Where were we? Ah yes:
"Mom!" Big Sister yelled. "You killed BUSTER!"
My heart sunk, and my eyes about popped out of my head. Buster?!? WHO the heck is BUSTER???
Little Artist answered that thought, "Yeah, that's LEXI'S dog!"
Lexi's dog? They only met that girl once! And they have two ankle-biters that chase our van, but neither looks like THAT thing! This can't be right! Oh my gosh, I've killed a LITTLE GIRL'S DOG on CHRISTMAS EVE?!??!?
I just wanted to faint away. The presumed owner is a family that lives up at the beginning of our driveway, and the granddaughter who lives there played with the girls when we had been working on the fence in fall. I'd had two interactions with them in the year or so they'd lived there - I took them homemade soup and bread when they moved in, and didn't even get their names in return, and once got a phone call from the grandma when our dog had escaped and gone up to their house to play - our lab picked up one of their dogs (looks like a chihuahua-sized doberman) in her mouth - and the daughter (lexi's mom?) about came unglued. While no one thought our dog was being aggressive, it still (understandably) unnerved the person who considered it 'her baby.'
And I have, lying dead in my backyard, another dog from that household?!?
Like a criminal wanting to turn back the clock, I told the kids (who were really not that upset - they knew the condition our hens were in, and understand that animals who prey on livestock are not to be tolerated) that they were NOT to tell anyone about this! NOT their grandma tonight at Christmas Eve, nor their cousins, nor their friends, nor ANYONE. EVER! I was still a little on edge, do you think? :) They looked at me with big eyes, and asked, "why?" but I don't know that I answered coherently. I was too busy imagining some sweet little girl knocking on my door on Christmas Eve, asking if I'd seen her favorite dog Buster, who had once saved twenty-six kittens from being run over on the freeway (or some other selfless, angelic act). Hurry up and come home, let's get out of here FAST! I still had sewing to finish up, and I managed to, and I even made it through the evening without anyone spilling the beans (I think the next day Hubby had to brag about it to someone, and the notoriety began...).
As it turned out, no one came knocking. If indeed it WAS 'Buster,' he was one kept in a kennel outdoors who "was mean" and from whom the girls hid from on the trampoline when they played with Lexi that one afternoon. [And I've had time to prepare my statement: "Have you seen our dog? Small, brown, long hair, red collar." and I will say, "I'm not sure. Does he kill chickens?" And they will back away, muttering about musthavethewronghouse, and I will close my door with a smile, because we will both consider ourselves blessed. :) ]
And while I certainly felt terrible about having killed someone's dog, I did NOT regret it, if that makes sense. In the country, NO ONE can have an animal that terrorizes, injures, or kills other people's animals. And hopefully (those people did move from town though) everyone understands their responsibility in that way. We certainly do; imagine your animal causing damage to a top milker in a dairy, or scaring a prize racehorse that gets hurt... Wow.
Truth be told, the owner of the dog is liable for the losses it caused. I have obviously not sought that, but I could've called the county animal control and filed a report and all that. I was well within my rights defending our animals on our property, and could've gotten compensation. I felt justice had been done, however, having laid to rest this problem. And besides, it seemed a little much to knock on their door on Christmas Eve, carcass in one hand, cookies in the other... "Is this your dog? Oh good. [dumps body on porch] You owe me $100. Oh, and Merry Christmas! I baked these for you!"
**Lest you be concerned for the alleged Buster, and any pain he experienced, Hubby says he was shot through his ignorant head and was dead immediately - he died much better than my chickens, and that is how you tell the good guys from the bad.