There have been many words spoken and written regarding the killing of a “famous” lion in Africa. Even though I am opposed to the senseless killing of animals for trophy or for sport, this will not be the emphasis of this post. There has been quite enough said. I would like, rather for you to take a step beyond this senseless killing, and look at the responsibility we have for the quality of lives for all animals, especially those we have domesticated and personally chosen to “own.”
Please bear with me as I “toot our horn.” Regina and I do not claim to be the best animal owners in the world, but we do strive to provide a safe and comfortable environment for those animals for whom we have accepted responsibility.
We chose Polly from a rescue organization at a home show in Dallas. She had been abandoned in an apartment in the middle of the summer, with no food or water. She turned out to be crazy as a loon, but lovable as any dog we have ever owned. As her health began to fail in later life, Regina would take her to Starbucks for a frappuccino. Polly would devour her small portion with great enthusiasm. It was just the right thing to do.
This cat developed multiple health problems. At one point she had to have dental work done, which resulted in a broken jaw. While her jaw was wired together, she had to be fed with a syringe for many weeks. Because of the toll on her system, she also had to be given sub-q fluids three times every day. She survived for several years after that.
This was my horse when we went to shows. She was one of the sweetest horses we have ever owned. She and I spent a lot of time together. She foundered one spring and never recovered. She had to be sequestered, and given injections twice a day. It didn’t work. Finally, and much too late, we had to put her down. I wept like a baby over her body. To this day I regret that I waited so long to make the decision. She suffered too long. Lesson learned.
This beautiful German Shepherd showed up at our place, along with a funny little mut we named Buddy. Unfortunately, Sam came with heart worms. That meant he had to be treated in order to kill the worms, and then had to be kept in a cage and walked on a leash outside for many weeks. The danger of heart worms, after they have been killed, is that they must be absorbed into the blood stream so they will not enter the lungs and suffocate the dog. Any strenuous exercise could kill him instantly. I hated keeping him from being the dog he was, but his life was in our hands. We didn’t choose him, he chose us.
Zelda is a chicken. Yes, I said chicken. All of our chickens have names chosen from an inexhaustible list of queens. Collectively, they are referred to as the Gypsy Queens. Zelda is one of our original three chickens. Originally these ladies lived in a pre-fab storage house, that eventually had a covered yard and a larger uncovered yard. When our chicken population grew, we found it necessary to convert a green house into a chicken house, and provide a larger, covered yard.
Zelda has recently developed a problem with her vision, and has become a victim to the other, more aggressive chickens. Yes, there is truth in the term “pecking order,” and you don’t want to be at the bottom of that order. So, the old chicken house needed to be repaired in order to house Zelda and a friend of hers, Natasha. The refurbished house is now called the Gypsy Queen Retirement Home. The repairs entailed adding new chicken wire in certain areas, building a ramp to facilitate moving from yard to house, and cutting the legs off the old roost for easier access. You just do what you need to do.
I could go on and on with stories of necessary efforts on our part to provide an adequate quality of life for those animals for whom we have taken responsibility. With almost 40 domesticated animals in our care, not to mention the wild geese and ducks that are fed daily, we are well aware of the enormity of our responsibility. In most instances, when a condition presents itself, Regina first turns to herbal and homeopathic treatments. Sometimes the problem is more than those treatments can handle, so we progress to veterinarian remedies. But we usually stop short of what we call “heroic treatments.”
Our responsibility not only involves the provision of care, but also the decision of when to end a life of suffering. That is never an easy decision. In most cases, the animal will let us know when it is time. In the end, we just try to do what is right. Senseless killing is not even in our vocabulary. Please join us in saving the animals.