Sunday, August 23, 2009

not on my watch

I hadn’t planned on writing about Jimmy’s dogs again, at least not for a while anyway.  

When I got up this morning, a little after 7 AM, and opened the back door to let the cat out and greet the day, I could hear those dogs barking over across the 13 acre field back behind the far row of trees and scrub that mark the property lines around here.  Interspersed with the barking were loud cries of fear and agony, human or animal, I couldn’t tell.  I listened to that for a minute or two, came in and told Husband about it and then jumped into the truck and turned down the county road at the end of our street in the direction of the noise.  I passed Jimmy’s house and all 6 of the puppies were standing at the edge of the property looking down the road, a little agitated.  I passed the three or four houses on the county road til I got to the empty lot that backs up on the Tee Pee Motel on the other side of the 13 acre field from us and I could see those dogs had an animal surrounded in the high grass but I couldn’t tell for sure what it was, a young cow I thought, wondering how a cow had got out in that small field.  

I turned the truck around and headed back, flying through the house to put on some long pants and proper shoes.

“Those dogs have an animal cornered out there.” I told Husband.

When I came back through, dressed, he asked me, “What are you gonna do?”

“I don’t know.  Something.” I replied as I headed out the door to the garage.  I was not going to let those dogs kill that poor animal.

I stuffed my pocket full of firecrackers, grabbed a lighter and took off through the 13 acre field (which is full of poison ivy) to the where the ruckus was but couldn’t see or get through the scrub line.  I finally found a spot where I could get a clearer view through the trees and dead fall (also full of poison ivy) to see the dogs on the other side.  I tossed off one firecracker and then two more in quick succession which sent the dogs running.

I cut back across the field and then through Montreal’s side yard to the county road again, on foot, and down to where I had spotted the animal and dogs in the first place.  When I got closer, I could see that it was a big goat tethered to a tree.  The poor thing had wrapped itself around that tree so tight in it’s fear and attempt to get away from the dogs that it could not move more than a step or two.  It looked like the end of it’s tail had been bitten off and both of it’s back legs were bloodied, one worse than the other, but it didn’t seem to be actively bleeding anywhere.  It was trembling so hard it could barely stand.  I tried to soothe it a bit and unhooked it’s tether from it’s collar so I could unwind it from the tree.  The goat took a few steps and then laid down.  I hooked the tether back onto it’s collar, found it’s empty water dish and stood there debating whether or not I should knock on the door of the house there that I was sure the goat belonged to.  I decided against it as the goat was injured but not in any imminent danger of bleeding to death and it was still very early.  Instead, I walked back to my house, got a jug of water and carried it back to the goat and set it’s water dish where it could easily reach it.  I would come back later and make sure they knew the goat was injured.

Walking back to my house as I neared Jimmy’s place, three of the young adult dogs were now in his yard and when they saw me coming they got up and started barking at me.  Two more fire crackers sent them hauling ass out across the corn field.  As I crossed Montreal’s side yard to get to my place I noticed a small brown bundle lying still in the yard.  I was thinking they must have caught a rabbit but when I got closer, it turned out to be one of the puppies.  It was cold but it didn’t look like it had been dead long.  I wondered if those dogs took out their blood lust on the puppy since I had deprived them of the goat.  No way to tell.  It could have already been there and I just didn’t notice it the other times I had cut across his yard to the road.  But then, there would have had to have been 7 puppies and I only ever saw 6.

By the time I finally got back to the house, it was about 7:40 AM.  Why does this shit always happen before I’ve had any friggin’ coffee?

Husband, sitting there having his, says to me, “Next time you do something like that, take your phone with you so if you are laying there on the ground bleeding, you can call someone for help.”  Thanks dear, I love you too.

“You could’ve come with me.” I said to him.


  1. Ellen, I'd have done the same thing! I can't stand to see an animal in pain or get bullied. I love that you grabbed the firecrackers. Brilliant idea! That owner must be mighty hard on those dogs for them to be so vicious. As my mushing friends tell me, a dog's behavior often reflects the owner's. I'll just never understand mistreatment of any kind. Thank you for protecting that poor frightened goat! You ROCK! Hope you had plenty of coffee post event!

