Saturday, November 28, 2009

9 More Dogs 11/25/09

9 More  Dogs   11/25/09
Weather -- Snow, sun, total overcast, sun, overcast
Temp 12 F (-11 C) Wind Calm

About 2 weeks ago we noticed a blond dog that was obviously nursing puppies. She was heavy in the utter and was seen only occasionally during the morning. From the vantage of our 9th floor apartment window I noticed her going into the building across the street that has been under construction since before the 18 months that we have been here.

About a week ago I saw her litter, all 9 of them. A local babushka was inside the construction site in front of the door the mother (right above) normally used and in front of her were these 9 puppies; 7 black and two gray. That was a reminder of the genetics chart I saw in school that predicted how many black mice and how many white ones would result from a white and black mouse union.
I have watched the more frequent venturing out of those puppies as the babushka started feeding them at the gate rather than going inside the construction site. Each morning, about 8:00, the nine come out of the building and start looking around for the babka who they expect will show up. Most mornings she does, but one morning she didn't. The pups stood around on their side of the gate and waited a long time. Finally, they wandered off by ones and twos until they'd all gone back inside. The next day she showed up again and as soon as she got to the gate, all nine came running out to meet her. I don't know if she called them or they were watching from the shadows inside the building they call home.

I have thought a lot about those puppies and recalled a story about the bears in some park (don't remember the location) that starved to death, standing on the park roads during the winter, waiting for the tourists to feed them. They had forgotten to store up for the winter because food was so easily obtained. With the tourists gone and without their foraging skills, they died.

How do 9 puppies reach maturity in the winter? When they are weaned, how do they survive without the babka bringing table scraps to them? What is the humane thing in this case? Do I buy dog food and take my turn feeding them? Do I wait to see the little black bodies lying in the snow one by one? Can the mother scavenge enough for herself and the nine all winter? Will they learn to find food for themselves, and if some of them, or all of them, survive the winter, will I enjoy 15 homeless dogs (this nine and the other 6, two of which made them) roaming my neighborhood? Where is the humanity? Where is the compassion for these puppies? What is the right course?

We all love kittens, and puppies, and babies of almost all animals. Is it their innocence? Is it their cute features and softness? Is it a reminder of life, and renewing, and creation? I'm not sure, but I do know that puppies grow up to be dogs and wild dogs, or any untrained dog, are at least a nuisance and in many cases a threat to humans.

I would have paid someone to get rid of the 24 dogs in the neighborhood last fall and winter. Their barking, howling, and pack activity were irritating and at times threatening and I would be rid of them if I could, and apparently someone DID get rid of them because we were down to these five by mid summer. Walking by that pack of 24 dogs lying on the Neighborhood Administration office lawn was reminiscent of the main characters in the Alfred Hitchcock movie, "The Birds" walking past the thousands of birds on the telephone wires and standing on the ground as they tried to get to the safety of their home before the birds attacked again.

Well, anyway, the puppies are cute and their behaviors are interesting and fun to watch, but I can't help being glad that I will not be listening to them this summer.

What a country

1 comment:

Shannon said...

I loved this entry. I can just see the Babka now, in the kindness and charity of her heart, feeding those puppies and how they must be so excited each day for her. Animals are so loyal! While they are annoying in the summer, they certainly dont currently recognize their future as peace disturbers! Its a strange dilema of moral decision - compassion or population control by doing nothing and letting nature take its course. Still, its sweet to see a cute grandmom caring for some innocent little pups!