>Lessons In Hate And Acceptance-A Dark Tale….
Sometimes, we think we know what we will do in any given situation. We think we are firm in our resolves….
I was reading Roland’s post where Gypsy was thrown by DayStar into hell and all the heroes came to stand and fight for her safety…..
….and this memory came to mind:
I was sixteen and in high school. My French teacher, upon learning how much I loved cats, gave me one of her kittens. I named her Dulcinea (from Don Quixote) and she was beautiful. She was part Persian-a tiny chocolate ball of fur with golden patches. I loved her fiercely….
Mom and I were sitting on the front porch and Dulcinea was playing beneath our feet under a hemlock tree. Suddenly, as if from nowhere, Grandpa’s huge hunting dog dove under the hemlock tree, swept my tiny baby up into his mouth, and raced off with her.
I knew firsthand what a dog could do to a cat. I threw my tea glass onto the porch, grabbed my brother’s metal baseball bat, and chased off after the hell-hound. He ran around the house, through the back yard, and into the half acre plowed garden. I was right behind him, screaming the whole way…
At the end of our property, at the end of the plowed field, he turned, Dulcinea hanging limply from his mouth, and I had my chance…..
What do you think I did? Swing the bat? Fall to my knees and cry? Lose myself in a mindless rage?
As I stood there, looking into the eyes of the animal that had so quickly brought death and pain to Dulcinea’s world and mine, time stopped and I had an epiphany. I hated that dog with a passion and a depth that words cannot convey. But as I looked into his eyes, the baseball bat poised to strike a blow against all the dogs that had ever taken my babies away from me, I wanted to cry. Not just for the beautiful dead innocent dangling from the mouth of the beast, but because I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t kill or even hurt the animal that had brought death, like so many before him, once more to my fragile world. And I felt as if I were letting her down in the most horrible way possible.
After my epiphany, still in a rage, still holding the bat poised for striking, a war raging inside of me, the dog dropped the now dead Dulcinea and loped off to his home. Next door.
Grandpa sold the dog and never bought another hunting dog. He bought beagles. He tended Cookie for me, a stray that wandered in from who knows where that had mange. Ironically, Cookie, and Sam, his last beagle, became best friends. With each other and with Grandpa.
It was a long long time before Grandpa would look me in the eyes. And I was still never good enough. But no one ever allowed or caused a dog to go after one of my cats again. Ever.
What was the epiphany? The dog was just a dog. Certain breeds naturally go after creatures smaller than they are. Also, dogs bred to hunt often consider smaller animals to be prey. In nature, this is typical and natural. It’s why I’ve never liked nature shows that show hunting practices. I know it’s natural and normal, but I don’t have to like it.
I couldn’t strike at the dog because, in a way, it’s the natural order of things. And he didn’t understand the thing he’d done. He couldn’t stop and reason that he’d crossed a property line or that the creature he’d taken was my world. When I reached him, when I had the chance to strike, Dulcinea was already dead. Striking then would have, to me, been a senseless kind of revenge against a creature that didn’t know any better. And, in truth, I didn’t know how I would be able to live with the pain I would cause, or with his death if it came at my hands-he was just a dog….
I might hate certain realities that exist. I might have to accept that some things are beyond my control or my ability to change….and I know there are exceptions to all this.
But people….they’re different. They plan. They connive. They strategize. And they take….
After Dulcinea, I learned I could not strike out at an animal for following a natural instinct or being unable to reason. It caused me to wonder if I would ever be able to defend those I loved from harm….
The answer is yes. I can. But that’s another story….
(This is not a photo of Dulcinea, it’s from zedge.net.)