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The Moral Equivalency of Generals and Armadillos – Part I

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Martin Q. Blank: There’s a contract out on your life. Believe me. I was hired to kill you, but I’m not going to do it. It’s either because I’m in love with your daughter or because I have a newfound respect for life.
Character played by John Cusack in Gross Pointe Blank

As my sensibilities have evolved, I have come to a newfound respect for life. I go out of my way to protect any of the creatures I encounter on the farm.  I constantly preach to leave the snakes alone due to that human tendency to want to eradicate them all.  Recently, while moving some metal beams in an overgrown part of the ranch, a skunk darted out of the pile and disappeared into the underbrush. Then two small, fat, baby skunks came crawling out of the pile.  Not knowing whether these babies were loaded, I did the only sensible thing a person could do.  I asked the guy helping me to pick them up and move them into the brush.  Thankfully, he complied.

My pets have been the springboard of this new sensibility.  Our daily ritual consists of a four-mile walk with all of our dogs and even some neighbor dogs.  This motely group of animals ranges from Heinz 57 mutts to pedigreed German Shepherds.  They literally wait on me the entire day just to go on this one-hour walk.  After starting this ritual, it became apparent that I had one problem.  The dogs do what dogs do.  They chase anything that runs. For the most part, the squirrels, rabbits, and deer, have no difficulty escaping the pack.  The bemused cattle waddle off or stare blankly at the yelping dogs.  Initially, I tried to control their behavior, but gave up, as it was too much effort.  They rarely caught much.  Besides, these animals exude such joy when they get to run about on the ranch and that makes me smile.

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But not all creatures are equipped with the speed of a deer, the furry cuteness and quickness of a squirrel, or the personality of a dog.  The armadillo lacks all these attributes.  With its limitation comes a bony exterior that most predators wisely avoid.  However, that does not apply to German Shepherds and that is the rub.  A German Shepherd can catch and dispatch an armadillo, which my two German Shepherds have often done.  At first I tried to fight their instincts.  That effort became more focused when I saw the damage done to the dogs teeth, mainly their canines, and priced what it would cost to have those teeth fixed, $3,000 to $4,000 per tooth.  But after awhile I gave up, the damage to the teeth had been done, and they seemed so proud of themselves as they carried their bloody catch back to the front porch.  Once again I was defeated by my dogs behavior.  Of course I rooted for the armadillo.  But instinct told the armadillo to flee.  It was its nature.

 

Original Publication: http://nondoc.com/2016/02/20/of-armadillos-and-generals/

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