DR. HERMAN VARNICK – It’s been 25 years since the events of Beethoven, and since that time I have been ceaselessly scorned by children and adults alike. Now that I’m a bit older and a bit wiser, I’ve started to come around to their point of view. Perhaps I shouldn’t have tried to kill that dog.
People forget this, but the economy was rough in those days. Even as a successful veterinarian, the bills were stacking up faster than I could pay them. Now, does that justify hiring some bumbling crooks to steal as many puppies as they could find, so that I could conduct experiments on them for cash? With the benefit of hindsight, I guess maybe not.
Regardless, in 1992 I had developed a reputation as the man to call if you were a pharmaceutical or weapons manufacturer who needed black market lab tests conducted on dogs. Sure, as I look at it now, the whole thing feels a bit off. But it was the 90’s, that’s just what people did back then.
Which brings me to the Beethoven incident. I was hired by a handgun company to test a new type of bullet on a large dog with a thick skull. Granted, here in 2017 I would probably ask myself “Is there a better way to test the impact of a bullet, other than stealing a family’s dog and shooting it in the face at point blank range?” At the time though, this was the only technology available.
As for the actual theft of Beethoven, I’d have to say this is where the most severe miscalculations were made. Rather than pursue legal means to get a large dog, I hatched a plan to steal a St. Bernard from a loving family. I’m not proud of that per se, but in my defense, the whole idea of owning a living thing is kind of messed up when you think about it.
Still, my plan was rushed, poorly executed, and ultimately a failure. It was a disservice to the Newton family, to the employees at my veterinarian’s office, and most importantly to the handgun company. That new bullet never made it to market, and that’s what I regret most.
We all make mistakes, the important thing is that we learn from them. I learned that if you pretend a dog bit you in order to trick a family into thinking it’s rabid, eventually that family is going to drive their car through the wall of your secret dog lab and send a cartload of experimental syringes flying into your chest.
If I can learn that, maybe all of us can.