I was going to follow up on Muskrat Falls and water management agreements today. But I’m still trying to dig up some information.
Besides, I thought it would be nice for a change not to fashion a stick for my back.
Today, I’d rather talk about a little item that caught my eye on the news the other night.
It’s about a dog named Angel.
Angel lives with her owners Anne Marie and Ron Hutton in Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s. The three like to stroll along a path that intersects their cul de sac.
My wife and I lived in Portugal Cove for 14 years.
If you can ignore town politics, it’s a glorious place to live.
We lived near the end of a road that turned into a path leading to the top of Beachy Cove Hill. It was an excellent stroll that meandered along meadows and through a small wooded area, before coming out at the base of a small rocky crest.
At the top — a bird’s eye view of Conception Bay, all within 20 minutes of our front door.
This is dog heaven. We had two dogs (one has since died) and they thrived in that natural wonderland. We’d encounter other dogs along the way, all happily exploring the smells, or chasing Frisbees tossed by their owners.
This is the fringe area of the city. It’s where town meets country, and there’s more and more of it all the time.
With housing developments popping up like mushrooms, more and more people like the Huttons are finding that ideal blend of modern living and rural reverie.
So anyway, as CBC News reported last week, Anne Marie was on the path with her dog, less than a stone’s throw from the road, when she heard a blood-curdling cry.
Angel was caught in an otter trap. The metal vice had a grip on her paw. A dead rabbit had been placed in the trap as bait.
Anne Marie called Ron on her cellphone. Ron rushed over, but couldn’t free the dog’s paw.
Angel was frantic. She cracked several of her teeth trying to gnaw at the trap, which had evidently been placed to catch coyotes.
“It was like a child screaming,” Ron told CBC.
Eventually, they had to take dog and trap to the vet, where Angel’s paw was finally freed.
A few days later, the Huttons received good news: the paw would not have to be amputated.
This kind of story makes me cringe.
I can appreciate that some people dislike or are wary of dogs, or simply don’t care. I don’t understand it, but I respect it.
But most people feel a deep connection with dogs — some perhaps too deep.
Dogs are not human, as many owners like to think, but they share key traits — happiness, fear, playfulness and, above all, loyalty.
Here’s something truly sad. I can watch human violence or misery on TV without flinching. I’ve become far too desensitized to stories of war and suffering.
But put on “Eight Below,” about a sled dog team abandoned at a polar base camp, and I’m a blubbering idiot. Kevin Costner’s “Dances With Wolves”? A pretty dumb flick, but I still flinch when I think of that wolf being hit by a bullet.
Angel’s story is hardly the worst I’ve heard. Certainly not as bad as dogs tethered for months or years and slowly going stark raving mad.
But there’s an important news angle here, as well. With so many new developments bordering wooded areas, the province needs to seriously examine its trapping laws. As the Huttons found out from the province’s wildlife division, you can’t fire a gun near a residential community, but you can lay a steel trap for a pet or even a child to walk into.
That’s like saying you can’t toss grenades, but don’t sweat the land mines.
Peter Jackson is The Telegram’s
commentary editor. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.