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Baby Hogs And Other Critters

4 lbs 9 oz. We went up and held her today. I should probably say I held her since I was hogging her for most of the time. I couldn’t help it. She’s so little and holdable and I was wearing my flannel shirt which she snuggled right into and well…Margaret kept on saying I should, so I did. She’s just so hoggable…er…huggable.

They aren’t going to let her go home until later this week or early next week now. She is still having times when her oxygen drops completely. She is also not producing red blood cells the way she is supposed to and may need a transfusion to kick start her system.

If they send her home too soon and she needs to go back to the hospital, they won’t put her back in the NICU (Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit) but would put her in the pediatric ICU instead. This would mean she would not have the close observation she currently enjoys. Well, that’s okay. Better safe than sorry.

Have you ever trimmed the nails on a cat or dog? How about a rabbit? You can easily sum it up in one word: Aaaaaarrrrrggggghhhhhhhh! Tabitha, who has a part-time job as a Vet Assistant, although she often does Tech work, takes care of it for us with the help of the others. Did you ever hear a cat cuss? They growl and hiss and bite and scratchm but the dog is the worst. It takes all of us to do her. She acts as if you are torturing her, she fights and whines and yelps before you even get the clippers near her. When it is all done she prances around like the Queen of Sheba. She’s that way when she gets a bath, too. The rabbit is actually very docile. If Abby holds him, he just lets you do it.

Tabitha likes working in a vet’s office. Doc is a congenial, older gent who has the personality and disposition to do his job. He grew up in farm country in Nebraska and doesn’t do large animals. He says he had enough as a kid. He likes his job and it rubs off on Tabitha. She helps him with surgeries, anesthesia, critter grooming as well as cleaning cages and walking dogs. She started out as a volunteer cleaning cages and walking dogs and worked for several months that way until they wound up putting her on payroll.

Animals are interesting, that’s for sure and they do have the ability to learn (as I type this I recall Sam’s blog entry about bees’ ability to learn) and depending on the animal, some of them are very intelligent. They also develop feelings of loyalty and resentment. I had some friends that visited the Holy Land who told me that if a camel becomes offended by you they will try to kill you, even if you have not been around him in years. The only way to appease him is to have someone throw some of your clothing in a pen with him, which the camel tears to pieces. The next day you can go by him again.

While I do not think animals are equal to humans and I certainly don’t think they have rights in the same sense of the word as humans, I do think there is something psychologically wrong with someone who is purposely, uselessly cruel to animals. I am not talking about the use of animals in scientific experiments. This is often necessary and has led to many important discoveries. I am talking about some of the things you read about in the news that are too nasty to repeat in mixed company. Many of the stories of the childhood of serial killers (Which I read in papers, I don’t buy their books) include stories of torturing small animals, pets, etc.

I think sometimes people get confused about the status of animals, however and don’t realize that part of our having dominion over them is managing them. Herds of deer, elk, etc that are managed by hunting are healthier. Cows and chickens could never live in the wild.

There was a subspecies of mouse here in Colorado called “Prebles Field Mouse” which was supposedly endangered and 30,000 acres of land, much of it ranch and development areas was held up for several years because of it, only to discover it wasn’t really endangered at all. A mouse prevented many people from livelihood including ranchers whose families have been here for over a hundred years. This is stupid. First of all, anyone who has ever had any experience with mice knows that if a species of mouse is endangered it is because it must be stupid. Whoever heard of a mouse that couldn’t adapt to adverse conditions and propagate itself? This feller can jump 18 inches in the air, covering 3 feet and can swim. Gestation is 17 to 21 days. I get to be out on the eastern plains of Colorado every day and I see the raptors and coyotes that would feed on this mouse and they either are doing just fine without it or have found some. This is probably because now science has discovered that there is no significant difference between it and the common North American Jumping Mouse. Anyone remember the Snail Darter?

How about prairie dogs? If you have never lived in ranch country, you might think they are just cute little creatures and cannot understand why those awful mean men would have contests to see how many they can shoot when they stick their heads out of a hole. This is because you have never lost a cow to a broken leg because he’s stepped in one of their holes or had a friend injured because his horse stepped in one and broke it’s leg and landed on him. This is not counting all the ecological havoc they wreak on grazing land. They are rodents and vermin and it is a fun game that has a purpose.

Here’s another point to consider about endangered species, also. In countries where endangered species like are kept on preserves that are allowed to make money from them, the populations of these critters flourish and grow, whereas in other countries the populations are in constant danger from poaching and the numbers of them are dwindling. That’s because in the first example, money is involved. They can make a buck on a buck and do something good at the same time so they capitalize on the idea of conserving species.

Part of the problem is that we are not all raised the same and do not see the world in the same way. I grew up in a culture where deer hunting is not only acceptable but necessary to the health and well-being not only of its own herd but of many other animals as well. It has never bothered me that people kill and eat them. Cows either. To me it is as natural as breathing that we eat many different kinds of meat.

If you want to be a vegetarian and are fully persuaded in your mind, that’s fine. Please do. I can respect and even, to a point, understand your view. I have at least made an attempt to respect and understand your beliefs, at least give me the same courtesy to legally hunt for whatever reason I might choose, whether it is the thrill and sport of outwitting a trophy animal, or for food, or whatever reason, leave me alone as well.

If I choose to try to outwit a creature whose every instinct and learned behavior says that I am it’s enemy, and I hunt it down and kill it and choose to enjoy a buffalo burger or a venison sausage, that’s what I should be able to do. If it’s not opening day and you want to try to persuade me, I will probably respect you enough to hear you out, if you will listen to me as well.

I think that, if you don’t throw red paint on my wife’s fur coat (she’s saying, “What fur coat?”) then I won’t throw a punch at you and we will be one step closer to civilizing the world.

Remember, the Good Book says, “A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.”

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