Taking Part In The Brutal & Necessary

Do you want to hear about killing a dog? Neither do I. I don’t want to write this. I want to forget about-put it in the furthest corners of my jumbled up brain while hoping it replaces itself over time. I’ve tried to write about it for over a week. Every time I sit down to the keyboard I stand up and walk away. Three times I’ve deleted the words and told myself to drop it.

One of my goals in life is to embrace all of its quirks. The greatest periods of personal growth come from some of the most wretched places, to ignore them is to disregard a chance at an unforeseen, perhaps unimaginable perspective. Only through perspective can we achieve understanding. For me, understanding is the secret ingredient of a well made life. If I can gain enough understanding, I will hopefully turn it to peacefulness, tranquility, and the real Atlantis of human mindset: contentment.

In the following I will attempt to work my way to understanding…

Living in a farmhouse off of a semi-busy road leads to a whole mess of bullshit. We have the occasional visitor who only stops to either sell something, ask for something or steal something. A couple of months ago, we had a guy fresh out of jail, who was walking forty miles, stop and ask for a ride. He wouldn’t stop asking. I would rather be in the car with a coked up mountain gorilla than this guy. He was rough looking and smelled like the aforementioned gorilla. It wasn’t happening. We have a few people stop because of car issues and I do my best to help them. It’s not all bad, but the absolute worst are the dog droppers.

What goes through the heads of dog droppers is baffling. They take their malnourished, beaten dogs, and drop them off at country houses. I guess in the sick world of justification, they feel as though the dog will have a good home. It will flourish in its new surroundings and all the damage will wash away. What these fucktards fail to realize is they have usually permanently destroyed the trust the dog may have ever had in humans. The dogs stick around because they’ve most likely been chained up for so long they have no concept of free space. They’re usually injured and sometimes dangerous to people and pets. The homeowner is now left with a tough decision.

Small towns are not hotbeds of dog rescue organizations, and city funded dog catchers are exactly that: city funded. We live over thirteen miles away from a city. You see my predicament? I’m left with deciding the dogs fate. I used to work with a dog rescue group out of Dallas and I know that even if there was a local group, dogs like these cannot take up the precious space held for better suited animals. The dropped off dog can either be left to suffer in the elements or put down.

Last week, we had such a dog. He could have been beautiful. I tried to corral him, feed him, call him, and anything else you can think to do to avoid killing him. He, like so many others, was too broken to be helped. I have two dogs of my own and I couldn’t take the risk of them getting sick or injured. (I’m having a hard time writing this. I’ve reread it and I hate it.) I made the decision to put him down.

For this part I will not go into detail. I will keep these memories. I will sum it up in one sentence: It was not a clean kill and he suffered horribly. I was angry at myself in ways I’ve never been. I kicked myself for failing this creature. I want to do awful things to the ones who put me in the position. Fuck them.

The perspective I’ve tried to gain from this experience is that of those who have to make tough decisions with no good answer but one right answer. The correct answer can be different for different people. I’ve been thinking of the choice between a mothers life and her child. I’ve been thinking of those who must decide whether more suffering would be caused by watching their loved one hold onto life through slow breaths given by a machine, or life without them. I’ve been thinking of the those who put their lives on the line everyday for strangers. All of these are much worse than what I went through. I cannot totally relate, but I think I understand.


5 thoughts on “Taking Part In The Brutal & Necessary

  1. RoxanneFarealdeauxe says:

     Sounds like this event made you ponder the depths of multible thing.s What if reality is just an illusion, a moment, a show to make your soul grow? If that be the case then i guess old yeller on the side of the road cosmically came and played out his role.. I`ll tell you something that i once told a youngen “dont let reality cloud your vision””.

  2. Ray says:

    My dad is a rancher. He’s kept as many as 250 head of cattle at one time for forty-plus years. For various reasons, he kills things all the time. Mostly, it’s “pest” animals like feral hogs, or every once in a while, a predator animal like a coyote. Packs of coyotes are worse than people think, and country life can be brutal, as your post indicates so well.

    He lives in a little town with a population of less than a thousand people, my dad. He’s lived there for most of his life. Everyone knows him, unless they’re a weird shut-in or meth-head (or both). Because he knows everyone, all the time he gets calls asking for all kinds of help. One of the things he gets calls about a lot is pest animals. The Beverly Hillbillies called them critters or varmints. Typical scenario: an elderly widow who doesn’t want to mess with possibly rabid animals calls, and he goes and puts out a trap. He has traps all around town. He catches all sorts of critters, some of which he gives to poor people to eat, like possums or the occasional armadillo. Most of them he lets go.

    The ones he never lets go, though, are skunks. Once he bragged to me that he’d killed twenty-three skunks over a relatively short period of time. I don’t remember how long, exactly, but it was over a few months at most. It was multiple animals a week. He even had me go out with him once to get rid of one. I refused. I went and helped, but I wouldn’t shoot it. See, skunks are sacred to me. It’s this whole other thing I won’t go into. But, honestly, if it were armadillos or possums or whatever, it would still probably bother me. They don’t disturb anything. They don’t eat pets or chickens (except foxes) or harass cattle. All of these critters and varmints eat bugs. Now, rats, sure, kill all the rats you want. Those things carry diseases. But, skunks? They just smell bad. And it’s their ONLY defense (other than coloration) in a world where virtually all of their kind die being eaten or crossing a highway. Think about it: all they have in the world to fight against coyotes, dogs, bobcats, and so on is the threat of making that guy’s girlfriend not wanna make out with him for a week or so. Give the little guys a break.

    Anyway, my point is: humans are never one thing. We’re neither monsters nor heroes. We aren’t anything, really, except in stories written about us. In other words, only in our lies. This is truly what separates us from animals. They *are* what they are, just like the wind and the rain. It’s what makes our experiences more rich and our lives more difficult. It’s what some of us hope will let us transcend, if that’s truly possible.

    You’re wrestling with things in a way that I voluntarily walked away from. I wasn’t ready for it and may never be. I honestly can’t wait to meet the Keg that comes out the other side of all of this. He’s a guy that’ll change the world.

    “I walk through the valley of the shadow of death/
    but, I fear no evil because I’m blind to it all.
    My mind and my gun, they comfort me/
    because I know I’ll kill my enemies when they come.”

    -“Through the Valley”, Shawn James and the Shapeshifters

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