Thursday, July 29, 2004

Humane Critters

A heart-warming picture

This photo and several companion photos arrived by email yesterday. So, it has probably been widely circulated on the Internet and may not be news to you. I am a softie; these kinds of images and stories touch me.

The story is simple. A family found a fawn, apparently abandoned, underneath their steps. They took it in and have been attempting to nurture and nourish it back to health. As you can plainly see, the dog is doing its part, and progress is being made

When I juxtapose this against an account I just read on Grumpy Old Man today, I shake my head. Don’t worry, it turns out well for the dog, so don’t be hesitant to read it. Very briefly, what happened was that the dog’s family moved and left him (or her) behind. One of the owners would come by every so often and leave it some food, but it was clearly malnourished, wallowing in filth, and starved for attention when it was rescued. That’s the short version; read the whole story here and the follow-up here.

How those of us, supposedly made in God’s image, can be less humane, less caring, less nurturing than a mutt is beyond my ken. I know that nature can also be raw of tooth and claw: that has to do with survival and the necessity of filling the belly — kill or die. Meanwhile, stories of animal acts of kindness abound. In fact, just as I was writing this, Sue called me in to watch a snippet on TV: about a spaniel who was helping to take care of an abandoned family of baby rabbits. Heart-warming stuff.

Barbara Kingsolver opens Small Wonders with an account of young child who wandered away from home in the mountains of Iran. Days later, they found the child in a cave, snuggled up to a mother bear who was sharing its milk with this young, needy, human creature. We don’t know if this is a parable or a true story, but I guess you know what I choose to believe.

Here’s how Kingsolver concludes the chapter.

Bears and wolves are our fairy-tale arch-enemies, and in these tales we teach our children only, and always, to kill them, rather than to tiptoe past and let them sleep. Maybe that’s why I’m comforted by the image of a small child curled in the embrace of a mother bear. We need new bear and wolf tales for our times, since so many of our old ones seem to be doing us no good. Now we’re finding that it takes our every effort of will and imagination to pull back, to stop in our tracks as hunter and hunted, to halt our habit of killing, before every kind of life we know arrives at the brink of extinction.

Some days you have to work hard to save the bear. Some days the bear will save you.

1 comment:

kadishko said...

Hello you ,
I discovered some time ago this blogging stuff.I was looking for a flower and Google search gave me your blog .I like your opinions , i totally agree with them. Since i was little i loved all the animals.I studied 4 years of medicine in my home country.Now that i am in New Zealand , i am thinking of a career change.I want to be a vet.Just to give back something to the animals that gave us so much , unconditionally.