Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Reposted Blog Entry - Saving Jean-Luc

I was debating reposting a blog entry that I had written for The Chicken Diaries from last Spring, about how Jean-Luc came to be ours. Then something happened yesterday that convinced me there were issues in the entry that were worth bringing up again. Since Saving Jean-Luc is already so long, I'll write about what helped me make up my mind tomorrow. For now, here's Jean-Luc....

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Saving Jean-Luc

It has been a long time since I have updated this blog, I know. I'm not really sure why, but I do know that once time starts to go by and blog-worthy incidents build up in life, it becomes difficult to know where to start.

Tonight something happened that I immediately realized is the perfect place to start. Marc and I had gone for a walk down the lane, and as we returned we heard plaintive mewing coming from the baler in front of the house. A week ago, I had found a young cat dead at the end of the lane. I assumed that she had been hit by a car. I was sad, and because I suspected that she had been dropped off by someone who didn't want her anymore, I was angry. I moved her to the side of the lane. She was lovely, silky black with a sweet young face.

Later that day, Marc saw a young grey kitten at the end of the lane near where I had place the young female. The kitten was so frightened, he actually jumped into the water in the ditch and got away. Tonight that little grey kitten had hidden himself away in the baler. Mini and Toby, the dogs, had spent much of the day digging up the wet ground underneath the baler trying to get at the kitten. We saw the results of the digging, but we thought they may have been trying to catch a chipmunk or something like that. Then we heard the kitten crying.

We slipped into rubber boots, and filled a bowl with cat food. It took less than a minute for me to lure the poor little guy out to eat. He was very thin, but otherwise in good condition. We brought him in and he ate desperately for several minutes. Now, as Marc watches a documentary on snipers and I type this, the kitten is crawling all over us on the couch, a bright, curious, purring grey baby.

We decided that, tentatively, we are going to call him Jean-Luc, for Jean-Luc Picard, the captain the the Enterprise in Star Trek, The Next Generation television show. After watching the little guy stand up to Mini and Toby when we introduced them, given the fact that they had most likely terrorizing him all afternoon, I'm thinking that he is going to live up to his name.

It is a cruel and brutal thing, to leave animals alone and uncared for in the country when they are no longer wanted. The idea that they will simply hunt and take care of themselves is false. Left at the side of the road, the animals are often killed by passing cars. What is worse, they are also often wounded by cars and left to suffer and die slowly because there is no one to care for them. They are unfamiliar with the danger of traffic, not to mention wild animals,farm yard dogs, hunger and disease. Dropping off mothers with babies is especially cruel. Cats and dogs are not wild animals. Their young aren't able to keep safely hidden while their mothers hunt for food. If anything happens to the mother, as in JL's case, the young are left helpless, unable to find food, and vulnerable to weather, wild animals and disease. I had placed some food in a bowl at the end of the lane near JL's mother in hopes that he would come back to his mother's body, and so he was able to have a bit of food. It wasn't enough, though. He wandered in the ditch and fields for a week, hungry, alone and frightened. The very thought of this makes me sad. And angry.

Owning animals is a responsibility that needs to be taken seriously. It's not rocket science. If we don't already know what our new pet will need from us before we get them, the internet provides endless sources of information. When circumstances dictate that we can no longer look after our animals, we need to seek out options that do not leave our pets in danger. What we should never do is just dump them like trash on the side of the road, thinking that someone else will take care of them. It is rare that discarded animals find caring homes, and even if they do, they suffer terribly before they are rescued.

At this moment, little JL is curled upon Marc's chest, purring as he slowly falls asleep. Tonight he is safe.

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