the good docs at Vet Med
Saving Honey

When a badly burned stray dog was carried into the Atlanta Humane Society in May, her injuries were life-threatening. She had been beaten, doused with gasoline, and set on fire by a 17-year-old boy. The animal suffered burns over one-third of her body.

Veterinary professor Sheila Allen (left) and student Jennifer Harrington were part of a 55-person team that saved Honey's life after she was badly burned.
The Humane Society staff took one look at the dog's sweet face and the mottled gold color of her fur and named her Honey. They stabilized her from shock, medicated her for pain, and then transported Honey to UGA's College of Veterinary Medicine—where the staff realized immediately that she was a special patient. Trembling and unable to sit because of her injuries, Honey was, nevertheless, wagging her tail.

"It's amazing she was so trusting," says Katie Diehl, a member of the hospital team that worked around the clock to save Honey. "She's a trouper!" was heard many times during Honey's hospital stay, and "Cautiously optimistic" was the official prognosis while she remained in intensive care. Her condition was touch and go due to the risk of infection and dehydration.

Over a period of five weeks, more than 10 veterinarians, 20 veterinary students, and 25 members of the hospital nursing staff worked to pull Honey through. They anesthetized her daily for the hour-long process of removing burned, dead skin while cleaning and re-bandaging her wounds.

Too traumatized to eat properly, Honey was fed liquid nutrients through a tube in her stomach. In addition to antibiotics and pain medication, she received blood and plasma transfusions. Swaddled in bandages from head to tail, she gained enough strength to undergo skin graft surgery. Thin superficial layers of her healthy skin were placed on her open wounds. The surgery proved to be a resounding success, as virtually 100 percent of the grafts worked.

The day she chased two squirrels on the hospital grounds, Honey was ready to be returned to the Humane Society and adoption by a family chosen from hundreds who offered to give her a loving home.

At a press briefing held for Honey's discharge, with all eyes and cameras on her, Honey then did what she does best—she looked endearing and wagged her tail.

Dot Sparer

UGA in the news

The federal execution of Timothy McVeigh, who bombed Oklahoma City's Murrah Federal Building and killed 168 people in the process, has not changed the way most people feel about the death penalty and has not incited discussion about capital punishment. Donald E. Wilkes Jr., a UGA law professor, told The Philadelphia Inquirer that, "Judging the McVeigh case from the point of view of the death penalty is like treating the O.J. Simpson case as a typical criminal case. Both of them were quite extraordinary cases."

UGA history professor James C. Cobb reviewed The Wind Done Gone, Alice Randall's parody of Margaret Mitchell's classic, Gone with the Wind in The Wall Street Journal. Cobb said Randall might have achieved her goal of writing a parody and served her social objectives by telling her story more simply—or even by writing a truly original novel herself, one uncluttered with distractions and references to Mitchell's original work. "For all her talent," wrote Cobb, "the first response to Ms. Randall's name may well be a reference not to her book, but to the one she tried just a little too hard to discredit."

UGA English professor Judith Ortiz Cofer was featured in a recent "Poet's Choice" column in the Washington Post. The column, which included her poem "To Understand El Azul," discussed the Puerto Rican-born Cofer's refusal to limit herself to one cultural identity or one genre in her writing. Her stories, essays, and poetry form a rich commentary on the various ironies and frictions of two worlds rubbing together. "My choice of language is not a political statement," said Cofer. "English is my literary language . . . . Spanish is my familial language, the tongue I speak with my blood relatives, that I dream in, that lies between the lines of my English sentences."

In a Sunday feature story, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution investigated what global warming will mean to Georgia. Amongst the experts consulted was UGA forestry professor Rodney Will, who said that most trees will not be able to take advantage of the higher CO2 levels (associated with warming) because of a lack of other nutrients in the soil. "But for the purposes of plantation forestry, the effect will probably be beneficial," said Will. "The more controlled the system, the easier it is to capture the effect of enhanced CO2."

Eudora Welty became internationally famous for her stories of Depression-era Mississippi. Her strong dialogue and imagery brought the South to the world and for it she was awarded the 1973 Pulitzer Prize for The Optimist's Daughter. UGA English professor Hubert McAlexander told the Associated Press that her recent passing was the end of an era: "She was the last of the great generation of Southern writers. A whole group of writers, particularly women, have been influenced by her. Pale copies."

Galapagos book examines "history of science" on wildlife sanctuary
Larson's latest

Ed Larson, who has a dual appointment at UGA in history and law, has been a busy man since winning the 1998 Pulitzer Prize in history for his book Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate Over Science and Religion.

His expertise has landed him on the "Today Show" and "PBS News Hour," as well as various BBC and NPR programs. He is the Fulbright Program's 2001 John Adams Chair for American Studies, and the 2000 winner of the American Association for the Advancement of Science's top prize. Larson's four books and more than 40 published articles are typically concerned with issues of science, medicine, and law from a historical perspective.

Larson took time out from his summer research schedule to discuss his latest book, Evolution's Workshop: God and Science in the Galapagos Islands, with GM's Alex Crevar.

Q: Why are you so focused on evolution?
Larson: Modern society is profoundly shaped by its scientific world view—it impacts who we think we are and how we act with one another. No biological theory has had a greater impact on modern society than the theory of evolution.

Q: What drew you to the Galapagos?
Larson: They may be the only place in the world famous primarily because of their connection with science. Yet no historian had ever chronicled the history of science on those islands.

Q: What is the crux of the book?
Larson: Evolution's Workshop examines the history of scientific exploration and research on the Galapagos as a means of understanding the cultural significance of the archipelago. In that sense, it is primarily a book about how people (especially scientists) have viewed the Galapagos—and that tells us as much about those people as it does about the islands.

Q: What were your first reactions to the islands?
Larson: I was struck by the varied animals found there. Penguins, blue-footed boobies, gigantic land tortoises, five-foot iguanas, flamingos, and the like. None of them show any fear of people. Mockingbirds will land on your arm. You can swim with sea lions, penguins, giant sea turtles, and nine-foot hammerhead sharks. This Franciscan feeling of peace in the animal kingdom is unforgettable.

Q: What is the most surprising thing in the book?
Larson: Legend has it that Darwin "discovered" his theory of evolution while on the Galapagos. Actually, he became convinced that species evolved from other species later, as he tried to understand his collection of Galapagos birds. And even this did not lead him to his theory of natural selection as the driving force of evolution.

Q: What lessons do we learn from how the islands have been used?
Larson: The positive lesson is how much science we have learned from this place. And now we are learning ways to protect endangered species and control the adverse impact of humans on the environment. A negative lesson is that we learn from our mistakes, and we certainly have made some mistakes in over-exploiting the Galapagos through excessive fishing in the marine preserve and excess development on the land. Hundreds of scientists and about 100,000 tourists visit the islands each year. There is a permanent scientific research station in the Galapagos and more than 20,000 permanent residents. The place is no longer isolated.

Q: What do the islands represent?
Larson: The Galapagos were the largest temperate or tropical islands ever found by Europeans during their exploration of lands where people did not already live. Indeed, mammals did not live there. So reptiles and birds were free to develop without interference—resulting in the many unique and unusual species.

Q: Does your research give you more or less hope?
Larson: My observations of intense tourist development on the islands increases my worries about the impact of such development in fragile environments for native species. I am sentimental about nature, and would hate to see those species lost as species have been lost elsewhere.

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