Thursday, April 28, 2011

One Little, Two Little, Three Little Life Lessons

Our dog Hank found himself a few fun toys to play with the other night.  He dug up a rabbit's nest.  We were able to save three of the babies from his overly joyful grips. 

We didn't really have a plan for the rabbits, just thought they would be cute to show to Monkey and didn't want Hank to unnecessarily torture them all.  Once we brought them insde though, Monkey was in love.


So then we were faced with the dilemma of what to do.  We could try to put them back in the nest, but we didn't know if the momma was still around and if she was, would she take them back after we had handled them?  Hank knows where the nest is now, so odds are good he'd just get them again.  Two of the babies were not so carefully played with by Hank, they could have internal injuries.  Would they even survive?  Do we try to raise them ourselves?  The thought of bottle feeding baby rabbits every 3 hours isn't something I relish.  I'd honestly rather have another baby if I'm going to be up during the night anyway.  

I then started thinking, what would be easier: the rabbits disappearing now and Monkey never seeing them again?  Or trying to raise them, getting attached and having them die later?  Disappearing now seems like the much easier solution.  

But, isn't that one of the great parts of growing up a farm kid?  I cherish the memories I have of bottle feeding calves, raccoons, goats, and whatever other random animals we raised throughout the years.  I want Monkey to have those experiences too. 

Yes, there was sometimes pain.  Animals died.  Some we coudn't nurse back to health, others disappeared, and some ended up on our dinner table.  We were sad, but at the same time, it taught us about life and death and we learned from these experiences.  

It seems that there is a disconnection from death in our present society.  People don't want to talk about it.  If the family's goldfish dies, the parents would rather flush it and get a new one with the child never knowing, than to deal with the possible tears.

While I don't ever want to cause Monkey pain or see tears run down her face from having her little heart break, I do want her to value the life cycle.  I want her to know where the food on her plate came from and how important it is to nurture the livestock that ends up there.  I want her to know that no matter what happens on the farm or in life, life continues.  

That was a lot of thinking inspired by three tiny creatures, but it got my wheels spinning.  And I think we might just keep the rabbits.        

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