Wednesday, October 5, 2011

an Abomination

On our way to Gavel Club, I shrieked.
"What?" said Asherel.
"I think I just ran over a snake!"
"That's good," said Josh, our friend whom I was giving a ride to Gavel club, "Snakes are an abomination."
"Well, I don't like snakes, but they are one of God's creatures," I said.
"Yes," countered Josh, "One of his creatures that are an abomination."

We had our dog agility class that evening. An owner and her dog came in while Asherel was warming up at the weave poles with Honeybun. The dog was trembling. She came over to me and I pet her. She climbed up, putting her forelegs on my lap and licked my face.
"Vicious huh?" said the owner.
"Does she like other dogs?" I asked. She was a powerful dog, and I knew she would be off leash soon. For some reason, my radar was up. Having worked with Honeybun for that difficult year through her aggression, there was something I saw in the way the dog looked at other dogs that worried me.
"Oh yes," said the owner, "She loves other dogs."

Honeybun was working on the A-frame and tunnel near the other dog. That dog had now gone to the weave poles where her owner snapped off the leash. The way she kept looking at Honeybun made me nervous. I went over to Asherel.
"Keep your distance from that dog," I warned quietly.
Honeybun went over the A-frame and into the tunnel when the other dog burst away from her owner's side. I shrieked, "No!!!!" as the dog at first looked like she was going to go in the other end of the tunnel after Honeybun. Instead, she waited until Honeybun came out and then tackled her, snarling and grabbing her by the throat. Honeybun has shown no aggression towards any dog ever on the agility field. However, when we rescued her, she had been starving, and looked like she had been living in the wild a long while. It had taken a full year of patient, constant work to help her understand she didn't need to fight anymore. All her instincts that had helped her survive in the wild came back. She fought back against the stonger, muscular dog. The dog had her jaws clamped around Honeybun's throat. Asherel froze. I was clear across the field but was running over. The two leaders of the class, Laura and Danielle were there within a split second. Daneille reached in that dangerous maelstrom and pulled the other dog off Honeybun. Laura grabbed Honeybun and the owner finally took hold of her dog. Shaking, I led Honeybun away to the fence, and knelt down with the two leaders, running our hands through her thick fur to see if she had been ripped open anywhere.
"I think her thick fur saved her," I said.
"Are you ok?" Laura asked Asherel, as she continued to part Honeybun's fur around her neck, looking for wounds.
"Yes," said Asherel.
"I'm not," I said, still trembling. All I could think was all our hard work over the past three years with this sweet little dog in eradicating the fear aggression, training her to love agility....was it all ruined in that moment?
'Sometimes it takes a while for any blood to show in a thick haired dog," said Laura, "So keep an eye on her, but she seems ok." She and Danielle instructed Asherel to walk Honeybun around the field, and keep shoveling her goodies.
"Before you leave," said Laura, "We'll have her do the tunnel and see how she responds."
The other dog and owner left. I could not look at them. I didn't trust myself to speak. An incident report was filed, only the second one my friend at the dog club said had ever been needed. The only other one, she told me,was of a dog biting the owner's kid.

Honeybun was prancing watching Asherel with her fistful of goodies. She didn't seem traumatized at all.
"In a way," said Laura, "We were lucky it was Honeybun she went after. If she had gone after the Papillon, she would have killed it."
"Yeh," I said, "Honeybun won't take any guff at least."

Laura straightened the tunnel so that Honeybun wouldn't have to negotiate any curves or stress herself unduly.
"Just run her through the tunnel, and reward her big on the other side," said Laura.
Asherel sent Honey through the tunnel, and met her with a pile of food at the other end.
"Now through the tunnel and over the jump," called Laura.
Other dogs watched nearby. I stood at the tunnel exit, just in case Honeybun now decided other dogs were dangers again in her world. However, I needn't have worried. She did the tunnel and jump like she always does- her full attention on the food Asherel was shoveling in her mouth at the end.
"She'll be fine," said Laura.

As we drove home, I thought of the other dog. Had it attacked before? I told the class leaders that fair-minded as I want to be with all animals, I would never want to see that dog unleashed in any agility field again, and certainly, never near my dog. Laura nodded and assured me she felt the same way. I was glad to see that at the bottom of the incident report, there was a paragraph of potential recourse, including booting the dog from the class. There was also a line about where the owner could seek help for aggression issues. I sincerely hope the owner does so. Had Laura and Danielle not been there, I think the dog may very well have killed Honeybun. I don't like to think of any creature as an abomination, but that eruption of unprovoked violence on a field that has been always a source of joy for us was an abomination.

The book of Daniel foretells of an "abomination of desolation." The Anointed One will be killed, and in the temple, the Abomination will be set up instead until the End. In the book of Revelations, the Abomination of Desolation will drink the blood of God's people, until, finally justice prevails and all knees bow to the name of Jesus.

"Was it Honeybun's fault at all?" asked Asherel quietly, as we drove home. That perhaps broke my heart the most, that my beloved child who had labored so long and so lovingly with the little dog would take any blame for something that was not in any way hers to bear.
"Not at all, not in any way, shape, or form," I said, "The dog attacked Honeybun. All Honey did was defend herself."
"So they won't kick us out of the class?" asked Asherel.
"No," I assured my dear girl.
That is the problem with Abominations. They hurt the innocent, the guiltless.

Daniel 9:26-27

26 After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. 27 He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.

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