Saturday, October 13, 2012

Accidents happen: Animals forgive

As featured Oct. 6, 2012 on

Popping off the ground, the barbed wire flew up and in an instant her legs were planted in the middle of it.
And the predictable happened.
She stepped forward, her front legs met with the resistance of the wire, then her rear hoof snagged.
Her eyes enlarged her breathing quickened and the next few seconds were like those that come after a firecracker is lit and tossed.
But the funny thing about firecrackers is you can’t run over and check, you just have to wait and see if they’re going to blow — And much the same, the wire puzzle, though potentially disastrous, had to be left up to her.
Panic and terror made her shake, but the mare pushed through, overcoming the barbs that snagged and scratched at the skin on her legs until she gave one final bound and jumped clear, leaving the fence to pop back into its place.
The next hour was spent cleaning her legs and rubbing salve on her thankfully superficial wounds, with repeats every day for a week after.
It hardly seemed a sufficient penance, considering it had been my dumb idea to hold the fence down so she could cross in the first place.
In hindsight, it’s easy to see how accidents happen, but of course that’s hindsight.

• The cat meowed like it does every night — meow to be let out, meow to be let in … after a while, the meows start to blend.
Tired and feeling a little bit of tough love take over, he shut the door and locked up for the night, heading off to call it a day.
The next day, eyes cast downward, he told guiltily of how his wife found the cat that morning, sandwiched between the storm door and the back door of the house — thankfully this time, still meowing.
• She put her son’s hamsters together in a cage and didn’t think a thing of it, certainly not imagining it would end in disaster, much less a childhood trauma.
That is until one of the boys found his brother’s hamster having a victory meal on one side of the cage and few remaining pieces on the other.
• His cat loved to go for walks and responded well to a leash, a perfect solution for an apartment pet.
Her enjoyment of their leisurely strolls led to the next natural step and he upped the pace, happy when she raced to keep up with him.
When she slowed, he tugged the leash, hoping to help her burn off some pent up energy.
Finally, she refused to go any further and plopped to the ground.
Leaning down, he was horrified to see she wasn’t being obstinate as he had thought, but rather the soft flesh on the pads of her paws was raw and bleeding.
In hindsight, it’s easy to see how accidents happen, but of course that’s hindsight. 
Sometimes even the best intentions go awry — the fastest path, a curfew lesson on a warm, starry night, generous accommodations with a bonus pal or a healthy jog through the park — at one time or another, most pet owners experience a good thing-turned disaster.
If only they could talk, they might tell us, “I can’t walk over that!” “Hey! I’m stuck!” “My feet hurt,” or, “Don’t leave me here, he’s mean.”
As luck would have it, however, (not counting the unfortunate hamster) animals seem to know when the intentions are a world apart from the results and are quick to pick up right where they left off with you.
… Even if they do pause to glare at the door, hiss at the leash or snort at barbed wire.

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