doing the right thing

It’s surprising how complicated that can be, the right thing stuff.  For example.

If we’d taken in all the dogs people drive up on this hill and callously abandon after removing their collars, we’d have a troupe by now.  Hound was notable last summer.  Eventually the Mexicans across the road took him in, and he found another dog friend to lay in the middle of the road with.  He also maintained order with an iron paw:  No late night barking was tolerated, coyotes be damned.  He’d raise his bellowing bark above all of them, but me no buts and bark me no barks.  It was amazing.  They’ve all disappeared from that house, but maybe he and they will be back.  He really was quite a charmer, even if he looked like a compulsive gambler.

Now there is another dog, a bull terrier mix.  (I am a sucker for bull terriers as it happens- once a devilishly charming girly terrier caught my eye while crossing a street.  Apparently both our heads swivelled and her owner, an intimidatingly gorgeous woman, said, Jeez.  Say Hi, you two. She’s never done anything like this before.  WHO ARE YOU?  It was all over from then on.)  When our newest refugee looked me in the eye, advanced over to the deck, and proceeded to lick my hand while wagging his tail like crazy, I felt myself slipping over the edge.  I love dogs, in fact I love animals, period.  However, among all the zillions of things I’m allergic to, dogs are way up on the top of the list.  We simply cannot, at this point, take on another mouth to feed (chickens and ducks to come, but postponed), and the Affordable Care Act does not cover veterinary costs.  I’ve explained this dismal fact to the parrots and they’re cool with getting essences and tinctures in their water bowls when indicated- they were never crazy about going to the vet, anyway.

But back to the newest lost soul.  It’s complicated in a way.  All the strays wind up at our place because our landlords have no fences and no gates on a 20 acre property.  There’s absolutely nothing there to eat, no grass or lizards since their horses have flattened things pretty much.  So everyone toddles over to our round blue house, which seems to be pretty much a sanctuary for all.  It turns out we’ve had an orphan baby jackrabbit living under the greenhouse arrangement in the garden, and the deer are still camping out off and on below the abandoned swingset on the hill.  The Partner just saved a baby gopher snake.  We saw two bright yellow finches eat seeds for 40 solid minutes yesterday:  a lemon balm plant full of dry seeds waiting to fly out in the air.  Fly they did, into two tennis ball sized little birds who tottered off into adjacent branches to do some burping and preening.  But again, the newest lost soul.  I am amazed at the perfidious awful heartedness, or lack thereof, that makes someone take their PET, for heaven’s sake, and dump them in the wilderness.  Who would do something like that?  At least if taken to a shelter, there’s possibility and it’s got to be better than running from coyotes and mountain lions while freezing.  Some of the dropped off dogs have been shot, according to the message board by the mailboxes.  So, when I looked into the beautifully outlined eyes of this nicely temperamented little dog, I found myself torn.  One piece of me wanted to immediately find whoever did this and inflict soft tissue damage with pliers.  Another piece of me wanted to say, oh the heck with it, time for a dog.  Another piece of me shrivelled up thinking, huh! You can’t even save an animal, much less do anything bigger to shift the balance of things- you don’t have the resources AND BESIDES WHERE’S THE KLEENEX MY EYES ARE SWELLING SHUT.  Then I thought: This is the crux, isn’t it?  The Partner and I find ourselves stuck, often, with unpleasant cleaning up sorts of tasks here because other people refuse to do what I will just refer to as: the right thing.  It sounds weird, yes, but it is true.  Abandoned pet rabbits, lost cows, sick horses, broken machinery all over the place,  trespassers and renegade pit bulls from the other side of the ridge, you name it.  How can that be?  You shouldn’t have things you cannot, or will not, take care of, whatever they are, and what you have should be taken care of.  Getting tired of paying attention to your animal companions is no excuse- what’ll these fine folks do with children? But in a world where on the TV news you get treated to the sight of people being shot dead by snipers and falling into flames on the street in Kiev, I suppose it’s not hard to see that if humans aren’t worth anything in this world, probably animals are not going to fare too well either.   Anyway it remains to be seen if Newby will stay with our landlords or wander off.  Or if we’ll have to bite the bullet and take him to the local shelter.  And who knows if that would be the right thing to do, either.  Plunged into confusion by a stray dog, bottom line.

Thoughts of upcoming exotic squashes and melons, Florence Fennel, Ramsons (beloved by bears- possibly a mistake but we’ll see…), tomatoes and sunflowers and vegetables oh my! make me giddy with happiness.  We watched Tyrant perch on top of our Spruce tree at our front door, squaring his shoulders and looking around swivelling his head and open beak, waiting for interlopers, and saw a magnificent hawk fly across a pasture.  Finally finishing our canning and preserving from the past year (just in time for….well, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it), our blood orange/tangerine/meyer lemon marmalade came out really well.  This is the joy of the universe, for sure.  Sometimes it’s hard to square the seemingly eternal standoff between what we may call “good”, and what really does seem to be “evil”.  Whether we understand them or not, those energies are always moving around us.  The question, as always, is what is to be done?

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