I wish I could make sense of his suffering, this wee little pup. Curled up in a tight fuzzy ball in the hay with golden-grey eyes that warily followed our movements as we tried to get a better look at him without getting too close, he was obviously too weak to defend himself.
He probably got chased out of his pack, said our trapper neighbour. His mange was so bad that he had chewed scabby holes in his skin. When mange gets bad enough it can kill the animal.
What got me though, was the floppy ears. He wasn't even old enough for his ears to stand up as prick ears. Also the puppy look on his face reminded me of my own young dog. His eyes didn't plead, though, they just watched.
He had no idea that we humans have medication that could end the torturous itching. He had no clue that we have the ability to alleviate the suffering of animals, that I work every day to prevent pain and discomfort in my canine, feline and equine charges. If we had tried to capture him or give him food or medication, we would have likely gotten bitten. Or at the very least risked spreading disease to our own animals. We tried calling the humane society, the wildlife rescue and the Ministry of Natural Resources but nobody was available to help us help him.
And so we ended his suffering in the only way that seemed responsible.
Yet those eyes haunt me. Those intelligent eyes knew abandonment, left to suffer on his own with nothing to curl up next to and nobody to help him. They were eyes that knew mostly suffering in his short life.
I know the suffering of an animal is insignificant compared to the millions of humans across the globe who live in pain every day, from victims of war to child slaves, but somehow this little guy's eyes reminded me of that dark sea of suffering out there, a suffering I can't fathom or fix. I had trouble sleeping last night.
Come, Lord Jesus. Give me the compassion and courage to fight suffering and pain where I can, and the grace to still live a life of joy.