A Guest Blog from Renee Boomgaarden
Recently we discussed our feeling about news stories, and I noted that there was very little in the news that I could tolerate, with the exception, I now must confess, of stories about animal rescue. I don’t mean shows about animal welfare officers rescuing pets from abuse and neglect-those shows just make me angry and upset. I mean stories about helping animals out of predicaments of their own making. You know the kind-goats stranded on bridges or with their heads stuck in fencing, bears who wander into town, get treed and tranquilized, and fall sleepily into the waiting nets of patient rescuers who transport them back to the woods, ducklings retrieved from storm sewers as their mother quacks anxiously nearby.
I think my favorite stories are those told friends and family. The story about the dog who decided it would be a good idea to roll vigorously back and forth over a decomposing porcupine (both smelly and painful) stands out, as does the tale of the poor, bored, Lakeland Terrier who spent hours independently chasing a ball back and forth over a paved parking lot until it had worn the pads off its paws.
My dad and my best friend tell the most memorable rescue stories. My friend grew up on a farm, and one day after checking the cattle she came upon a Great Grey Owl sitting on the ground under a telephone pole. She was able to walk quite close to it and saw that one pupil was quite dilated. It looked kind of stunned and she surmised it had had a head injury. She somehow managed to get it into a tall box in the back of her car and drove three hours to get it to a raptor center at the University of Minnesota. She never heard what happened to it after that.
My father loves dogs and has had his share of trauma with them over the years. He still speaks with sorrow over a favorite dog he had as a boy-a Rat Terrier named Diamond-who went down a badger hole and never came back up. It still bothers him. His all-time favorite dog, however, was Puggi the Pug, a dog he had after he retired. One day in early Spring, Dad and Puggi went to the city park in Luverne, right along the Rock River, to see if the ice had broken up. The river was still frozen over, but barely, and before he could stop her, Puggi ran out on the ice to get to some birds on the other bank.
A portion of the ice gave way and she went through and was pulled under the remaining ice by the strong Spring current. She was gone. Dad said he walked down stream about 100 feet and just stared, thinking to himself that he had lost his dog for good. His eye was caught by an old ice fishing hole in the middle of the river, and to his joy, up popped Puggi. She couldn’t scramble out of the hole on her own, so Dad laid out flat and advanced across the ice on his stomach. He grabbed Puggi and slithered back to shore. He figured she saw light coming through the hole as the current took her down stream and she swam toward it. He took her home and put her in a hot shower to warm her up. My mother was appalled at the risk he took, I don’t think he thought twice about going out on that ice.
What are your tales of animal foolishness?