Friday, February 3, 2012

A Sad Interlude

Friday afternoon  Marja called me and told me to come home right away.  Sigrid was outside the fence and the dogs were after her.  When I pulled into the yard, Marja was waiting on the path with a sad message, “Sigrid is dead.”
 My emotions were shock, grief and anger.  When I saw Kalevi feeding on the dead sheep I lashed out with adrenalin-charged rage.  Hearing Kalevi yelp, our other male dog, Savu, ran over and was immediately attacked by Kalevi.  When I began dragging Kalevi away by his hind legs, Savu kept attacking him.  I hollered and kicked and tried to break it up, but  it seemed like nothing I did had any effect on either one.  They simply wanted to kill each other.

Finally, after the dogs had bloodied themselves up and I had run out of anger, everyone began cooling down.

The day before Gunnar had butted this door and bent the flange somewhat which I had to bend back with a crowbar.  I was planning on putting a wooden crossbar to secure the door, but I didn’t think he would actually bend the dead bolt like he did.  I suspect once he opened the door he may have seen the dogs and stayed back.  The shed and the fence are within the dogs’ radio fence shock zone, so they keep their distance.  Unfortunately, Sigrid, our smaller ewe, decided that this was the day to explore outside the fence.
Marja got to the scene right before the dogs attacked.  She had gotten ahold of Kalevi’s collar, but he broke free.  All three dogs of our huskies attacked the sheep at once and there was nothing that Marja could do.  I feel badly that she had to see it, for it was due to my carelessness.  I should have secured that door better

Most of the blood you see is Kalevi's own.  Savu chewed up his face fairly well as I was dragging him away.  White dogs always look awful after a dogfight.  I know, because I've had six white huskies over the years.

I could have cheerfully shot all of my dogs at the moment I first saw this.  Anger is a powerful emotion, but we need to master it.   Blind rage can do terrible things, our ability to reason is severely hindered. My dogs were just obeying their basic predatory instincts.  I really cared for this sheep.  I was hoping that she would have a lamb in April, but my pets killed her.  Does that make them evil?  No, but it reminds us that animals are animals and we cannot expect them to behave contrary to their nature.  From what I have read, sheep are fascinated by open gates.  Dogs are fascinated by running sheep.  I need to keep my gates closed.

There is a deeper lesson to be drawn however.  We are all imperfect fallible human beings.  We do stupid things, we make dumb mistakes just like sheep.  We cannot undo the past, but we need to forgive ourselves, as we have been forgiven through Christ,  and go on.  We have a perverse habit of beating ourselves with our failures and reliving our mistakes with thoughts such as "If only I had done this, or hadn't done that.  Then this wouldn't have happened."  Has it ever occurred to you that it is just possible that God is greater than your mistakes?  Learn from it, put it behind you, and get on with your life. 

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