We had an incident here last week. An ugly, awful incident which resulted in a messy crime scene, a victim and a perp (as ‘they’ say). Thankfully for the sake of future potential victims, the perp was caught red handed. It was less fortunate for me because I was the one who stumbled across the grisly scene.
Last Wednesday morning, the boys were playing happily outside, as is their wont. They spend a great deal of time outside and are pretty au fait with the local bird life and the general sounds of neck of the woods. But on this morning, there was a strange noise coming from just outside the fence, under the peppercorn tree. “What’s that?” said the boys, complete with an upward inflection and their palms facing the sky to further illustrate their bewilderment. By this stage, I too was intrigued. As a very amateur but enthusiastic bird watcher I thought we could be on to something amazing. But no. When I peeked over the fence, I did not see a rare and unusual species or get a surprise sighting of the elusive Mallee Fowl. Instead, I saw Sam attacking a chook.
Sweet little Sam, everybody’s favourite little brown and white dog. Sam who is rapidly approaching his tenth birthday – what’s that in dog years? – who is still recovering from his second knee reconstruction and who is generally very well behaved. But not on this day. What the heck was I going to do? Of course I cried. Then I called Shane who told me that I should try to get Sam. OK, I thought. I can do this.
Here’s some background information and geography to the situation because the court will probably need this in Sam’s trial: Sam had evidently escaped from ‘his’ yard at the front of the house and found a chook. I don’t even want to think about how he came to be where I found him but there he was, just outside the yard at the back of the house, under the peppercorn tree with this poor old chook. Right, I thought, sort this out Hannah, you’ve handled worse than this. Have I? I don’t actually think I have. I decided that the first thing I needed to do was secure the boys well away from the situation – the last thing I needed was them getting in on the action. So I put them in the car. This was a stroke of genius. I grabbed Sam’s lead because I thought he’d come if he thought he was going for a walk. He didn’t. Instead, he grabbed the chook and headed further into the undergrowth of tree and I knew that this job was beyond me.
By this stage, I was somewhat hysterical. I’m an absolute bleeding heart about lots of things, but particularly animals. Shane says it is what he loves and finds most difficult about me in equal measures. I called him again. I would have called his parents to help but they were away and I didn’t know what else to do. Because he knows me that well, Shane decided that he better come home. I got in the car and drove around for a bit and tried not to think about what was happening.
After an age, Shane came home and dealt with it. I’ll save the detail for the trial but it was horrific. Turns out that since Sam has achieved his ‘goal weight’ (good for him!) he can now get out of his previously secure yard. Sometimes it’s better to be a bit fat.
We are so lucky to have the best neighbours in the universe. They were very kind, understanding and forgiving and Shane reckons that I was disproportionately upset about the whole ordeal and that may be so. But I don’t want to be the kind of person who is not moved by such senseless loss of life, even if it was ‘just a chook’ as people keep telling me. But that poor little chook had a will to live as strong as any being and it was a sad day.
Sam is currently under house arrest and has been placed on a good behaviour bond. He reports to his parole officer several times a day and has not reoffended. Yet. Wish us luck in his rehabilitation.