Sometimes I have a hard time expressing myself. SERIOUSLY! For a person who has a lot to say, when it comes from some place deep inside, I often get choked up and start to cry. And it is not pretty. I don't think it is supposed to be pretty because when it happens I am in a very sad state of mind and heart even when it is about an animal. So, I am writing about a concern.
I have blogged about losing two precious dogs. One we lost suddenly and horribly. The other we helped cross over "the rainbow bridge." If you don't know about the rainbow bridge, google it. (It is a grief website for people who have lost a pet. It is really very nice and I know it helps with the grief of a furry family member.) Lately, several people I know have made some very unexpected and terrible trips to the rainbow bridge and three beloved dogs are there because of murder.
Murder? I know you think I have lost my mind, but I don't know how else to describe it. So, I will do my best to explain.
In the beautiful and scenic community of Cloudcroft, New Mexico, one of my daughter-in-law's best friends lives with her husband and their precious curly haired daughter. They relocated to the hamlet from Montana with a few horses and three dogs. And due to being facebook friends, I have had the privilege to watch their family grow and change since the couple married. That is one of the great things about social media. It connects you to people you might only see once in a great while or never at all.
At the beginning, I was always amused and happy to see Heidi's photography of her Australian Shepard, Dixie, when Heidi was expecting their baby. Dixie riding next to Heidi. Dixie close when Heidi could still ride a horse during her pregnancy. It was almost always Dixie and Heidi. I remember thinking to myself, "I want a Dixie dog!" This dog was so lovely and so full of personality. And there was another dog, Bill. Bill seemed to be all business. He was a cattle dog and I just got the impression that Bill was too busy for cuddling, riding in the truck, and sweet things. Cowdogs have jobs and work is their life. Until Abby...
Being a great chronicler of their lives, Heidi kept her facebook fan club totally up-to-date with pictures of their red-headed baby girl. In practically every picture, sitting next or near Abby was Bill the cowdog. It was so funny! Just like an old man that falls in love with his granddaughter, Bill was totally devoted to the baby. It was right out of a picture book...devoted dog and tiny baby. It was totally sweet.
Then, there was another dog, Zip. He was a red heeler and Heidi began posting pictures of the little guy. I immediately liked his name because I could picture him zipping through the stock, nipping at heels, moving cattle along for Kenton. (Kenton is Heidi's husband. He's the cowboy.) Heidi even posted a picture of Zip and his lady friend and their off-spring with toddler Abby in the mix. He was a family man. Errr, dog.
As Abby grew, Heidi and Kenton moved their lives and their animals from Montana to Cloudcroft. I thought it was a wonderful place for them to continue their lives. Family live close, they are close to Arizona, and it is one of the most beautiful communities I have ever passed through. Mountains. Trees. Green. Green. More green. Once, I thought Bosco and I could retire there and live happily.
Dutifully, Heidi continued to post pictures as Abby grew. I continued to look forward to the facebook posts of the little family. I chuckled more than once to see a scenic picture with Dixie and Bill in the foreground. Little glimpses of their lives and always including their pets. If I didn't see a dog for a few weeks, I was pleased to see a head, ears, or a tail in the latest picture from Heidi. I even encouraged Heidi to write a book about Abby's adventures since there were wonderful and excellent photos to go with the stories. I could imagine a picture book with Abby, the dogs, and a few horses. I thought it would definitely be a great children's book.
Then, one day while cruising through facebook, I saw a picture of Bill and Abby and a prayer request from Heidi. Scrolling through the comments, I saw that the dogs had possibly been poisoned. Poisoned? People asked questions and sent words of love throughout the post. They thought it could be antifreeze but they had no leaks or substances left out on their property. Antifreeze is very deadly. Bill seemed to be in worse shape and the following day, Heidi posted they had lost both Bill and Dixie.
It was shocking! I couldn't imagine Abby without her two sidekicks and more especially her sweet Bill. I kept picturing Dixie sitting close to a pregnant and beautiful Heidi. Like so many, I posted my condolences and prayed for the family and their remaining dog. I even messaged Heidi encouraging her to seek legal help. It was discouraging to learn the law enforcement of beautiful Cloudcroft didn't seem to understand their loss and the need for justice.
A "neighbor" with the reputation of baiting animals with antifreeze was a suspect. I use the word "neighbor" loosely because a neighbor takes you a casserole when you move into your new home. A neighbor takes in your mail when you are on vacation. They may even water your plants. A neighbor stands by your side when you lose a loved one. Neighbor is not just proximity it is a word for a relationship. A neighbor does not poison your dogs.
Today, Heidi posted a picture of Abby and their little Zipper dog. His kidneys are breaking down and it is just a matter of time. They are keeping him comfortable.
I cannot tell you how sweet that little curly haired girl looks with her dog. It is so precious. Earlier in the week, there was a picture of the two of them under a baby blanket. This chlid has lost two members of her family and is about to lose a third. I just don't understand.
Please don't tell me life is hard. Trust me, after 58 years, I have learned this fact. And if life is hard, then why are there people disguised as "good citizens" killing their neighbor's pets? We protect the eradication of animals in the wild. The US has honored endangered species lists and "good citizens" have flown this flag high! It is common to hear Sarah MacLaughlin's voice singing about angels while an animal protection agency requests donations for abused and abandoned animals. People who hunt out of season are fined, chastised, and threated with jail time which I totally support. It is cheating and it is wrong. We see the picture of a penguin or a baby seal and our hearts melt. Lord knows how many adults think those penguins tap dance and those seals grow up to eat those tap dancing penguins! And Nemo... Didn't your heart just ache for him to find his way to his father? But what about the reality of a child and her parents who are about to bury the third pet in two weeks? What about Abby?
I have wanted to drive to Cloudcroft and risk jail time and the embarassment of my family and friends to petition law enforcement to do something about this crime. Yes, New Mexico does have a crime against intentional poisoning of animals. It is a class 4 felony. No proof? Lab results and other community members agreeing to come forward to state what they have experienced and the perp has admitted to doing. Even then, justice will not fix the problem. Justice will not undo the deed. The murder.
So, for those reading this, please pray for Abby and her sweet family. Pray for their grief and pray for their loss. And most of all, pray for a sweet passing for a little girl's dog.