  2. Thanks Kathleen. Jimmy's not hard on those dogs. He just ignores them. Puts out food I guess but makes no attempt to own them or socialize them. Says he can't catch them but I think he just doesn't care.

  3. You are one brave soul! I guess catching them yourself and taking them to a shelter is out of the question. Would Jimmy be upset if they disappeared? Would Jimmy NOTICE? Would Jimmy care? Poor goat. Maybe the owners of the goat can persuade Jimmy to herd his dogs in and put them in a secure know like the kind they have in prison yards. Is your husband in the doghouse (pun intended)?

  4. Well this is sickening. The apathy of Jimmy and the goat's owners is appalling. Goddess bless you for helping the poor goat. The poor thing. And poor you! What a way to start the day! And yes, husband could have gone.

  5. wow ellen, mistreatment is so wrong - of any living thing. what a tale and one that's sure to be repeated. i'm glad that you're there to take care of this sad mess even though it took place before coffee!! before coffee!!! cripes!! you're going to be sainted for this!!! i hope your day is more peaceful. steven

  6. I have this fear of dogs. I can handle them if they don't seem at all agressive, but I would be in a perpetual state of terror with Jimmy's dogs. I'm glad you're made of sterner stuff!

  7. Edmund Burke said: The only thing necessary for evil to flourish, is for good people to do nothing.

    Thank you Ellen, for doing something. It's so much easier to sit around and complain. I have such admiration for someone like you who gets out there and takes care of business! Even before their morning coffee. Good on ya!

  8. Uhm, Ellen...

    I was attacked by a bunch of dogs once; when they get into pack attitude even the nice ones you know are pretty unmanageable. You were amazingly brave (and more than a little lucky)! It's great the goat will live to see another day (and I hope the goat's owners are suitably horrified and go after the idiot dog owner)...but some day those firecrackers may not work..and the more successful the pack is at hunting, the less they'll worry about attacking people.

    I don't suppose the Humane Society is active around there...In many states what's happened so far warrants at least a citation with a hefty fine and often confiscation of the animals.

  9. Kathy - No, Jimmy would not be upset and he probably wouldn't even notice. When we first moved out here our neighbor, Montreal, told us if the dogs bother us, just shoot them and I'm pretty sure Jimmy has the same attitude. I was a little horrified at that but now I'm more understanding. I could probably still corner the puppies as long as none of the grown dogs were still around. I don't think I could get close to the others and would not try without a tranquilizer gun.

    Fireblossom - When I talked to the goat's owners, they had not heard a thing and had no idea what happened until I told them.

    steven - Thanks. I'm glad it was easy to take care of.

    The Bug - I try not to show any fear to them.

    lakeviewer - thank you.

    Bonnie - thanks. It will probably get me in trouble one day.

    Cynthia - No fear. I have a healthy respect for dogs. In this instance, they never saw me (except when I was walking back and they were in their yard). I would not have approached any closer, if the fire crackers hadn't worked, without a gun (which I don't have). I didn't want them killing the goat but I wasn't planning to offer up myself. The firecrackers work because they sound like gunshots and people around here do shoot those dogs apparently. These are young dogs (except for Mama dog and Leo the alpha male). The oldest is only about 2 and the others aren't even a year old yet. They don't live much longer than 2 or so. The problem is that they are constantly replaced with new ones.

    We're in the county so no animal control. In fact, they will tell you to shoot them.

  10. You're a hero! I would never have had the nerve to go back out there. I would have called the police or animal control or something, but go back out there with fireworks and a lighter? I would never have been brave enough. I so admire you!!

    That was one lucky goat! Yikes!!

  11. Oh My ..

    You did the right thing ... going after them like that. That's what I would have done too.

  12. Yes, you are brave indeed. Not sure that I'd have done that at all. Won't the Humane Society do anything about this sort of thing?

  13. oh how dreadful! I would have done the same thing! I am so sorry you had to deal with this, yet so glad you rescued the goat! The dog owner needs to get his dogs altered & train them! I hate hearing of people that have no business with pets! And the goat owner infuriates me too!

    Dang... and before a cup of Joe? Kuddos to you!

  14. Oh geesh. I'd be in such a constant state of agitation knowing that was going on around me. It bothers me to see neglected animals. Thank you so much for looking out for that goat. You're a gem.


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