Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Savage Spaniel

In one of my stories, a character is warned: Make peace with the food chain before it breaks your heart.

I would do well heeding my own advice today.

It's slushy - sleeting and snowing. Getting Frasier off to school - not to mention out in the driveway and into the car - is a feat in itself. I try to put on her jacket - she howls. I give her a minute on her own to come around to the idea; she doesn't. I corner her in the kitchen - the jacket is on and Mommy is victorious. I step into the boots the Dogtor has rigged with Yak-Trax for the ice (pregnant ladies and icy driveways are a notoriously bad combination). I put Fray on one hip, wipe the oatmeal off her chin, get the daycare bag on the other arm, and look out the window at the car warming up in the driveway.

Just past the car, Betsy Spaniel is hovering over fresh kill in the front yard - the rabbit whose den she has been marking for some time. And it's not a little rabbit - it's the size of a cat. This I see clearly as my father-in-law picks it up by its hind legs after I try, unsuccessfully, to call Betsy off the carcass. He lets dogs be dogs, but this morning makes the sage point that whatever Betsy eats may end up on the floor of the house later.

I imagine I see something like self-loathing in Betsy's eyes - she hasn't yet torn into the rabbit, as if she doesn't have the heart. She's my Southern Belle, my small dog. But she has the heart to eat a rabbit (in spades) and she isn't worried about disappointing me - she's just doing what dogs do, and probably savoring the moment. Think about all the ones she's killed and eaten that you know nothing about, my father-in-law reminds me.

Frasier is unfazed at the sight of the rabbit - perhaps it looks to her like the stuffed and stitched one she sleeps with in her crib. I am fazed. I think back to the other night - the sounds of suffering in the attic space over my head as a flying squirrel dragged a trap around in the midst of a death spiral. I had to wake the Dogtor because I wasn't woman enough to address the situation on my own. I wasn't woman enough to move the rabbit carcass this morning.

I want Frasier (and baby girl wumpus #2) to be woman enough to do these things - this means vegetarian, soft-hearted Momma has to buck up.

1 comment:

  1. Yay for Yak-Trax! They've saved my tailbone many times.