Senseless act needs explaining

Published 10:57 pm Friday, December 12, 2008

My 13-year-old son and I started raising hunting dogs about seven years ago. I taught him very early on the responsibilities of caring for his dogs. He does the feeding, watering and most of the cleaning, and I provide the vaccinations, wormers and feed.

He has raised 14 puppies over the years and is in the process of raising six more. I would say he has done as well as any adult could have done. His hunting dogs are pets when in their pens, but when collared, loaded and turned lose to run game, they are obligated to do so for him. From the time he turns them loose until the time he puts them away, they hunt and they hunt hard for him.

Last Saturday, when he carefully picked out eight dogs to get the job done, little did he know he would have only seven at the day’s end. Some coward who calls himself a hunter took the life of one of my son’s prized possessions (Ranger) by shooting him with a slug gun.

Email newsletter signup

We tracked Ranger most of Saturday night and worried about him all night. Finally, on Sunday morning when we thought we were close to retrieving the dog, my son walked into the woods to get Ranger and load him into the dog box, only to find him covered in blood, dead from a gunshot wound.

Try explaining to a young boy who has devoted the last five years to raising this pet/friend/hunting dog how someone could do something this pathetic to an animal that was only out to make the boy proud.

I couldn’t explain it to him, and neither could the animal control officer who showed up to write the report.

“How can a man with a loaded gun — that calls himself a hunter — shoot a 25-pound dog that was only doing what I taught him to do,” my son asked me before going to bed that night. “He was just hunting. He never messed with anyone, and he wasn’t even able to defend himself.”

I can’t even imagine stooping that low. My only hope is that the individual responsible for this senseless act reads this letter and realizes what he has done and whom he has affected. I hope he will contact us, because I would like to introduce him to the person he hurt the most and give him the chance to answer the question I couldn’t answer.

No matter how hard I try, I can’t explain to my son how or why that person did what he did.

Ranger will be sorely missed.