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I Buried Maia Today
Article ID: 13465
Age Group: Adult
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Posted: October 11th. 2009
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I buried Maia today.
She came to me because I serve the Wild God, because part of my calling as a Nature-oriented Witch is to help Man’s Best Friend. She came to me because I do not understand how my fellow Pagans can be so concerned about the treatment of a panda in a zoo in China, and yet think they need do nothing about the abused dog next door. She came to me because my ancestors considered the hound to be a sacred animal, a friend, a fellow hunter, and a protector. Therefore, I protect them.
I buried Maia today. Maia was a 2 or 3-year-old black, white and brown beagle. Born into a puppy mill and kept there to become a momma, or breeder, she came to my rescue obese, frightened, unsocialized and pregnant.
Now folks, lets makes perfectly clear here, there are excellent dog breeders, dog breeders, irresponsible dog breeders (back yard breeders generally fall into this category) , bad breeders, and then there are puppy mills.
Puppy mills are to dog breeding as feedlots are to farming.
Think filthy dogs in small pens or cages, maybe stuck indoors hidden in a barn or shed, never seeing the sunlight, stacked row upon row, and on top of each other. Fed with automatic feeders (aka pig feeders) and such, their cages being cleaned out once a week by a person with kicking boots, a swinging shovel, a yelling voice and a garden hose.
Think half starved dogs lying in a mud-filled outdoor pen that may or may not be smaller than your living room. Shivering with cold or panting from the heat, fighting over not enough food. Drinking water out of poo and mud filled puddles and dirty dog dishes. Not just one pen with one dog, but several dogs each sharing a pen and there are many pens one after the other. Maybe they have an old car rusting in their pen as shelter, maybe a flea ridden and filthy dog house, if they are lucky.
You might never know they are there; often tucked away in a dilapidated barn you figure is just being used for storage. Or they are up in the “back forty” the back parts of a farm, hidden behind trees and bushes.
You probably won’t hear the dogs bark, for a pipe is often shoved down their throats to de-bark them. Or they are so badly beaten the first few times they bark, they never do it again. We have seen dogs rescued from such places take 3 months of loving care to make a sound, and then will run away in fear of being hurt for it.
When a bitch is in heat she is chased down and pulled out of her pen and then shoved into another pen with an equally mistreated male. These dogs might be related to each other, but chances are the mill owner doesn’t remember or care about such things.
If the male is too big or rough for the girl and he hurts her, if the female turns nasty during the mating and bites the male, they are kicked or water is dumped on them. If the male is lucky, he may receive treatment for his bite. If the female is lucky, she will receive an extra portion of food after being bred.
They are fed the cheapest possible dog food along with little more than slop or scraps. They may have a cow or pig carcass tossed into their pen every now and then. They are often fed just enough to stay alive, becoming emaciated, especially the males.
The females, because they are pregnant much of their lives, may be fed large quantities of cheap dog kibble, along with cow brains or pig hearts and gods knows what else. However with a complete lack of exercise and being over bred they often become dangerously obese.
They are not bathed, they are not groomed, their claws are not trimmed, their teeth are not cared for, the mats in their fur are not cut out, burs or sticks that get caught in their coat are not removed. A litter of pups off to the pet store or dog broker might be washed beforehand, and that is likely the first time they have ever seen clean water, let alone been truly clean them selves.
They are not housebroken, they do not know how to walk on a leash, they do not know how to “come” “sit” or “stay”, and their brains are not stimulated in any way. The only things they are taught are fear, pain, hunger and mind crushing boredom.
They are not given toys, they are not given blankets to lay upon, they are not given bones or treats, they are not petted or loved, they are not told they are good dogs, they do not see the outside world, they are not even given names.
The females and pups for sale might be de-wormed or treated for fleas, but often the boys are not. Not cost effective. This means they have to endure fleabites, mite bites, tick bites, mosquitoes and worms.
The best and brightest dogs are not the ones selected to be bred, as any dog will be bred. Even those who carry a genetic defect like a heart condition or an elongated soft palate.
Combined with the inbreeding and breeding strictly for looks you find happening too often amongst show dogs in kennel clubs, we have a serious issue on our hands. Too few people are breeding healthy dogs, for health, brains, ability, personality and then looks.
The mommas give birth alone and often unassisted in a small breeding pen, some newspaper and a brooder light (heat lamp) are her only comforts. She is bred twice a year from the time of her first heat (6 to 12 months) until she is too old or dies, often producing dozens upon dozens of puppies in her lifetime.
It is considered acceptable for 1 or 2 pups from each litter to die. If a momma has too many pups and she may struggle to care for them all, rather than supplementing the pups from a bottle and caring for them, the mill owner will simply kill the smallest ones. If the mill owner comes along in the morning to check the breeding pens and finds a dead mother and/or litter, he simply removes them and considers it a write off.
Minor injuries are typically not treated, left to become infected or worse. These dogs probably never see a vet. Any veterinarian, who saw a dog in the condition these dogs are in, would be making a report to the authorities. Unless the vet is on the make of course, receiving money under the table to look the other way.
