Peace Dog

“As you announce peace with your mouth, make sure that greater peace is in your hearts.”–St. Francis of Assisi

“In the face of a man’s death, a Christian never rejoices, but reflects on the serious responsibilities of each person before God and before men, and hopes and works so that every event may be the occasion for the further growth of peace and not of hatred.”–Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman

“Oh, peace is a dirty word/She used to be a dirty bird, yeah/ And war, she’s a whore/Don’t you know we love her more and more?”–The Cult

“Doug! Drop it!”

No way, man. There is no way I am letting this thing go.

“Doug! I said drop it. Drop it!” He held out his hand under my mouth and stared me down.

I looked away and paraded around the patio. The vermin’s carcass defiantly swayed from my mouth. The kill became my pennant; its blood trickled down my throat, an aphrodisiac exciting my lust for the hunt. I was a ferocious wolf: The essence of my wild ancestors pulsed through my veins.

“Drop it!” He spoke with stern authority.

He couldn’t be serious. I had been hunting this vile rodent for ages. I finally caught the thing, and he wanted me to let it go?

I stopped. He is, after all, Alpha. I lowered my head and laid the kill on the mat. He opened the sliding door and commanded, “Now get in here!” Obedient to his command, I ran inside, looped around the coffee table and sat beside him, wagging my tail. Didn’t he see? How could he not have seen? I had been hunting all spring, and I finally caught him! I protected the yard. I did what I was supposed to do: I killed the rabbit!

“Oh, Doug,” he said. He hung his head low and stepped outside. Closing the door behind him, he knelt over my kill, clasped his hands, and pressed them against his chest.

What was he doing? He needed to make sure it was dead! He needed to take it in his mouth and shake it violently! Rabbits are sneaky vermin: Did he not know that it could have been faking? I pleaded with my eyes for him to let me out. I would have taken the carcass and whipped it around until I knew for certain that it was dead!

He got up and walked around the side of the house, out of sight. I stared at the rabbit. One of its hind legs moved–it was still alive! I had to warn someone! The rabbit lived! Someone had to let me out so I could shake it!

Shovel in hand, he reappeared. Good idea! Smash it with the shovel! While not as graceful an execution as clasping it in his jaws and whipping the life out of it, smashing it would have been just as effective. The Alpha scooped the rabbit up in the shovel, and walked to a far corner of the yard. He laid the rabbit down in the grass and dug a hole. He placed my kill in the hole and he buried it. He buried my kill! Where was the justice?

He walked back to the house, and I ran in a frenzied circle as he opened the door.

“Doug, sit.”

I sat. Why didn’t you shake it? Why didn’t you flatten it? He scratched me behind my ears. and looked me in the eye. I tried to look away, but he grabbed my muzzle and stared at me. I hate it when he does that.

“Doug, I know you are a dog…”

A dog? Didn’t you see what I did? I’m not a mere dog! I am a wolf, and the wild pack calls me!

“…and you are just doing what you thought you were supposed to do. But you can’t kill Brother Rabbit.”

Brother rabbit? That’s crazy talk.

“Doug, I know you hate rabbits, and rabbits have torn up the garden countless times. But there can be no joy in its death. You must not hate them; you must not kill them. This is their yard too.”

He stood up and opened the door, and I followed him outside. He pat me on the head, and took the shovel and walked around the side of the house. As soon as he got out of sight, I ran over to where he buried my kill. I dug furiously until I uncovered the rabbit. Taking it into my mouth, I finished the task he refused to do–I shook it furiously until I knew it no longer posed a threat to the yard.

“Doug! No! Bad dog!”

What did he just call me? Did he just call me…bad? I stopped and dropped the carcass. Hiding my tail between my legs, I skulked away, staying as low to the ground as I could. I looked over my shoulder and saw him march over, shovel in hand. After returning the rabbit to the hole, he placed a slab of flagstone to mark the site.

“Doug, come here.” My master summoned me.

I laid down.

“Doug, come.”

I looked away. He was displeased; I was ashamed.

“Doug…I said come!” He pointed down at his feet. He meant it.

I slowly walked over.

“Sit.”

I sat.

“Now Doug,” he began, “I do not wish you to kill any more rabbits. If the lion will lay down with the lamb, so too can the dog lay down with the rabbit.”

Fine, but he had better not say the same thing about squirrels.

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One Response

  1. Oh, Alpha, you are pure genius!

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