There are other kinds of animal lovers who consider them equal to humans, but I’m not in that category. Growing up, I did get friendly with some dogs though. We had a German shepherd named Trixie which, if an older boy tried to push me around, would show her teeth and growl menacingly. I had to like that dog. She got old and died and my parents got a mongrel named Tootsie. He had a brave heart too, but lacked the strength to back it up. Consequently, he got thrashed in clashes with other dogs. Still, he never backed off and I had to admire that. As they say, it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.
Two years ago we buried a wonderful mongrel named Molly after seventeen years. She was gentle and smart and knew her place. She got expensive near the end of her life, but she was worth it. Her replacement is a large, unintelligent Yellow Lab/Irish Setter cross. Neither breed is known for smarts and Hannah is no exception. She’s huge and high-maintenance - a black hole of need, constantly seeking to be patted and stroked. And, she eats a lot. I may get a hernia carrying in huge bags of dogfood from the car. It doesn’t take long for Hannah to gobble it all down and what comes out the other end is of commensurate size. When she drinks water from her bowl in the kitchen, she slobbers about a quart all over the floor. You know how it feels to step in water right after putting on fresh pair of socks? Not a pleasant sensation. In winter, her hairs are all over the fleeces I wear and the back of my wife’s car is covered with them. When I ride in the passenger seat, Hannah is right by my left ear breathing and drooling. She’s not allowed in my car or in the cab of my truck either. She barks whenever a stranger approaches so she does serve as a kind of organic security system, but if I had my ’druthers I’d replace her with an electronic one. I tolerate Hannah only because my wife likes her.
Other kinds of animal lovers consider them superior to humans and I’m certainly not in that category. These are your rabid animal lovers. They would rather humans were extinct so we could turn the planet over completely to animals. When alligators ate three women in Florida last month, rabid animal lovers blamed humans for encroaching on the alligators’ habitat. It was the women’s own fault the alligators ate them.
Speaking of predators, a big black bear has been hanging around my neighborhood lately. I went out my door at 6:45 one morning and he was sniffing around my grandson’s swing set. He looked at me and sauntered down the hill into the woods like he owned the place. My wife has a counseling practice here and she told me some clients noticed the bear again outside her office. One said the bear was “brazen,” not afraid of people at all. Then I read about a black bear attacking a young family after climbing over a fence in Tennessee. The bear killed a six-year-old girl, mauled her mother and critically wounded her two-year-old brother after picking him up by the head and holding him aloft. Rabid animal lovers claim such attacks result from increased human encroaching on bear habitat, but Forest Service biologist Laura Lewis said in USA Today: “People don't want to think it is a natural behavior on the part of the bear [to eat people], but I really think it is.” I’m with you Laura. It’s natural for alligators to eat people too.
Why is this so hard for animal lovers to accept? Do they think all animals are vegetarians like they are? It should be obvious that bears love humans too - as tasty morsels. My six-year-old grandson plays on that swing set and the next time the bear comes around may be his last. He’s encroaching on my habitat now. Rock musician and hunter Ted Nugent wrote a book recently called “Kill It And Grill It,” with a recipe for “Bar-B-Que Black Bear.” I’m going to Amazon now and order it. Maybe I could learn to love bears. I’ve never tasted one on the grill before.