I’ve never shot an animal, at least not in this life and not that I know of. For that matter I’ve only ever shot a gun once, and I quickly realized I wasn’t fond of it anyway. So basically, I have no experience when it comes to guns nor what it really takes to shoot to kill an animal.
Artist: Andrew Gable
Winter is here and hunting season is upon us, and though I understand that many hunt in order to feed their families, it’s still difficult for me to comprehend what it would be like to be the animal who is sacrificed for food. Many who hunt say there is a ‘humane’ way to hunt so that when they shoot they aim to kill so as to not create suffering for the animal, and I do get that, at this point, our physical body requires some form of protein. I’m not a vegetarian so it’s not that I’m against eating meat.
Still, it would have to be an extreme emergency situation before I would actually shoot at and/or shoot to kill an animal. I’m not trying to imply that I am in some way a better person than those who are able to easily pick up that gun and shoot, it’s just that the ‘idea’ of taking another’s life kind of scares the hell out of me because, I mean, that’s quite a point of responsibility to take on. Taking responsibility for being the reason for another living being whose taking their last breath here on earth seems relevant, if only we were inclined to consider the consequences of our actions.
I can’t help but want to ask those who shoot and/or kill animals for sport, or spite, to put themselves in the footsteps of the animals they’re hunting, to consider what it would be like to be the hunted. It’s really odd, how easily it is for us to accept and allow the killing of others – whether it be the animal or the human and whether the killing be by way of war or starvation or simply because it’s ‘hunting season’. It’s often easy to accept the death of a stray animal, or even the death of someone we don’t personally know, especially considering how we as the human are terrified of dying.
Could it be that it’s our obsessive fear of our own death that causes us to so casually accept and allow and even believe that we have the right to decide and/or take life from another living being?
So, as I look closer at this point, I see my own fear of death, and today, I’m very aware of the movement/reaction deep in my solar plexus. This particular emotional energy was stirring within me with regards to the disappearance of our dog Remmy.
We’ve had Remmy since the moment he was born, just over 5 years ago, and when he was less than a year old, he and two of our other dogs came down with the Parvovirus. The Parvovirus is a particularly deadly disease among young puppies and about 80% fatal. It causes gastrointestinal tract damage and dehydration and can cause cardiac syndrome in very young pups.
My partner spent an entire week that particular year forcing a homemade hydrating fluid 3 times a day into the throats of Remmy, his brother Kelley and their buddy Veno. Remmy was the only one of the three that survived. Remmy was right by my partners side as he buried both of them here on our land. I specifically remember the evening he buried Veno. Pouring rain, lightening and thunder filled the sky and I watched in tears as my partner stood in the rain and dug a hole big enough to bury a 125 pound dog.
Remmy was the one who guarded our little miniature pinscher the day she was outside alone and bled to death from a hawk who attacked her and severed an artery in her neck. Remmy was there when our dog Buddha got hit by a car speeding down our isolated country road, and he was the one who nestled close to our dog Baby – an adopted stray we came to adore – whose pelvis was crushed when she was backed over by our own car, because we didn’t know that she had fallen asleep under it, and didn’t wake up to move when we were backing out of the driveway…
Remmy survived one cold winter when he was 2 years old and attacked by 2 other dogs and Remmy was the one who came home alone without his mother after the two of them had taken off on one of their many adventures together.
Remmy is the daddy to 3 of the 4 other male dogs we now have, and it’s not unusual for all of them to go off running and be gone for a couple of days, however, this time the boys came home alone, Remmy wasn’t with them. So, here it was just days before the holiday we call Thanksgiving and all I could think of is it’s been 12 days and no sign of Remmy. Remmy and the boys are our outside dogs and that’s the way they like it, and God did I miss seeing his face with those beautiful brown eyes of his.
So, Thanksgiving day this year, in our part of the world, felt like the first day of spring and my partner and I were outside enjoying some fresh air when Remmy appears at the gate to the back yard. My partner was first to see Remmy and he came and said to me; Remmy is home but by the looks of him, he should be dead. When I saw Remmy later and looked in his eyes he looked like he was still in shock and it was difficult to comprehend how the little guy had managed to make it home.
My partner said his wound is very horrific and began to get together the necessary things to try and assist him. He said he could literally put his fist into the wound and touch his rib cage and so we knew that Remmy might not make it. It was a holiday and very few Veteranian clinics are open, so my partner was able to stabilize Remmy’s wound and first thing the next morning we called and took Remmy to the Doctor knowing full well that the jagged wound might not be able to be mended…
The Doc said he was pretty sure he could stitch up the wound and so he did and we were able to bring Remmy home later that evening and maybe, just maybe, Remmy would be alright. We made Remmy a bed inside while he heals and slowly the traumatized look in his eyes is going away.
Yes, Remmy is a survivor, but what in the world happened to him? At first glance it looked like his injury was caused from another animal but the Doc said that wasn’t so. He said maybe he had been hit by a car or stuck in a fence or hit by some kind of farm equipment, but the jagged tears in his flesh/skin was still a mystery.
Days passed before my partner noticed a small hole in Remmy just inches from the massive tear and then we knew… Remmy had been shot. The bullet went in and then exploded, tearing and shattering the surrounding tissue. Realizing what Remmy has been through is when I began to experience an energy of anger within me and I remembered something my neighbor said to us some 2 years ago. He said, keep your dog off my property or I’m gonna roll ’em – meaning, he’s going to shoot him. Trying to keep Remmy in the yard is difficult to say the least, because Remmy is an expert escape artist and, who can blame him, he loves to be able to run and play.
So for now, we are grateful that Remmy is healing very well. He still has another week before his 30 or so stitches can be removed and I see several points of fear within me to forgive and walk through as Remmy continues to teach us to let fear go and enjoy life.
And this brings me back to the question: Who are we: The hunted? The hunter? Or both? I can see how I’ve been both. Maybe not literally but I’ve hunted for ways in my mind to ‘get even’ with someone for something I perceived as an unfair act done against me. I’ve stood by quietly and watched as the Government of my Country, the United States, chooses war over Life – for profit – and so that makes me the hunter as well.
I have to ask myself…What if a solution existed that will stop the crimes of and against humanity and the animal kingdom? What if a whole new way of being is possible? What if Remmy and all who have suffered in the game of survival could be assured that life will be simpler, safer and supporting? If only…
Consider the solution that’ll be the new beginning for us All…
Investigate and Support Living Income Guaranteed