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I am Sandra - faithful steward. listener. shepherd. dream believer. hard worker. collects brass bells, boots. Jesus follower. contented. star gazer. homemaker. farmer. prayer warrior. country woman. reader. traveler. writer. homebody. living life large.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Life's Ugly Side

~ apple blossoms ~
The apple tree is in full bloom and bees are busy with pollination; the morning is beautiful but only after a rough start.

Photos are going to get a bit graphic so, if you're squeamish, better close out the page now.
 ~ Dogs doing as nature intended ~
Early this morning, as usual, dogs and I were in the sunroom, listening to Alistair Begg while I was working on some pillow case embroidery, when Sam, quite suddenly, goes on alert. He starts baying and barking and I jump to the door to see what's going on. I thought I saw the squirrel so opened the door and all three dogs barreled outside. The squirrel runs along the other side of the fence line and always away from the dogs but, too late, I see a raccoon, running alongside the fence. The 'coon climbed the fence post and the dogs got into place.
~ Sadie, too close for my comfort ~
We live in a very rural area and guns are a fact of life. Unfortunately, guns couldn't be used because the dogs were too excited to be called off and, truthfully, I wanted Sadie and Sam to understand their role. Abbie is a veteran ground hog killer and she and Shadow were a good working team. Abbie would tease while Shaddie would go in for the kill bite to the back of the neck. Never were either one of them injured, much, and they both learned valuable lessons about team work.
~ team work ~
Please understand; I do not enjoy killing nor watching something being killed...but...I also do not enjoy having to put down one of my animals because of rabies. There's a neighbor, up the valley, who had to have rabies shots when he was a lad. This was back when said shots were injected into the stomach and were Very Painful. Now, said injections are into the buttocks but no less painful, so I'm told.

Generally, nocturnal animals are just that; they sleep during the day and travel at night. Raccoons are nocturnal and it's, fairly, unusual to see them during the day. Unless they are sick and I never, ever take chances; not with my animals' lives nor with my own.

Sam took the lead but it was Abbie who taught Sam and Sadie how to attack. Sadie is a Rhodesian Ridgeback and used for lion hunting, guarding home and farm in South Africa. Sam is part Basset Hound and has hunting genes coursing through his blood as well. All three dogs are encouraged to protect "theirs" and that includes farm, livestock and humans. If it takes the life of a raccoon to help them learn, so be it especially when the raccoon is acting outside his normal.
  ~ end is close ~
Like I said, I hate killing, both doing and watching, but I've always figured someone who wouldn't protect their home and family isn't worth their salt. I'm not proud of killing the raccoon but did what I had to do in order to finish the job. I couldn't use a gun because I didn't want to shoot one of the dogs so I used a walking stick. Not pretty but needful. The health department is coming to get the body and it will be tested for rabies. That's what all this was about; killing the 'coon so it could be tested for rabies. The rabies test must be done of brain tissue and that means the death of the 'coon regardless.

Now, before you judge me, please consider a ground hog hole could cause the life of one of my horses or sheep. Should an animal step into a hole and break their leg, that means the animal has to be put down. Frankly, there's no consideration a ground hog is going to give their life and not one of my animals. As to the 'coon; he should have been doing what he night. A nocturnal animal, wandering around during the day, almost always means something isn't quite right. I'm not chancing rabies, either myself or my dogs, and if that means the 'coons be it. I try to be a good steward of what God has entrusted me and, last I looked, He's not entrusted me with 'coons or ground hogs. With the first breath, we're all terminal; it's just a matter of when and not if but I am sorry for the 'coon.

I need to go; I think I hear the health department truck.

Blessings ~ Sam ~ Abbie ~ Sadie ~

Rest in Peace,


  1. Well Sandra it sounds to me that your dogs were just doing what they are bred to do. It really isn't worth the threat of rabies to allow that coon to live. God was certainly looking out for you. Have a much better day today.

    Hugs XX

  2. Hello Sandra and Dave:
    Although we have not looked too closely at the pictures for, like you, we do not like any of this side of Nature, we fully understand and support where you are coming from. We do hope, for you, that this does not happen too often!!

    Enjoy the rest of your day.

