Thursday, February 02, 2012

Into the Gray

Our actions have consequences. regardless of our intentions.

I couldn't understand that as a kid. A kid can never understand the vagaries of life until experience of such confirms that, indeed, every action we take has both intended and unintended consequences.

Thelma at the door.
Take Thelma for instance.

Thelma was the bright-eyed dog who lived next door. Rambucious to the hilt, she was a loveable maniac who was in that delightful puppy stage where affection slows her down just long enough before she leaps right up to lick your face. Leap, "BLOT" and a huge, wet dog kiss on your face before you can blink.
Of course, I fell instantly in love with her as she frequently was at our door, having broken free of every possible constraint.  For instance, when the fence was extended higher because she could bound right over it, Thelma figured out that she could leap up on it, hold her balance long enough as she bent down the fence, then bound to freedom.

Our neighbors never seemed like they even liked the animals (Thelma had a companion, Louise. Yes, that's right.) nor could they care for them; let alone deal with Thelma's running about.

We chased Thelma about. I petted her and loved her when she showed up at our house. I tried to encourage her to come to me, so that I could always return her safely.

Then neighbors grew tired of the dog wandering about freely. Neighbors grumble, neighbors have a low threshold, neighbors get itchy fingers.

Somebody called animal control. People reported animal abuse. The dogs did seem to be very thin and ravenously hungry. Of course, I fed them everything I could: dog food, bisquits and leftovers. I was not about to let dogs starve that lived right next door!

Then the police came to their door. The dogs vanished shortly after that. I was majorly bummed. My little pal was gone. I had bonded.
It took a while to catch my neighbor and broach the subject. I asked where the dogs had gone.

She told me that they had given the dogs away to a family on a farm. Gee, me thought, does the farm fairy tale really work on middle-aged men?

I can't pretend to understand my neighbor's ways nor their attitudes sometimes. They probably are mystified by us as well, but we would never take on the responsability of a dog (or two) without careful thought of the ramifications. I cannot image them ever reflecting on their lives, let alone their pets.

Thelma escaped because no one cared for her, so why was she ultimately the one punished for seeking out her basic needs?

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