mortal combat and meditation; mean dogs

This morning I wanted to head into the backyard and have some quiet with my mom’s garden and read a book. We have two dogs, and there is a hole in the fence between ours and a neighbor’s yard where another dog, a three legged pit bull named Rugby comes through. Dog body language is so nuanced, sometimes it’s hard for people to tell the difference between play, and real malevolence. So in the grey peaceful light of morning, admiring the growing peaches on my mother’s tree Grace and Rugby began to “tussel.” But Grace rarely is a playful one, she’s the disciplinarian. They weren’t biting and letting go, and they were latched to each other’s heads, and not separating. I was yelling at them to stop and started throwing things at them, when my mom came running out and we started to try and pull them apart, then we started to see blood. My mom went to get the hose and I continued to yell at them, throw things at them and trying to pull them apart. I started screaming involuntarily as there was blood on me, all over them, my mom, etc. My Dad and Kellen came running out from bed and between the four of us we got them apart, Dad put Rugby back through the fence, and immediately started boarding it up, and we all ended up with dog bites on our hands, my thumb actually punctured on both sides and swollen hard now. I have never shaken and breathed so hard in my life. Their eyes red, bodies scratched and punctured from long teeth, I guess the era of neighborly relations between our dogs and yards has ended…What could cause dogs who are generally friendly to turn like that? If we had left them alone, would they have stopped? What are the implications of long periods of peace and cooperation punctuated by what seems to be senseless, or seriously intent violence? Some people take events like this to mean that nature is inherently violent, but to me this focuses too much on the rare moments, rather than the majority of time where living things (with exceptions of course) seem to be peaceful and even, at times, cooperative. One more attempt at meditation and peace this morning, and time for me to think about the idea of mediation and peace, or rather the privilege of peace, in direct contrast with the drama and upset of violent attack.

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