Any dogs that come down ill or injured are simply taken ‘round back and shot, even the pregnant females. These dogs are simply livestock, even less than that, and they are easily replaced. There’s always another bitch due to whelp anytime now, after all.
The dead dogs are buried with the rubbish and farm waste. No words are said, no stones are lain, no pet funeral like the ones practiced in backyards and gardens all over the world. Here Man’s Best Friend is tossed away like garbage and then buried with a tractor or backhoe in a field or pasture somewhere.
The puppies are weaned and taken from their mommas as young as 5 weeks of age, far too young. This often causes them to have issues as grown dogs. For their mothers do not get to raise them at all, never mind in a proper environment. So they don’t know how to be dogs. They often have no idea how to greet other dogs or act around them, they are dogs that are spooked by everything for no apparent reason, they are difficult to train and take to new environments. They suffer terrible separation anxiety and display food aggression.
They may find themselves surrendered to a shelter by a frustrated family that has given up on the poor dog who seemed like a good idea when they bought him, on impulse, from a pet store a year ago. Not able to handle these dogs, the shelter often has to make the hard decision to put the dog down, if the dog goes to a no-kill shelter, they may never be adopted out because of their behavioral issues and spend the rest of their life in a kennel.
Welcome to a throw away society. Welcome to a world where nothing is sacred.
As a Pagan and Witch I see everything as sacred, even the dog about to be shot and killed at a puppy mill. Even the “family” dog receiving a lethal shot at a shelter, turned in because he jumped on the children. Do you, can you, dare you?
Maia was born into a puppy mill and by the time she was rescued and brought to us she was overweight, had never been indoors, and had never taken a treat from a human’s hand. She was afraid of the broom, mop and shovel. She was also sweet, desperate for love and to trust and has a gentleness to her that drew you into her dark brown eyes. I named her Maia, which rhymes with Gaia.
Maia was also pregnant with an unknown male’s offspring. She was too fat and neglected to be having babies, but she was nonetheless. I gave her lots of good food and easy, rambling walks. I built her a lovely breeding box in the spare room of the house.
I was up all night with her as she gave birth. Stroking her and encouraging her, offering her drinks of water with a bit of corn syrup in it. She gave birth to three boys and five girls, all are strong and all the same colors of their mother.
I tied and cut each cord reciting my cord charm as I did so; “With these three knots I bless thee and welcome thee into the world”
I cleaned up the mess, gave Maia food and had the vet come by the next day to check her. All seemed to be well.
A few days later Maia was no longer doing so well, she was leaking too much fluid after giving birth, she wasn’t eating, her milk was not coming in anymore and she had a slight fever. The vet ruled out all the usual suspects, milk fever, puppy or placenta still inside, etc. All I could do was keep trying and hoping, I gave her antibiotics paid for with dear coin, and I gave her extra vitamins and protein.
But slowly and surely over the next 24 hours she began to slip away. The vet could do nothing more, I could do nothing more, he gave me some painkillers to ease her suffering. I began to bottle feed her babes as I kept watch and waited.
I came back in to her room after having some lunch and found her laying just outside her babes box, on her soft blanket, so still, almost gone. She didn’t move as I lay down beside her and began to stroke her from head to tail. Her heart barely beat, her breathing almost discernible.
I told her she was a good dog, the best dog, that she was beautiful and gentle and sweet and a good momma. Her tail lifted ever so slightly for the last time, as she tried wagging it. I sang to her, sang the name she barely knew. I told her that the pain would stop soon, that she would be able to rest, that I would care for her babes.
I smiled in to her fading eyes, the last thing she saw.
I said, “That’s a good girl, Maia. I love you. Good dog.”
Then she died in my arms.
I wept and I raged. Then I bottle fed her babes.
I buried Maia today, in the garden beside the apple tree under the raspberry bush. Tomorrow or the next day, I might have to bury another. Such is the life of a rescuer, such is the life of a woman god-owned by the Horned One, who is called to face the cruelty of mankind and save what precious few animals she can.
Maia had 60 days of love, joy, comfort and safety in her life. Just 60 days.
I will take in the unwanted
I will clean the filthy
I will feed the starving
I will love the unloved
I will heal the wounds
I will mend the broken hearts
I will make their pain my own
I will sooth their fears
I will fight to regain trust that has been lost
I will be a custodian of second chances
I will harden my heart to the cruelty of mankind
I will sleep on the concrete floor of a kennel
I will weep for them
I will be brave for them
I will hold my hands steady
I will smile for them
I will rage at what was done
I will bear their burdens
I will be an example of strength
I will be pack leader
I will hold their lives in my gentle hands
I will renew
I will find them loving homes
And if what was done will take their life
I will hold them as they breathe their dying breath
I will lay them to rest
I will pray for their souls
And I will mourn each one
Because there is no one else for them
I buried Maia today, even though it broke my heart, because I believe that being a Nature worshipper should be much more than sitting in your living room, meditating on imaginary trees.
I buried Maia today.
Copyright: Juniper 2009
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Location: Ottawa, Ontario
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