Monday, February 23, 2009

Fostering a Love of Animals

I flew out of my house, into the snow, waving a long piece of beef jerky.

“Crisis averted,” I heard my neighbor call from my driveway.

“Thank goodness!” I replied. “If there was a list of people most likely to save a dog in this town, I would be on the bottom of the list.”

We laughed. She isn’t a ‘dog person’ either.

I did. I tried to chase a dog this morning. Dogs may well be ‘man’s best friend,’ but they aren’t typically my favorite creatures. Oh no, that’s fine if you have one, just don’t bring them into my house.

The truth is that my friends with dogs always ‘put them away’ when I come over. I know, they will politely say it’s because my children are afraid, but everyone knows that I am the problem. I try to fake it for my kids (they think I like yogurt, trail mix, and cauliflower as well – shhh!) There is a golden retriever who comes to the bus stop with her family. I know it’s a golden retriever because my best friend in high school had one. I never had to get very close to her dog because I didn’t have any small children to impress, but I do happen to know that particular breed (and they are very nice dogs, well, for dogs anyway). The other types of dog breeds I know include Large, Medium, and Small. I have gotten close to, and even petted, the dog at the bus stop, just enough to convince my children that Mommy isn’t afraid of dogs (and you shouldn’t be either, see?). I doubt they bought it, but I do try.

George loves animals. I am hoping to foster that love, in spite of my personal dysfunction. We read books about animals constantly. He particularly loves horses. Just yesterday, we were reading “Big Bird’s Day at the Farm” for the first time. He was really enjoying the story and pointing out the animals. He would even pretend to “count” them – one, two, one, A, B. Then we got to the part where Big Bird was talking to the chickens. That’s right, he wasn’t eating the chickens, he was talking to the chickens.

George pointed at the chickens and said “meat.”

Apparently George loves animals in an instinctive, hungry sort of way. But, I digress.

We were all waiting for the bus when a teenager appeared in front of her home across the street with four or five dogs. Somehow, one of the dogs became loose and started running and jumping back and forth across the street. This white, curly-haired, Medium dog could not be seen very well against the snow covered street and traffic was relatively heavy in our neighborhood (especially buses) at that hour.

I fully expected to witness this playful creature’s end. Seeing the teenager across the street with her hands full, and my other neighbor restraining his own dog, that left the other ‘not dog person neighbor’ and myself to go chasing this Medium dog.

I tried to catch the collar, but it just wasn’t working. I chased the small beast several houses down until we were at my own house. Not having much success, I decided to run to the other side and ‘flush’ the animal towards the other neighbor, who might have a hope of catching the dog.

The ‘not dog person’ neighbor then asked if I had any food in the house that would be useful, so I ran in to get a stick of beef jerky. By that time, the teenager had driven over with her car and the dog (apparently a travel-buff) ran and jumped in with her.

For my part, I was pleased to not have to share my beef jerky. Oh, and also glad that the dog was safe with the girl.

When I walked back in my front door, Gladys was there, her own happy curls bobbing towards me. She made off with my beef jerky.

She loves animals too, especially the beef kind.


Badass Geek said...

I love dogs. I was scared of them as a kid, but once I learned how much fun they can be, I have loved them ever since.

My wife is much more of a cat person, but I would much rather have a dog.

Anonymous said...

I love it!!! I never realized how much you did not like Musky!! (And I will share with you that I now share my home with 165 pounds of dog, neatly divided in two furry packages, which I promise to put away, should the need ever arise :) ). Well done on the roundup, and I find the meat comments particularly hilarious - we haven't eaten meat in about 10 years (spent too much time in CA, I guess), so that is funny!!!!

Indy said...

I can't believe you helped chase down this dog. Great story.

MIT Mommy said...

Musky's Mommy - I see you caught me. You always loved animals, and I always thought that was so awesome. But, do you remember me every touching Musky? I am neither surprised that you have 165 lb of dog nor that you are a vegetarian. Fortunately, we forgave each other our differences years ago.

Indy - I know. It was shocking, even to me.

Anonymous said...

It's amazing the brave things one can do when wearing super-hero underpants.

MIT Mommy said...

splodge - Good point. Perhaps we should all consider wearing a pair now and then. =)

Anonymous said...

My kids love animals as meat, too. I made sure they knew from a very young age that what they were eating used to moo, cluck and oink. I know moms who actually TRY not to let their kids know the food used to be alive. This kind of thinking is beyond my comprehension. I didn't want mine getting freaked out and going vegan on me when they found out dinner had been a cute barnyard animal.