Remus Guarding Piglet
Our dogs have a clear and strong urge to guard live animals even though they are quite willing, even eager, to eat the dead. Theirs is a moral argument for both protecting and cherishing life while also eating meat. Pictured above is Remus with Dudley II.
Dudley II was named after the perhaps not so famous pig Dudley. Sometimes a pig gets an infection such as on it’s foot. Hot water baths with a little iodine do a world of good to cure such things. I use the same thing on myself. Heat kills the bacteria that causes infection. This is a case of working with the body rather than against it.
Remus, the dog in the picture in the dog house, and one of his brothers Hanno seem to split the job of caring for Dudley during the piglet’s time in the hospice. Dudley was scared of them at first but soon came to recognize his protectors as being comforting.
The two dogs would growl away the other dogs in the pack, insisting that they were going to do the job of taking care of Dudley. Then they would switch off with each other. It is interesting that the two of them, Remus and Hanno, paired up since much of the time they’re fairly competitive with each other.
I’ve heard people repeat the myth that eating raw meat will make a dog a killer. It is not true. Our dogs eat a lot of pork, cooked and raw. They eat fresh piglets who have died but they have a strong differentiation between the dead, which are food and to be eaten, vs the living pigs who are their charges and to be fiercely protected.
After being nursed back to health by the dogs and our twice daily hot water baths Dudley’s foot healed up and he returned to the south field with the weaners. One more success.
Not all administrations of aid are met with success. This week there was a tiny new born piglet that was not doing well. I found it when checking litters in the south field and we brought it back up to our cottage in the morning. We bathed it and got it to drink a little home made formula. The future did not look good for this piglet but we don’t give up, we offer palliative care. If they can heal then they will and we support them in that. I learned long ago not to euthanize because I’ve seen animals recover from some amazing injuries.
I put the piglet out in the dog house and came back inside to get something. When she went back out it was gone. She asked Remus where the piglet was, fearing he might have eaten it. This would be rather unusual, nay, unheard of, since they bring us the dead to ask permission to eat. It turned out Remus had moved the piglet out of the sun to a shaded spot and was caring for it there. Remus had picked it up and carried it gently in his mouth about 50′ to a better place.
Sadly, even with his’s ministrations that piglet did not make it. It may have been born with something incomplete such that while it was able to survive in the womb it was not viable in the outside world. The piglet died by evening. We divided it up between the dogs. Nothing goes to waste on the farm.
Dogs have their own morality. It is the morality of a carnivore who is also simultaneously protecting their prey. They are both protector and predator. There is no cognitive dissonance. They protect and they eat. It is perfectly natural. It is the way of nature.
Outdoors: 84°F/61°F Sunny, 1″ Rain
Tiny Cottage: 72°F/64°F
Daily Spark: I learned to fix things by bringing home typewriters, radios, TVs and other junk from the dump. I took it apart and sometimes managed to fix it. I didn’t blow anything up. One thing led to another and by the time I was 15 I had designed my first atomic bomb.