Saturday, February 20, 2010

sentimental carnage

Current mood:que sera sera 
I love my dogs, I really do.  But sometimes, sometimes it is driven home how close to the feral they are.  How much they are not really our 'pets' but just primitive creatures that share our space no matter how vicariously, and that any second they can revert back to their god-given state.  When they hit the darkness their eyes glow red and I have no control….it's like a film comes down over their souls, the humanity's touch is sloughed, the hunt is on.

These dogs, I love them, but ….A story

Last night after I had let them out for their bedtime jaunt, I got to sit and read the paper for a few minutes of quiet before the growling and screaming began.  Well, being the pack mama I am my first impression was that one of my 'babies' was in trouble.  I jumped up and ran for the door and the inky mid night shadows to rescue.  I get out on the back porch and see nothing, but the night air is filled with what?  Battle, horror, pain, commands…..

The storm is in the woods, right on the edge, right at the edge of the light thrown by the porch and service pole, the edge of tamed and insanity. There is a frenzy somewhere on the periphery and I am helpless.  So I run back into the house for my flood light and heavy walking staff.

The porch is encased by spider webs – it's weird these spiders.  They build their humongous webs each night (I've had one build a web as broad as my driveway and 12 feet high – driving through it was unreal) and then tear them down each morning just as the sun comes up, leaving no evidence of their existence.  But if you happen to venture out after dark……

Well, after clearing the webs to get off the porch, I aim the thick beam into the woods. All I see are reflections, glittering eyes which show no sentience, only the recoil of light and reason.  I start counting, one, two, three, one of the dogs, the puppy Ott comes darting out of the woods, then four……four?   Oh god, what do they have?  I see legs, bodies shifting and shielding……they know, they know I do not approve.
I yell at them to stop….this seems to be a cue to come into the light.  To allow me the pack leader to join in perhaps?  Or to show off, who the fuck knows.  Sometimes there is no explanation….no human explanation.  It can take many hours of reflection to plumb those murky depths that are the berserker's mind.

Something, a piece of fur, dark and shadowed, is being tossed about.  No wait that is wrong, there is never a time that it is not in the clutches of one of the dogs' jaws.  They are tugging vehemently from three different directions.  Like one of their pull toys.  Is it dead?  Oh please, let it be dead….

The staff comes down hard on the back of the alpha male – he releases.  The alpha wanna-be is next – god I hope I leave bruises.  I am so mad, or perhaps I have joined in the frenzy, the blood lust, and just need to administer pain.  At any rate, the staff comes down a third time…..

It is a raccoon, a youngster not even a year old, come to the bird feeders and watering stations in the cool of the night to browse.  It hits the ground and staggers – oh jeez.  I can't believe it's alive after all that!  It tries to get upright but is clearly in shock.  Wounds and fur torn, blood covering every surface, limbs obviously broken or torn out of socket.  It is like a marionette that has no master.  It tries again and again to rise and run….

In that moment the tableau halts to a grudging pause….I have a decision to make.

Do I grab the wounded animal to save it?  Oh you can be sure it will rip me a new one, out of pain, fear, and belief that I am part of the pack here to end its life.

And what is there to save really?  It's 1 am, no vet within 100 miles of me, especially not one versed in wild critters.  Maybe it would better to die in a flash than to suffer and linger for hours, maybe days.

….perhaps it would be merciful to let nature take its course.

I look the creature in the eye and ask forgiveness, but it already knows.  This is its world after all, it knows what is expected.

So I fade back into the light, the tide of teeth and raving flowing effortlessly back into the space I leave behind. 
….I ask the dogs to be quick about it

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