Saturday, January 14, 2006

A Frightening Look Inside my Mind

Baby ducks stress me out. I know what you're thinking: Finally! Somebody who says what all of us are thinking! You mean, normal people don't see a mess of baby ducks and get knots in their stomach? Okay. I already knew that. One thing a lot of people may not know about me is my extremely dysfunctional sensitivity. This is not an "expressing my feelings every chance I get" type of sensitivity. This is "seeing an animal in pain and crying for hours after that" sensitivity. This post was not brought on by recalling wanting to be a vet when I was younger (see previous post). Rather, it was brought on by the five ducklings I found with their mama on Saturday beside the pond in my complex. Five fuzzy, teetering, squeaking ducklings cute as can be. And I had an anxiety attack. You see last year we had two batches of ducklings. And for each batch, they disappeared one by one. I don't mean this to be depressing, but it's nature. My head knows that but my heart does not. Each day I counted fewer than the last and each time I reached a number, my heart sank until I felt like I was slowly losing my mind. One time I even ran back up the stairs in tears, not being able to properly express my grief to Dean. But he understands. I am afraid to speculate on the nature of their disappearance. I like to think each time a different little kid has caught one and brought it home. Raised it and put it back in the pond when it wasn't so cuddly anymore. But this year more than ever I am acutely aware of the predators lurking around my complex. The predators I encourage with everyday feedings. Yes, the dumpster kitties. The animals I used to consider abandoned and alone in this world. Underdogs that I liked to think were a little better off because of me. I know that no matter how fat, fed and happy a cat can be, it will still hunt when it sees a vulnerable animal. Ugh! Why does nature have to be like this?
This month for my book club we read Wicked. I read it for a second time. Despite its strong political undercurrents obviously making a statement about civil rights and oppression, it also said a lot about how our society treats animals. Ghandi said that a society can be defined this way (props to my mom for displaying his quote on the fridge). Glancing tentatively in my direction, our group leader remarked, "There are some people who go a little overboard with animal rights. Like to the point where they put the welfare of animals before those of people." My response is this. 99% of people believe the welfare of people come first. For rather obvious reasons. Animals deserve to have people in this world who put them first.
So there is my animal anxiety in a nutshell. Where did it come from? When pondering this I can't help thinking of my grandma Frey who nursed a sick squirrel back to health by feeding it peanut butter for a couple of weeks. Then there's my mother (not related to my grandma) who once yelled at my step dad to "STOP THE CAR!!!" while driving up to the cabin to herd a wayard litter of baby skunks across the street and to safety. Then there's my dad who uses Dutch cheese and candy bars to lure mice into safe traps and gently deposits them outside. Only to respect the hell out of them for outwitting him. In other words, I guess there was really no hope for me.


Jackie said...

lol! That's too funny, I feel the exact same way!

I am torn between my love of cats, and the fact that they kill a TON of song birds every year. In fact, it's so drastic people are saying that the song birds might exentually die out. On the other hand, those cats are so cute and cuddly.

You see my point, basically I'm just as screwed up as you! (maybe it's the scientist in us??)

silly scientist animal lovers said...

I agree, it must be the scientist in us...or the girl.

I used to choke up every time I had to take the birds that didn't make it in "shipping" to the back DUMPSTER when I worked at Wal Mart.

Not to mention the number of times my mother has actually had to say..."You brought home a WHAT?!?! Where did you get that? It might be sick!! and then after it was and I couldn't help..."oh honey these things happen sometimes"

Now....I have one more thing to say...WHERE IS THE PICTURE. You promised me a picture of the baby ducks in your upcoming blog!!

magnetbabe said...

It's so hard to love cats when they can be so destructive! A fellow scientist scolded me yesterday about feeding the dumpster kitties because he said I was interfering with the eco system too much and the cats were going to kill everything in sight. It's hard to sit back and watch them be all skinny and emaciated though.

I was too despressed to put up the picture. Already we're down to three ducklings and I can hardly bear to look at the pictures I took. Because I promised you though I will personally email it to you when I get home today

lefty_grrrl said...

Is there a bird sanctuary in your area? Perhaps the next time you see a family of ducks you can call them in for assistance. Maybe they can take them to a park or keep the babies until they're grown. (Don't know what the duck population is like down there...)

Or maybe the parks department? I don't know. Survival of the fittest sucks when its applied to the little ones. :(

silly scientist animal lovers said...

I actually looked into the relocation of the ducks theory, I have friend who has a pond where the ducks fare much better. However, I think the ducks migrate down here so I do not know if the same Momma duck will just return to the original pond and do this again next year....

Then I thought maybe I could help with the relocation of the dumpster kitties.... but unless the parent cats are caught and fixed they will just reappear as well. Not to mention stupid university students releasing more every year when they can't take them home for the summer or whatever.

So the only solution I came up with was to relocate Magnetbabe. As of yet I have been unable to find a suitable shelter for her. :)

I'll keep looking.

Scott said...

I know how you feel. I felt sorry for a mosquito once that flew out my car window into the rain. My family thought I was insane when I made the observation that rain must really be hell on earth for such a small creature trying to fly to safety.

magnetbabe said...

lefty and ssal-
I have even thought about trapping them myself and putting them on my balconey til they get bigger. That's how nutty I am. Calling the park or relocating is a good idea even if it's just for the short term. If I'm in the same place next year, I'd do it again if the same momma came back. That's how dedicated I am. Dean has voiced that the only reason he doesn't want to relocate us is because of the dumpster kitties. We're quite a pair.

That's not insane. I've thought the same thing when I have to put something outside. I keep wanting to protect them from the elements -as if they were't supposed to be out there!

mom said...

don't foget tom's "turtle stick"
that he keeps in the car at the lake to lure snapping turtles off the road and back into the wild so they won't get hit by cars. no you didn't have a chance, from your grandparents to your parents to your step-parents, you my dear were doomed, but someone has to watch out for those that can't watch out for themselves......

gabrielle said...

Just an update. We have been in a standoff with the mice for several weeks now, though in deep denial. Each night we dutifully set the traps with chocolate, cheese and whatever epicurian delicacies we have on hand. In the morning we bound down the stairs eager to escort the sated creatures outdoors (or secretly applaud their ingenuity). Only to find that the trap has been relocated, nudged clear across the room. Sometimes the treat is intact; at other times it's gone. But the little gourmands are no where to be found. Yesterday we came home to find a juvenile unabashedly rehearsing her high wire routine in the kitchen. No doubt this affable little one is a direct descendent of Philco the Great (our first refugee of the season). Obviously, the mice are on a steep learning curve and we have flatlined. So on my way back from a run to get some takeout (for us),I stopped at a hardware store. After scrutinizing a vast seasonal array of pest management gizmos, I settled on a Pestacator. Since this device is odorless, nontoxic and nonlethal, I decided that it was worth trying. For the unitiated, a Pesticator is a plug in device that emits electromagnetic signals that annoy the heck out of rodents but are not in our audible range. Perhaps a high frequency rendition of the latest woeful C&W hit? Dear Old Dad who dutifully makes weekly excursions to Home Depot to replenish our supply of safe traps bristled at the price tag for this hi tech gadget, but begrudgingly admitted that it fell within our family's "do no harm" ethos. The instructions suggest that no one method may be completely effective and a program of "integrated management" involving a "variety of techniques and practices" is most likely to provide the desired results (which by the way are predicted to take effect in 4-6 weeks, just in time for the first thaw.