Thursday, December 20, 2007

Heartbreak and Pride

**Tissue Alert**

When my girls were small and displaying a singular lack of compassion for each other, I made them sit down and watch Old Yeller, just to see if they were capable of crying. They were. I know that sounds horrendous but I am the mother of a child who rooted for the hunters in Bambi because, after all, Mom, it’s just part of God’s food chain.

On Tuesday, I spent the day Christmas shopping with my daughter in the “big town”. We shopped, had lunch, made it back in time to pick up lil man from school and take him to the dentist. We finished at the dentist with nothing other than a suggestion of waiting and letting nature take it’s course. We all went back to my house, since that’s where my daughter’s pickup was.

We got home and our neighbor pulled in behind us. She needed to talk to us about the 2 strays who hang around my house. They, along with the St. Bernard who actually lives at the scrap yard next to us, had been seen leaving the scene of a calf slaughter. Bad enough to have killed any calf, but this was a child’s 4-H project calf. This was some kid’s college money, pride, hard work, money, hard work, love and consistent attention to detail.

The dogs were not hungry. They killed strictly for sport. Unfortunately, now that they knew where penned up toys lived, it was even worse. They had to be destroyed.

Our neighbor, a truly gracious lady, asked lil man to go inside so that he would not be privy to any of this. Juls and I told her that we could catch Maggie but that lil man was the only person who could catch Mae. She went to get the necessary equipment and we went inside to talk to lil man. Julie explained to him what had happened and his eyes immediately welled up. He knew what was coming - we have never pulled punches about the value of livestock in a rural area. He toughed up and listened to his mom.

We got a leash around Maggie’s neck with no problem and sat on the stairs to wait for our neighbor. Lil man tried to get Mae but she just knew something was up. She was having no part of it. Finally, Juls had to leave for an appointment and asked lil man if he wanted to go with her or if he wanted to stay and help me. He chose, and God bless him for this, to stay and help me.

We got a dish of food for the dogs and Maggie ate some. Our neighbor returned and I carried Maggie (she didn’t fight the leash but she wouldn’t walk on it either) out to our neighbor.

Lil man sat quietly and waited for Mae to come out. She did and he slipped the leash over her head.

Have you ever seen The Man from Snowy River? There is a scene where they try to break a horse and it goes bonkers on them. Jumping, leaping, sun fishing, running, screaming. That was Mae. Mae and lil man weighed about the same. She freaked. He held. She dragged. He held. She went under the house. He held.

My neighbor and I ran to help lil man. I grabbed the leash and dragged Mae out from under the house. She was, needless to say, frantic; snapping and snarling. I held her around her middle while my neighbor loosened the leash which had, during the struggle, tightened. She calmed immediately. I picked her up and carried her out of the yard.

My neighbor took both dogs into the yard with the St. Bernard and did what needed to be done.

Lil man and I were talking about it. He said, and I couldn’t agree more, that as hard as this was, it was better than someone else trying to chase her down, scaring her and shooting her. We discussed the difference between pets and dogs. We discussed the value, in a rural community, of livestock and of dogs. We discussed how incredibly proud I was of him and what a man he was. Not a little boy any longer, but a man.

I used to watch old Westerns on TV. You know the ones - the Dad would ride off and leave the kid in charge, telling him that he was the “man of the house”. I always thought, yeah, sure, that poor Mom just got stuck with everything!

My opinion has changed. Sometimes little boys can be men.


Crown Princess said...

He is amazing....AND....ibet he could chunk rocks just as well as Arlis

Beckie said...

That was a Rough day. That is one tough little guy you have there.

Karmyn R said...

Oh Sandy.

That was more than a tissue story - I'm sobbing. For the dogs and Lil Man. What a tough lesson to learn.

Dreaming What Ifs...

klasieprof said...

Oh man...My eyes are squirting out liquid now....BWWHHHHAAAAHHHHHHAAA.

nikki said...

Not just one tissue, get me the whole damn box. Tough day for everyone.


laurie said...

oh my god.

i am crying. oh my god.

Wonderful World of Weiners said...

I'm so sad that this had to happen but I know it was necessary. I don't think I'd have the heart to do what needed to be done.

I'm impressed at lil man's strength when faced with such a hard situation.

Think I'll go hug the wieners...


Sandy said...

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!good on u lilman.!!!!!!!!!!!

AnGlOpHiLe FoOtBaLl FaNaTiC said...

Oh, that's the worst. I don't know what to say. Oh, Lord.

Junebug said...

I read this yesterday at your daughter's. That was a brave act that he performed. Very brave.

Pamela said...

No chance there was a mistake about the dog being a part of it??? I'm so sorry.

I was broken hearted when I lost pets as a child. And.. face it... as an adult, too.

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