  3. We have a high rabies threat here in Texas - animals must get yearly rabies vaccinations (the once every 3 years shots are not sufficient). Yes I hate to have to kill critters - but DH keeps a couple of weapons available and it is done regularly. Our little dogs are not capable of this kind of defense and we've lost chickens and goats to marauders. Life is life - we value each but realize cannot co-exist will all (as in yep we'll kill snakes or other hazardous creatures). I feel much worse about the creatures killed on the roads - sheesh I sound like a real red neck don't I? life in the country makes one realize - meat doesn't come from the grocery store and animals are not Disney characters.

  4. I am a city girl through and through. I would not have a clue what to do . . . besides stand on a chair and scream. You however, can go from embroidery and listening to Alistar Begg, to mountain woman protecting her farm . . . in just a few seconds. Wow.


    ps. Love the picture of your dogs all together at the gate.

  5. You did the right thing, my dad was bitten by a rabid dog many years ago,and had to have the shots in his stomach,they were very painful. Blessings jane

  6. I hear what you're saying, both sides of it. Seems like I remember not-so-nocturnal raccoons when I lived in VA. They travelled thru or lived in the storm sewer at the end of our driveway. I remember a steamy afternoon sitting on the front porch with an apprehensive out of country visitor watching the 'coons travel from tree top to sewer. :-)
    BTW, thanks again for the prayer listing. I am "lying low" and waiting for insurance ok for pacemaker. Takes about 3 months.

  7. No judging from here, we have a real problem with coons and skunks, all cariers of rabies. We had a coon out in mid afternoon last Summer acting reall weird so Mike shot it. Fish and Game came and collected the body and although it wasn't rabies it was distemper, another illness spead to domesticated animals.

    It's a job that has to be done, and while I'm sure nobody takes pleasure in it, it is a fact of life.
    Blessings for your day Sandra,

  8. glad your dogs were not harmed. i hate to see any animals harmed but it is the circle of life. hope all is going well with you and your husband. have a great week and hopefully not more 'coons will come your way!

  9. When you live on a farm, you have to do whatever it takes to protect your animals. No judgment here.

  10. As others have said, you did what you needed to. I can remember my mom back years ago was attacked by a neighbor's hunting dog who had been starved (for having given too many births too soon). Mom nearly lost her leg, and had the shots in the stomache. It wasn't pretty.

  11. No need for apologies here, Sandra~ in my opinion the only good raccoon is a dead one, for I have lost so many precious chickens to them, I have a vendetta of sorts against them.
    I know they are predators, and this is how they survive, but I think it is important to always protect what is yours, even if it means the life of a wayward varmit.
    Good doggies~ hope you gave them a reward!

  12. You do what ya gotta do!!!

  13. I am naive on this situation. We don't have rabies in England, nor do we have skunks or raccoons so I have no knowledge of any of it. It's not fair of me to judge something I don't know anything about and you didn't ask for judgement either. I just feel sorry for that raccoon somehow.

  14. As long as your dogs know how to attack without being attacked first, in the case of rabies. I'm glad they were successful! Blessings!

  15. Good going! A raccoon seen during the day has to be dealt with. We have a neighbor's dog who visits is often. He's good company, but otherwise totally USELESS! I need one of your dogs!

  16. I've had to protect my chickens from a coon that broke into the hen house once...and yes...sometimes you have to do what you have to do.

    Good thing you called the Health Dept!

  17. Rabies is here and there and it is dangerous.Deadly. As a Vet. tech when a usually nocturnal critter is acting out of sorts (showing up in broad daylight) it is cause for concern. Unfortunately with rabies the critter in question has to be dead for testing of the brain.

    As a livestock person it is my duty as a steward to protect my charges at any cost. Which literally translates to "if your dog is on my property attempting to chase my goats your dog won't be coming home tonight." It is a shame that the sins or irresponsible humans are visited upon their critters.

    There are always two, or more sides to the story.

  18. Glad to know you and the dogs are O.K. No apologies necessary Sandra. We have had to deal with coons, they have killed a great many of our animals over the years, but always at night or the very early, dark hours of the morning. Raccoons are one of the animals able to have and pass on rabies without outwardly showing signs and symptoms of this terrible and deadly disease.Good dogs!

  19. No judging here, just applause. I've also lost quite a few chickens to raccoons over the years. Your dogs did their job and you did, too, Sandra. Another day in the life, eh?
    God's blessings...

  20. Sandra- I would have been terrified! Clearly the right thing was done- I am just so glad that you were unharmed. That is such a scary situation-


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