Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Karma, Dogma & Things We Don't Plan For

            It’s one thing to plan a garden…plan a layout…craft a cookbook…
            It’s quite another just to live your life, complete with the unknowns (which I have to say, I don’t leave a lot of space for…though you’d think by now, I would).
            I had enough wiggle room in my day to spot check things I was to plant …even adding a little side joke to show Thurman I was keeping my wits about me.
            Then, out of the blue…a strange dog wanders into my yard. She’s a coon hound of some sort…not a breed I’m familiar with. But she was clearly in search of respite. I’m told these dogs can roam for days, and I’m fairly certain she had been roaming for at least 3 or 4, as some strange activities happened last Friday that otherwise would’ve been best happening only if folks like me had been forewarned, which is to say “Country folk don’t hunt on strangers land at midnight without ticking off the neighborhood, triggering alarms and/or prompting folks to greet you with a gun.”
            My neighbors were the first on the scene. After all, 3 coon dogs howling, having treed a squirrel, a possum or whatever…that’s annoying enough when your dog breed of choice is a Pyrenees, whose sole job is to protect goats from such varmints. But add the howling of three strange coon hounds barking incessantly and you've got a ruckus on your hands for sure.
            It was a disturbing night all the way around not only for the dog sounds, but seeing truck headlights come down your drive at midnight does NOT a warm welcome make (unless you’ve called first and I'm expecting you). As for this man and his renegade hunting buddies, they must’ve recognized that some houses have alarms (and most neighbors have Smith & Wessons), for they backed off (wise move) …way off when lights everywhere started going on.
            I never heard from the dogs or the dudes again. (Again, as a matter of Southern protocol…driving down a drive you don’t know at midnight will get you arrested, if not killed…Not great judgment on behalf of the person I’m about to introduce you to next.)
            By Tuesday (a full 4 days after said event that still had my street on neighborhood watch steroids) …a lean, lanky scruffed up coon hound of a dog wanders onto my land.
            Being the dog-lovin’ fool I am, what can I do but take her in? I remove her collar from her bleeding neck. And I feed her the same meat scraps and Pedigree combo I feed my own, after which, she’s pretty much never gonna leave (I suspect, hoping to make this her new home).
            And if it were a matter of love alone, I would’ve adopted the dog my Facebook friends named “Karma”... After all, what are the karmic odds, this rib-showin', stressed out, collar-choked dog would wind up at My place of all places…just about the time I’m cooking up bones and handing out Goodwill toys for my own pups. I mean, seriously. I’m pretty certain hunting dogs seldom experience this kind of hospitality.
            “Karma”  sweet dog…is a very thin dog.  A pic or two posted on Facebook and I’m encouraged to forget her owner. This dog looks abused. Then again, last I’d heard a coon dog in my yard, was 4 days ago. I suspect her owner found the others, and left behind the one. That this one left behind had ribs showing …well, it made for a ton of Facebook speculation…(But what do I know about hunting dogs?)
            By the end of the day, prompted only by what I’d want someone else to do were it MY dog that got away, I fed the dog; hugged the dog; treated the dog’s hot spots; removed the dog’s collar (with no name plate, btw…no chip either). In short, I did for this dog anything and everything I’d want done for my own were the situation in reverse, after all, these things happen. All I knew to do was to love this dog, and post a few notices so that whoever she belonged to, would know she was in good keeping.
            But for all the love, I couldn’t put Karma in the pen with my others…For dogs that hunt small prey are not to be trusted with small goats. Furthermore, as feisty as Karma was, I feared for her own demise if tossed in with a protective Pyr the likes of TJ.
            So I left Karma outside…minus her collar…and aware of the situation. If Karma left, Karma left. Not to be a bad dog person, but I had several of my own to protect. (Turns out, if you want a hunting dog to stick around, just feed it and give it a toy. Karma never looked more peaceful than when I went to check on her before going to bed.)
            By morning, I looked out and saw Karma…nestled in a big ol bale of goat hay. She’d bedded down for the night with her eye ever watchful on the front door. She tried to convince first Rosey, the TJ, then Minsky (bad move) that she was my new # 1 dog. No one was buying it. Instead, they tolerated Karma. They didn’t mind that Karma got fed. But they were not buying for one second that Karma had come to replace them, and in truth, she had not. I just needed to find Karma’s more karmic path (if you know what I mean).
            A few Facebook posts and “Lost and Found” ads later, and I soon heard from Karma’s owner. (At least I think he was her owner…Ironically, he showed up in a truck marked “Animal Control” license tags for which I did document.) Bottom line (according to him) “Karma” was a new purchase…A full blooded …some-sort of hound with papers. He’d just bought her (i.e. paid good money) only to find her even more emaciated that when I spotted her yesterday (a status I find hard to fathom).
            But as I end this day all I can say is “Karma” is a very real thing. Best to play it safe. Invest in it. Assume it real. When it comes to innocent lives like hers, I know no other way.         
             I can only pray the nice man who came to fetch his dog (thus relieving the stress factor for all of mine) was who he said he was. I know folks who train hunting dogs are a far cry different from those of us who allow guard dogs to simply live their truth. All I can say is, at the end of the day, I’m trusting Karma reigns supreme…and that the best intentions net me points in the bank for when I might need Karma points of my own someday, should such a fate befall one of mine.

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