Years back, while out riding a horse on a cattle ranch about the size of Rhode Island, my trusty steed plunged into some sort of gopher hole and snapped its leg.
The sudden fall threw me hard into a temporary haze that no cowboy hat could shield. What soon aroused me was my painted steed screaming in horrendous pain… and fear… before she settled back to her fate.
She couldn’t rise. And there I was, just 16, having to rise to a tortuous decision – once again. Such as the time when I was all of about five-years-old I came upon a pack of stray dogs ripping a cat asunder in a far field on my father’s big ol’ farm.
When the raging pack finally scattered at my bellows the feral feline was dismally gasping through its disemboweled parts. I soon fought thru my tears and ended its wretched misery.
Now here I was yet again. Still too young and dumb to make such grown up decisions. It was a far, far ride back over lonely fields and deserted roads for help at the ranch house. And even farther to walk. To leave a lame horse totally tethered by injury in that wide-open range would be a bonfire inviting scavengers to feast.
I didn’t know what to do. In my haunted, retrospective nightmares I do realize there is no wrong time to make the right decision. And, as in any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The next best thing is the wrong thing. And the worst thing you can do is nothing.
I didn’t have a gun. Yet once again I managed; I ended another animal’s wretched misery. My eyes weren’t filled with tears this time. They came later. And with memories, they kept coming.
pendulum of the mind really alternates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong.
you can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.
The cradle to grave ‘human treatment’ we are providing our pets has now apparently run the gamut from puppy farms, to pet clothes to pet spas to pet therapists…And now to pet hospice care. It is much like the hospice for humans, treating the terminally ill and elderly in their end of life stages, before heading off to their pet cemeteries.
Hmm… And people think ‘I’ am crazy.
But of course!
However, while I may not quite condone this self-indulgent lunacy, I do understand it. It’s in our DNA. Dogs and cats — throughout thousands of years of empires such as Egyptian, Roman, Greek and Chinese — have been elevated to mythical adulation. And sometimes – I’ve been told – it gets very, very intimate.
And now it is our turn — Americans. Oh, we may lament those poor and starving folks ‘over-there,’ but over-here we pet, pamper and scoop $55 billion dollars a year of epicurean delights to our wagging Rovers and purring Samanthas.
Certainly, none of this absolutely signals the end of another empire – perhaps. It just certifies that we all hail from that same dysfunctional family of Adam and Eve. And that there is nothing new – except the history we don’t know.
Does it make sense? Or am I making nonsense?
Honestly, I don’t know. But I can tell you that I’ve been in parts of the world where everything indubitably happens by chance, opportunity and necessity. Where they eat cats in stews and roast dogs like chickens; where horse meat is a delicacy; and cows aren’t touched. Snakes are petted. And rivers eat everything. I’ve seen horny men do things with sheep on Saturday nites and then butcher them on Monday morning. (Hmm… All alimony issues are obviously resolved.)
And then I’ve seen our civilized societies shield the children from the cruel facts of raising veal, Kobe beef and cranking corn down a ducks gullet to make patè. All – and much, much more — are things more cruel than Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick’s supposedly heartless and inhumane dog fights.
In other words: What we know about the slaughter of our animals is that we don’t want to know.
Even worse, I’ve seen the making of sausage and the brutal passage of legislation in our State Houses. And it certainly ain’t kosher.
To me, everything makes sense. And all is nonsense. Maybe it‘s because I was reared on a farm. I wasn’t shielded from the process we call the food chain. And also the fact that everybody’s gotta pull his weight – even the pets.
On a farm, big or small, everybody’s got much too much to do than weep too long for Lassie. She was a good ol’ dog. But tomorrow the sun’s gonna rise and chores have got to get done. She’ll find a proper place to die. And we’ll find a proper spot to bury her.
Death always lingers by the doorposts. But life persists.
It seems we spend too much time on wanting to give our pets, and sometimes our humans, a proper death, when for the most part it doesn’t seem to ravage us that we didn’t make the same effort to provide most of them a proper life. I guess I am particularly talking about our fellow ‘humans’ here and not so much those pets we treat better than humans.
I know…I know…I sound like a tough S.O.B. Even tougher than my dear old bourbon sippin’ Pappy.
Yet, like him, I seem to harbor a softer spot for animals than humans. Can’t help it. Like Pappy, I don’t like people all that much. And if I ever find a woman that greets me at the front door like my dog, then I may try co-habitation again.
Nonetheless, all this over-care for our pets is meshugga. But history is prologue. Once again, the only thing new is the history we don’t know. There are no original ideas. There are only original people.
But of course!
Maybe there is simply no place to go with it all.
After the boyhood dilemmas with animals I thought about becoming a veterinarian. But I apparently lacked the aptitude – as well as the stomach. Occasionally I would observe the local vet at work, sticking his entire prophylactic- gloved hand, arm and shoulder up a cow’s ass.
Watching him clean out the endless bowels of sewage before investigating the problem wasn’t exactly the bonfire at which I was looking to feast.
And isn’t that the trouble with reality – it strips away those rosy-colored glasses through which we romantically imagine life to be. Reality should leave a lot to the imagination. For me, however, it also leaves dead horses…
And dats yDrewIS on dis penal colony…