>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.

I dropped the bat, picked up my baby and carried her to my frantic mother, who helped me bury her. Then, carrying the rage of all the innocents before her that had died by the will of his hunting dogs, I marched through the garden and around to his work shed and unleashed everything inside me at my grandfather. 

Gone was the little girl who did as she was told, who was always good but never good enough, who could be counted on for anything despite the fact that she could count on absolutely no one. The unprotected became the protector. She avenged, not on the hapless pawn, but on one who discounted her and everything she cared for. She avenged-with words. She raged, but coherently. She screamed, but with logic. Her bitter tears conveyed not weakness, but rock solid resolve. Her shaking body hinted at the hellfire tightly contained within her. She fired every weapon at her disposal-incident after incident, holding nothing back-and they hit their target. 

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.)

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About CuriousCat

I love to learn new things-anything from how to create a junk journal to the way light moves through space; why cats present their behinds to us to the effects of chemicals on our endocrine system. If it interests me, I can spend hours reading and learning about it.

Posted on October 10, 2010, in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. >I applaud you for realizing that the dog was just being true to its nature and that it was your Grandfather who was to blame for not behaving in an adult, responsible manner.To see the killing of something you love so young is searing. My own grandfather was a cruel madman, not dealt with by the rural authorities because, quite frankly, he scared the hell out of them. My mother bore the scars of his madness inside and outside all her life.I am sending you an email picture of Gypsy's attitude towards agents asking me for edits. Hope it brings a smile to you. Roland

  2. >What a little warrior you were! And the insight, while tragic, seems to have stayed with you for life. It is hard to realize how brutal nature can be.But you took this life lesson and used it appropriately. Something tells me your grandfather appreciated your candor, the tirade that formed the person you are today.This was such a special memory. I'm so glad you shared it.And I eagerly await the story of defending the ones you love.Have a good night WC……….dhole

  3. >Wow, what a range of emotions. Very well written story. I would not have had so much epiphany, sorry. I look forward to your next installment though 🙂Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  4. >I'm with Jules, what a rage of emotions, I could feel every emotion with each word you typed for this post. Brilliant! It's a terribly sad story, but you're right that dog was nothing more than a hunting dog, it did what normally would do, unfortunately it was against an innocent animal you adored. That realization is very difficult to come by but I applaud you for not striking the dog. You may have hated him but you would have done worse with injury and ended up feeling only more pain for what you'd done.

  5. >I was right there with you unleashing on Grandpa! I could see my small self doing much the same. A neighbor's dog killed my kitten after my brother's "accidentally" let her out. I was so distraught. I didn't want another kitten because I knew my brother's weren't responsible enough to not let it happen again. The neighbor's dog had a lonely life with no toys in a backyard. How boring. Imagine his excitement when something small and MOVING entered the yard – a great chase ensued and he had fun for the first time in a loooong time. I felt bad for him once I got over my Mittens. I didn't have the courage to yell at anyone, though. It seems they were always doing something that led to the death of one of my pets. Never on purpose, just not thinking. Maybe if I had had your courage, I could have changed that. Of course, if I had, I might not have chosen the career path that I have now! Dulcinea – what a beautiful name! The neighbor's dog was a beagle, believe it or not. Bred for hunting, it had too much energy for their house (because god forbid they actually walk it or play fetch) so it was thrown into the backyard when it was no longer a cute little puppy. 😦

  6. >What a story. I'm impressed that even in your rage and despair, logic overrode your other emotions. How horrible that you lost a cat like that. I'm also impressed you let your grandfather know in no uncertain terms how you felt and he listened. Thanks for sharing this memory.

  7. >What a traumatic experience…and it seems your logic was beyond your years! I find myself wanting a pet and yet not wanting one…I get so attached and it is so painful to lose them. One of my favorite pets…EVER…was accidentally run over by my husband…it was sooooo traumatic and left us both so very sad.

  8. >What a heart-wrenching story. I'm so sorry that happened to your poor kitty. But you are a strong person for not letting your emotions hurt another creature that is really innocent.

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