A couple of months ago, Agnes, our Collie, got hold of a cute little mole (yes, the ones that dig unsightly holes in the garden) and “played” mercilessly with it until I went outside yelling at everyone in a definite “Mum. Is. Furious.” manner and called a halt to the whole thing.
Which was easy, because Aggie rather unceremoniously dumped the poor little thing at my feet.
It was wet and very stressed out, understandably. But its amazing little shovel claws were still digging away with astounding strength into my gloves. I set it on the other side of the fence, away from meddling critters, and watched it paw away into the ground for a minute before I left it be. Will stood out there longer watching, but I was already worrying about internal injuries and felt it best for my mental health to just leave and let it do its thing.
We didn’t see it again, just evidence of a little pile of fluffed-up dirt the next day, so I’m hopeful.
I’m a bit weird this way. I’m not very good at all with size disparity when it comes to different uses of relative strength. Like I really don’t think a mouse should mess with an elephant. Or the other way around. Totally not fair.
But I suppose I should just expect such things. We are outside of Eden, after all, and even the most jolly, lovely dogs are, after all, dogs, and designed in this fallen world to catch and eat things.
Red in tooth and claw.
This country is full of lions and tigers and bears, oh my. Well, bears maybe. Fortunately not around here though. At least I don’t have to worry about this situation, which happens to several of my fellow chicken owners friends on a not infrequent basis. I’m not sure how one deals with this. It’s not like you can yell at it to leave.
So how do I deal with this sort of thing in my Brave New World?
Well. I don’t always deal very well. I used to get miserably upset over every chicken taken or killed by a hawk, owl, mink or any number of other predators living around here. I became a pretty good crime scene investigator, figuring out what predator had done the dirty deed. Minks for example always take the head. Here’s a wonderful article on how to find your predator, including a great chart:
After a while, I started to believe that despite all my worrying, I was simply in a world where coyotes and bobcats exist, and that if I was putting measures in place to prevent onslaughts by them, then maybe I just needed to rest in my limited abilities.
After all, everyone is trying to feed their families. I’d rather they didn’t give their kids my chicken “nuggets”, but as a mum, I do understand.
We had two diligent but murdering mothers this spring. A fox, with kits in the den, was shoplifting a duck every fifth day for about 4 weeks. It started with some nice fat Pekin ducks, which you know, I can also understand. You have to order those 24 hours ahead in a Chinese Restaurant after all. And even I walk around thinking they look juicy:
Now foxes are impossible to catch, unless you spend your entire life hunting them. We even got a nuisance license from the Department of Natural Resources, to shoot, harass or trap it. Which didn’t happen. I even saw the darn thing climb over the fence, dead duck in tow, one day.
And then it stopped. The kits had left the nest. Mum didn’t have to venture as far afield to feed herself.
And then there’s the story of poor Claire-duck. Jamie’s love of his life. I found her perished next to a pile of eggs she’d been sitting on. Will strung up a trail camera and there was a raccoon a few nights later, scooping up eggs with its opposable thumbs and scurrying away to feed the babies. Evidently Claire and Mrs. Raccoon had got into a tussle protecting both their families, and that was the end of that.
I now have wonderful geese that my friend Sonja gave me. They are my pond Secret Service.
They do an amazing job scaring away everything, including a couple of the kids. I just heard Addie tell her dad they were “heckin’ scary” the other day. They even scare the ducks.
After I had Cerys, I noticed that every news article about a child being hurt just horrified and scared me even more than normal. The hormones of new motherhood seemed to exacerbate such feelings. I could never watch the 10 O’Clock News in the same way I once had. Now everything I saw seemed to apply to me and mine.
The other night I saw this in the chicken coop, when I was shutting them in for the night against the wind and cold.
I stood and howled.
Not like a wolf. Like a woman.
She has her half grown chick under her wing. Still.
It’s good to see the gentle side of Creation now and then.
Sad as it is, moles, and injured chickens, and lambs that won’t make it, and children that are missing, and loved ones who are ill will always be heartbreaking. Perhaps it should be. We all know the world we live in isn’t, well, set quite straight on its axis. We know something’s not right.
So, maybe I shouldn’t get hardened to it. I agree, being a sloppy mess over it is helpful to absolutely no one, but it’s probably ok that I should be feeling that there’s supposed to be a better place. Somewhere that doesn’t pit the mouse against the elephant.
C S Lewis once said:
“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”
Aggie may be a dog, but maybe I shouldn’t feel perfectly restful about her messing with a little mole. Maybe it’s actually NOT supposed to be that way.
Of course, in her current state she’s still not chasing moles. It’s hard to stick your head down a mole hole when you’re wearing a lampshade.