Monday, January 14, 2008

Monday is Meat Day

















Well, to be precise, not every Monday is Meat Day, just the second Monday of each month. That's when I drive to the other side of Nashville to rendezvous with Farmer Jenny, who hands me some delectable parts of the cows, pigs, goats and chickens she so lovingly raises. I've been subscribing to a CSA with her for several years now. I haven't spent a day at the farm in a long time, so I didn't know any of today's ex-critters in life, but at least I spent a moment chatting with the woman who saw them into and out of this world. Michael Pollan would be so proud.

On the way home I stopped at the big box pet supply place to buy my dogs their kibble and treats--which are, of course, made with factory farmed meat. (Go ahead, Michael, judge me.) As I stepped out of the car I saw a white mutt standing about 30 feet away, surveying the parking lot with that mixture of confidence and wariness that is the hallmark of long-term strays. I called him just to test, and sure enough he acknowledged me but kept his distance. Dogs that are lost or dumped will either come right to you or run away in a panic. This guy was clearly hardcore homeless.

I went in the store and got a couple of extra packages of jerky treats for Mr. Stray. I argued with myself as I always do in these situations. Should I try to take him home? I already have three rescues and feel slightly overwhelmed. It wouldn't really be fair to the current pack to bring in yet another foundling. Should I ask the people in the store to call animal control to pick him up? He seemed like a nice enough dog, but not exactly highly adoptable. He'd just spend a few days in a cage and be euthanized. He was thin, but looked like he was doing okay on his own. At least he was smart enough to cruise the doggy supermarket.

I know what some of you are thinking. Yes, it's true, I am the one who's always saying you shouldn't feed feral cats, that feeding them without taking some responsibility for them just encourages overpopulation, rapacious songbird slaughter, etc. A dog in an urban environment, however, has a much harder time supporting himself than the cats in my rural community. And in any case, we have already established above that I am a hypocrite. Back to the story...

I wasn't surprised that the mutt wouldn't come to me to take the food. I pitched the treats about 10 feet away, and he ate them calmly. Clearly, I was not the first soft touch he'd met. I ran some more errands at the shopping center and was relieved not to see him when I returned to the parking lot. Then I saw her. Black and tan mutt, a little smaller than the boy dog, sitting almost exactly where he had been standing when I first saw him. Great. They were tag teaming me.

I went through the same drill with throwing her some treats, but before she could take any, here came the ungallant Mr. S and he gobbled them right up. He let her have just one. It was cold out there and I needed to get home, but hey, we bitches have to stick together. No way I could leave without making sure she got some food. I was out of treats, so I went back in the pet store, and by the time I came out the dogs had wandered over to a little grassy area and were lying side by side, a dysfunctional yet loving couple. I made two piles of food, one far enough away from the other that the male couldn't guard both, but he had gorged himself sufficiently. When I left them he was quietly watching her eat.

Then I got back in my car full of meat and drove away.

Image from Wikimedia Commons.

5 comments:

Bozo said...

I love reading these essays.

Renee said...

Me, too.
It's so hard to walk away! I handled another cat from the Last Chance Animal Rescue a couple of weeks ago and she's been haunting my dreams to the extent that I called to check on her days later. SO tempted to take her home. Junie would have had a fit...

BitterGrace said...

Thanks, guys. *virtual curtsy*

It is hard to walk away--there are so many that have haunted me for years after an encounter. I didn't feel that bad about these two, mostly because they were so clearly a team. But it makes me sad, no question.

chayaruchama said...

Very sad.

Anonymous said...

Love the essay, sad about those dogs...Can't get my head around the concept of someone killing the animals they lovingly raised...I also don't understand why we have a need to raise sertain animals to feed them to other animals, that really makes me SAD...
Veronica