Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Travis the Chimp

I'm sure most, if not all, of you have heard the story of the 15 year old chimp named Travis that mauled a woman in Connecticut yesterday. The release of the 911 tape of his owner calling for help is heart wrenching. I cannot imagine the horror that these two women went through.

Having had pets over the years, I know the connection you can make with an animal. I loved our golden retriever, Eve, so much that I still have her picture as the background on my cell phone and think of her every day... two years after her death.

I heard the owner of Travis is a widow who also lost her daughter a few years ago and that the chimp was like a child to her. As a mother, I cannot imagine anything worse than losing one of my children. As a wife, I cannot imagine losing my husband.

We once had two half lab/half golden retriever dogs named Goldie and Shadow. They were wonderful dogs and incredibly well behaved. We got them because a neighbor behind us had so many cats we could not count them. The cats would come into our backyard and do their business in our planters. Our children were 6, 5 and 3 at the time and we quickly grew tired of the invasion of our space. I contacted animal control because there was a law limiting the number of cats you can have in a residence to four. I was told that we could rent a cage for $30 to trap the cats and then call for them to be picked up... no thanks.

We had Goldie and Shadow less than a year when my husband found a dead cat in our yard. The dogs had eaten all its insides. We were very disturbed. We then learned from our next door neighbor that the dogs were jumping our fence at night and going after cats. We put them in our garage at night. They started jumping the fence during the day so I chained them in the yard.

One bright and sunny afternoon I had them in the backyard without being chained. I had all of windows open and had been in and out of the yard. They really were sweethearts. They jumped the fence and in the space of 20 minutes hunted down and killed two cats in front of many of our neighbors. A posse' came to our house and demanded we put them down. One of the men said they hunted as a team and that they were so intent that he could not stop them.

We talked to our vet... once dogs start hunting and eating fresh meat they lust for it. The Humane Society will not adopt out animals that have killed other animals. We had to put them down. I had to take them myself. I will never forget having to say goodbye to them and then walk back through the parking lot to my car as I could hear shots being fired from a nearby firing range. It was so unfair... we got them to keep the cats out of our yard and then we had to put them down for doing just that. The neighbor with the cats? Nothing was done.

Animals are animals. I'm afraid that in our society animals are wrongly humanized. From the earliest ages our children's' heads are filled with the personification and/or characterization of animals, plants, and things. Human thought and feelings are attributed to almost everything. Stories of people raising wild animals and domesticating them often spark a desire in some to do the same.

I've stated on this blog before that I'm not one of those Christians that God speaks to in an audible way. I just don't get that. I have so many unanswered questions and yet still have faith. It is so clear when I stop to consider creation all around me.

"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has show it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and the Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man - and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. Therefore, God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen."

Romans 1:18-25, New King James Version

I think it was on my political blog that I said that I believe God could have created everything in six days but that I don't know if he did. I've met Hugh Ross and read The Creator and the Cosmos. I am also familiar with Ken Ham and Answers in Genesis. This is a divisive issue among Christians. Ultimately, I came to the conclusion that this is not a salvational issue and that, for me personally, it is okay to say I don't get it.

Due to Jesus' words in Matthew 19:4, "Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning 'made them male and female,'..." I do not believe that humans evolved from apes. I believe that humans were created separately and that we posses abilities and souls that animals do not. My confusion lies in how long creation took.

It is interesting to me that those who believe in evolution often use behavior in the animal world to explain and/or condone certain behavior in humans. I think of it as a sort of de-evolution. It is confusing to me because if they believe we are evolved from animals then shouldn't we be beyond animal behavior?

We live in a world where the truth of God's creation is being suppressed through evolution. We live in a world where animals are elevated on par with, and sometimes even exalted above, humans. In some circles even plants... trees specifically... are attributed with human feeling and rights. Our very nature is different from animals. Animals cannot be trusted to reason and make human choices.

My heart goes out to this woman and her friend. I am praying for them and their healing. I cannot imagine having to try to stab a pet that was a beloved part of her life for 15 years. I cannot imagine having to call for help to have him killed. I cannot imagine the pain of watching a friend be attacked by a pet she trusted. This is truly a tragedy. I hope it is a lesson to all that animals are and always will be... animals.


Angela said...

What a powerful post Coffee..I didn't hear about it at all...How sad though. I will be praying for these ladies also...Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

Thank you also for sharing from your heart your thoughts about evolution and God's creation, and His Word...I LOVED it!

Christina said...

So sad. How true it is that people give animals/pets human qualities and priviledges. However, people are also so easy to turn and want the owners punished to the extreme full extent of the law when a pet acts on the instints it was born with and behaves like the true animal that it is. Its very sad..
Boys will be boys.... and
Animals will be animals.

On another note.... thanks for the offer, but you can keep your parrot.. even if it is free.

hanagrace said...

Wow. Sobering, but good to hear. I'm so sorry about your dogs! I remember when our dog Charlie (when I was like 10 or 11) had to be taken to be put down because he was too aggressive and hadn't been properly trained, and had tried to attack people.

Sandi McBride said...

My heart goes out to Travis, too...a creature raised in a habitat not his own. Who is to blame? Only God knows, and Travis was one of His creations, sad...
Great post

noexcuses said...

What a terrific post! It is very well written. I have been listening to the radio news about the incident. The 911 call broke my heart!

Thank you for sharing your story about your dogs, too. How heart-wrenching that must have been!

I've often thought about creation and evolution and if they could ever co-exist on some small scale. Thanks for your comments on this.

Laura ~Peach~ said...

great post i agree animals are animals and I have spoiled animals here...

as for creation one thing i have always kept in mind is that one day is as 1000years to god and vice versa... so was it one day or one day on God's time??? either way he created it all and it is amazing to me!

Love you KJ :)

Karen Deborah said...

Excellent post intelligent post! It makes me mad about your dogs. they were behaving like pack animals, what they ARE. sickening isn't it.
i understand you can't have dogs eating up other peoples pets but it still sucks.
i don't have an issue with the creation week. God could make it all in 6 minutes if he wanted too. All he has to do is speak it. i think the week is for our benefit. but I am a very literal thinker.
On a lighter note I have to tell you that I made my MR. Read the post about your Mr's pants. I almost peed mine with his response;
which was.....are you ready for this? "I didn't think it was very funny, I have some pants like that."

Rick said...

Hey Bean, interesting thoughts coming out of that "bean" of yours. Science has taught us that time is relative to mass and velocity. (The theory of relativity). When the Bible says that the world was created in six days, the question is whose time are we talking about? Man's or God's? What is the mass of God. What is the velocity of God? I don't know, but I'm figuring His "day" is a whole lot different than yours or mine.

Bogart in P Towne said...

Two quick thoughts...

1. You are right that it is not a salvation my buddy says, it is "shadow's of the gospel". Fun to talk about and debate, but in the end, not essential to the hope that we have.

2. The answer that I have settled on with regards to 6 days of creation...and this is after 3 years of seminary and 15 years of part-time ministry...God's time is not necessarily our time. He could have done it in 6 human days. I don't deny He has that power. I also am comfortable knowing that to God a day may not mean 24-hours.