Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Funny how the Universe works!

Sometimes, (actually for me it's a lot more frequent than sometimes) I wonder what would I do if...  And, one of these "ifs" is if I find a stray dog on my way to work. Do I stop and try to get him to come to me and corral him in my car? Do I just watch and see where he might have come from or is going as I've done in the past? Do I stop, hop out and divert traffic? Some of this also rides on whether it's on a highway or in a residential area. Is he hurt and do I now take him to an emergency vet and then call work to say I'll be delayed? 

Well, this morning this wondering kind of got a response. As I turned onto the main road out of our hamlet and was making my way up the hill and curve, there in front of me was a large work truck in the oncoming lane stopped dead and a beautiful Bloodhound I've come to know by sight on the property, and his little black and brown companion, greeting that driver and each car and its occupants as it joined the line by barking and jumping up. These guys would've gotten hurt or killed for sure, especially since the little guy had a walking leash on, and you can't really see them until it's too late around the curve.         
Photo courtesy Not the dog from this story.

The Universe came into play in that I had called the town's dog wardens regarding this Bloodhound the week prior because he had been tethered to a big shade tree in a two-day torrential rain without shelter. He told me to contact the sheriff because it sounded like neglect bordering on abuse. I now have a great contact with a nice deputy who investigated the situation and straightened things out. We know the owner is a young, nice guy who loves his dogs, but my perspective of this type of behavior that I've had to get used to is a passed down generational thing that is accepted among country folk - dogs are outside animals. I just wanted him to know that people are watching and that there are Ag and Mkts laws that were created because of, and to prevent, neglect and abuse, and tethered dogs require adequate shelter. I also wanted to meet him in some capacity so I could offer some education and assistance should he be willing to accept it, without stepping over boundaries.

Well, here it was! That opportunity presented itself when I woke him up by honking when I pulled in and up the long driveway, calling the dogs off the road from his driveway (the Bloodhound looked like Marmaduke coming at a full gallop), and loudly calling to see if anyone was home and awake. He came out and I told him they were in the road and almost got hit twice (they were actually having a real ball!) and that the big guy looked like he broke his cable, and handed him the lead of the little guy (I still don't understand where he came from with a leash). We talked briefly and then introduced ourselves. He is a nice guy and I hope to go back and talk with him again since these furry fun makers were wet, gritty, dirty and very stinky. I didn't notice whether they were neutered and it wasn't the time to ask questions about shots. We'll leave that for another day. 

So, I left and went on my way to work a little dirtier and stinkier than when I left my house, and now I had an additional aroma reminiscent of skunk...oh yeah, I'll be visiting again :)

I smiled, though, as I drove away because I was happy with the answer I received to my wondering and content knowing that those two were safe. I still get whiffs of skunk and my own big boy loved all the smells I brought home on me and my car.

Follow-up to Distressing Ride to Work

For the next couple of weeks I continued to travel over the reservoir due to a roadwork detour. The Thursday following the incident, way off to the calmer side in the water, I could see a goose in the morning mist. I think she was sleeping as her head was resting on her back. She was the only goose out there. I saw this same sight for the next few mornings and evenings, never caught sight of her sleeping again, but she was always alone. Could it be her waiting for her mate to return? I believe that all animals go through their own type of mourning ritual prior to moving on, and the cycle of life continues...

Monday, August 8, 2011

Distressing ride to work this morning...

I live in the Hilltowns of Albany County, New York, and feel privileged to partake in nature's wonderful array of wildlife, foliage, lakes and streams, and reservoirs. It was while crossing over one such beautiful reservoir that I encountered something I've never seen before.

canadian goose

I have been seeing Canadian geese roam about this causeway for the past several weeks, and I know it's dangerous because it is only a two-lane road. I usually fear for the folks fishing off the sides or walking along the narrow shoulder. I've seen the gander of one pair strutting, protecting his mate while she pecked at the grass. I noticed in days past that some drivers would stop and let them cross, or at least slow down anticipating their moves, and some pick-up drivers come very close to them as if to say, "if you get in my way, I'm gonna hit ya."

Well, this morning, the inevitable happened. Unless told by that someone, I'll never know what really happened, but the beautiful gander had been hit and sent rolling into and under the guardrail. I am not sure how long ago this had happened, but I think it was right before I got there because his mate was flurrying down the causeway, running and zigzagging back and forth, hooting and squawking like any wife would do that had just seen her husband killed. I felt so sorry for her that I'm crying now while I'm writing this remembering her hysteria. It was like something out of a children's story book - like Chicken Little when the sky was falling. I've never seen anything like it. I know that they are monogamous, but this went further than some fact about geese; it reached into emotion and my heart and soul.

My mind has a problem with death, as if it can't fathom it or wrap itself around it. It's always been that way for me. Things like this stay with me for a while and really bother me. Was it still dark and somebody just didn't see him as they came upon them, or did someone deliberately hit him without thought or remorse?

How long did that poor goose carry on, and did she keep going back to her dead mate? Did she prod him? How long until she quieted down - if she did? Do they have eggs or goslings to care for? Do they find new mates eventually? Do they commit suicide or spend the rest of their lives alone? I cried on the way to my pet sit prior to my full-time job, and hugged the cats when I got there.