I love dogs. Actually I love animals. Throughout the years I’ve had rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, birds, fish, dogs, and a cat. I’ve rescued baby squirrels and baby birds. I’ve gone to great lengths to avoid hitting possum, raccoon, birds, and butterflies. I think that animals are more real than people. You know where you stand with a dog or a cat. Your social status never impresses a pot-belly pig. A hefty bank account will not encourage a horse to follow you. Animals know what’s important and what’s not.
I know that everyone doesn’t share my love of animals, and that’s ok. There are people who leave their cats shut in a small room all day while they’re working. They tie out their dogs in all kinds of weather. They forget to feed the hamsters, and expect birds to be happy in a half square foot of space for their entire lives. I’m not happy about that, but I can’t fix the world.
Other people have a burning hatred for animals. These people kick dogs out of their way. They toss cats out of cars on country roads. They go out of their way to step on bugs. And some, for reasons that are alien to me, kill animals. Like dogs. Like my dog. Like Buddy.
Buddy and Lucky (another of my dogs) were out in the back yard and discovered a small hole in the fence. Being the free spirits that they are, out they went. Lucky came back soon. Buddy didn’t.
Jeff searched as long as he could. Galal and I looked for a couple of hours – all over White County from halfway to Monticello to Brookston and along Highway 43. It got dark, and we had to stop looking. I was going to continue looking on Saturday morning. Before we left the house to look on Saturday, we got a phone call. A woman’s husband had been driving north through town and saw what he thought might be Buddy. I had placed a couple of notices on Craig’s List with a photo. Jeff got into the car and drove to the spot.
Buddy was there. But he was dead. We don’t know if he was hit by a car or if he was shot. He still had his collar on with my cell phone number engraved on it. Jeff and Nate (son-in-law) came back home, got a tarp, and brought Buddy home. We buried him under the apple trees with his cow toy.
Being the type of person who stops to make sure birds that fly into my windshield are ok, I naively think that other people should stop if they hit an animal. Had the person who hit Buddy stopped right then, they would have found his tag and could have called me. Buddy might have lived if he’d gotten medical attention.
If he was shot, which is what it looked like might have happened…why? Aside from being a large dog (St. Bernard/Collie mix), Buddy was the sweetest, most gentle dog I’ve ever known. The only thing strangers were to Buddy was friends he had yet to meet. His tail, all plumey and beautiful, never stopped wagging. No matter how many table tops he cleared with it. If you’ve never seen a dog that size plop down into a puppy bow, you don’t know what cute is. Why shoot a dog – or any animal – and then walk away as if the dog was so much roadside trash?
What makes people do things like this? The world is such an incredible mess. There are people dying because the food they need is being used as political currency. Other people are dying for a religious war that no one can win. We hate this group because of their skin color. We hate that group because they have a different opinion of how government should work. We hate yet another group because they fall in love with the “wrong” people.
And we shoot dogs…just because.
What hope is there for this world, when there is so much wrong, and so few people really doing anything to fix it?