Yesterday I ran into a student teacher in my department at the middle school. She was running around the school, being sent from one classroom to another to “sub” – that is to say, to cover for teachers, one period at a time. There had been a run of bad luck; teachers had to go pick up sick kids, etc.. I guess it began early in the day when our young band teacher’s husband showed up at the school and took her home. Word had it that her dog had been poisoned.

This morning I saw her and, trying to be the good neighbor, asked after her sick dog. It didn’t occur to me that “poisoned” meant killed. (Is “murdered” an inappropriate word for a pet? To me, this is clearly murder, at least on an emotional level.) She told me that her dog was dead, and that someone had thrown poison over the fence into her backyard.

A few years ago, there was a spree of senseless killings in our community. Someone took it upon his or herself to go around a very family-friendly part of town and throw poison over the fence into yards where dogs lived. I don’t remember how many dogs were killed in this manner. I am fairly certain that the culprit was not apprehended. The band teacher lives in the same part of town. It could be the same person; it seems like far too much time has passed for it to be a copycat.

What kind of sick person could do something like this?

I feel just terrible. I was just trying to be nice. And I’m sure she wouldn’t take it any other way. But I certainly wouldn’t have said anything in such a way if I’d known.

And I feel sick and scared. I don’t live in that part of town, but it isn’t that far. Paisley doesn’t stay outside for any length of time, but how long would it take for a dog to take and eat a proffered treat from a stranger outside the back gate?

The band teacher is probably about my age. I imagine she and her husband are at about the same point in life as Ryan and I, at which point their dog was basically their child. Losing a dog or cat is not the same thing as losing a child; I would never claim it is. And yet….

I feel enormous amounts of disgust, fear, and anger about this. I have a hard time reading or watching fictional stories that involve cruelty to animals; the fact that this is real, and here, is so much worse. I like to think that I am a pretty spiritually secure person with a strong desire and ability to forgive, but this? I don’t even know where or how to forgive this. This seems quite unforgivable.


3 thoughts on “Horrible

  1. My neighbors across the street had that happen, years ago. Their beautiful shaggy white dog Duke was poisoned when someone threw a hamburger patty filled with something over the fence. Thankfully, the mom noticed something wrong with him, found half of the patty, and got him to the pet hospital in time.

    Do yourself a favor (for your own peace of mind) – contact your local vet, tell them about your worries, and ask them how you would go about treating something like that. They’ll likely give you info on how to get Paisley to vomit out whatever she may have ingested, so that you have time to get her to the vet.

  2. i, too, had a similar situation. i grew up on a large farm and our dogs were lucky enough to have the run of the place. they very seldom left our fields, but would occasionally venture accross the street to play with some kids at the church. the man who lived between our field and the church lot didn’t like the fact that our dogs walked through his yard (to my knowledge, that’s all the ever did). my dad had seen him shoot at one of our dogs while it was in our field and he had chased my sister and i down the street yelling at us when we were out walking with the dogs.

    i came home from school one day to find one dog dead and the other quickly dying. when we took them in to the vet to have an autopsy done, they found spaghetti noodles that had been soaked in antifreeze in both their stomachs. there is nothing accidental about that. we knew instantly that it had to have been that man, but there was no way to prove that it had come from him. the police told us that in a case like that, someone would almost have had to see him giving them the noodles.

    it’s a scary thing to live near someone like that. he stuck around for a few more years but finally moved when he got too old to get around easily. when your terrorizer has no face, it’s scary because it could be anyone. but when you have to walk past him everyday, it can be overwhelming.

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