Monday, January 29, 2007

animals mourning

A few days ago SK wrote this on his blog:

yessaday we went to botanic gardens
(when i shamefully stumbled back outta bed at 2 in arvo)
i saw the very sad sight
of a baby water fowl had fallen into a pool of water
inhabited by a huge grey eel
and the parent birds couldnae get it out
standersby we trying to keep the eel away from babybird with sticks
but cruel brutal nature inevitably had its way
and mr eel had fresh baby waterfowl for his lunchy
the mummyfowl squeaked n cooed mournfully
n i said to nk
you know to that bird ...she loved that baby like we love the bumper
and we both felt sad

I didn't feel like blogging in his comments, but having loads of animals over the years I have several situations where I've come to the same conclusion. It always surprises me the number of people who scoff at the idea animals have any emotions. I guess thinking that human animals are the only ones with emotions makes some people feel superior and also gives them the freedom to mistreat or not consider animals. Hell, people have dehumanised other people to do these things so it shouldn't surprise me when it's done to animals. Of course you have to be pretty fucking blind or delusional to really think that other people are less human because of their race or any number of things people will use to divide one another. Doesn't stop people from doing it though.

Anyway, I wasn't meaning to comment on how people treat each other, so back to the subject at hand. I'll lead off with my bird story. One day there was a commotion in one of the front pastures and the wooded area near it -- lots of screeching which was not usual. It didn't last too long, but then it was replaced with some of the most mournful keening. When we looked more closely there was a hawk flying around and then landing in one spot several times, then eventually not flying around but staying in that spot and keening. It wouldn't let anyone close (it was a pretty damned large bird) all day, so we couldn't really see what was wrong, but it kept up the keening. By the next day it had gone so we went to the spot and found a little mangled Pre-fledgling hawk. There are birds and other animals which will raid nests and momma hawk wasn't quick enough to stop this one from getting taken. She was able to harass whatever took it into dropping it, but the damage was done. I know it's just nature, but that poor mother hawk was distraught. I felt so bad for it.

Years ago we bought Gussie, a weanling filly (who we found out after she pitched a major fit in the trailer on the way home ripping herself up, bruising my sister all over, and bashing one of my teeth in, hadn't been really weaned rather she had just been separated from her mother the day before. Argh. Those people deserved a good swift smack for that) who took to one of our other horses as her kind of surrogate mother. Well about seven years down the road the other horse had to be put down. She was old and failing and it was clear that it was time. So we arranged for the vet to come and put Summertime down. This is done with a massive intravenous injection of barbiturate into the horse's neck, very much as is done with a cat or a dog, but horses are very large and they can go down abruptly and hard. It can be shocking to see. Of course Summertime went down hard. Her legs locked and she fell to the side as if she was a tree. She even bounced. And at that moment Gussie let out this awful scream and tore around the field (not the same field where we were putting Summer down) in a frenzy. She was so upset and it took a good while just to get her to stop running and she was touchy and anxious for several days. I won't say she knew exactly what was going on, but she knew it wasn't something good. Summer was the first horse I ever had to have put down and it was the most traumatic and poor Gussie's reaction didn't help matters any.

Next story. Cricket and Rolf were best buddies. Cricket was this little mutt of a dog -- had to have some beagle in her but she was small (only about 20 lbs) and all black (her colour and being found in the grass prompted the guy who found her to name her Cricket). Rolf was a beautiful big grey Alaskan Malamute. They loved to roam the area around where we lived and would often be gone all day long. They would get somewhat separated during their little jaunts, but when Cricket would pick up what she considered a good scent or get into trouble she would bark and Rolf would come running to her aid. She was quite bold with him as backup.

But large dogs don't generally live as long as smaller dogs and sure enough Rolf died. Cricket was so sad. One morning a couple days after Rolf's death I saw her in the front field. She would walk a few steps then pause, bark, and wait for Rolf to come to her aid. She did that over and over again, looking more and more dejected each time as he didn't come. It was so sad -- thinking about it still makes me cry. A few days later the vet was out for an appointment for the horses for something and we had him look at Cricket because she really seemed sick during the night and that morning. She was sluggish, wouldn't eat (and Cricket always ate), and was really uncomfortable. He checked he over and said she was healthy, just mourning. Poor little dog, she really missed her buddy. We got a new puppy (a Great Pyrenees we named Bailey) and while she did enjoy him a lot she never had the relationship with him she did with Rolf. She ended up outliving Bailey too.


Post a Comment

<< Home