Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Animal Cruelty

This is a hard post to write because I am such an animal person. I enjoy being around animals. They are therapeutic for me.
Look at this cuteness!
I've mentioned that a couple of months ago, we lost our pet fish, Fluffy. We adopted a new pet shortly after, a gerbil named Mojo. He is a cute little furball. Merlin definitely is fond of him!


Unfortunately, two weeks after bringing Mojo home, we had a major incident with Mojo and Smalls that almost gave me a heart attack.  It's still hard to talk about it, which is probably why this post is 2 months passed the incident.

Smalls wanted to play with Mojo. I'm downstairs getting Mojo's play box ready for Smalls to bring him downstairs. She opens the cage and tries to grab him and like any little rodent, he runs away. He is still getting used to us and doesn't know that we will not hurt him. Five minutes passed and I'm wondering what is taking so long. Maybe Mojo is extra scared today? I go upstairs to check on them and I see blood everywhere on our white rocking chair. My heart immediately starts pounding really fast. I ask Smalls, "what happened? I need you to tell me now what happened?". Smalls starts speaking, "I squeezed him". Thoughts began to run in my head. Oh my gosh. She tried to kill him! This is the third animal she has tried to kill. What am I going to do? She is going to be a sociopath when she grows up. I can't bury a little gerbil. Those are not flushable. We just had a funeral for Fluffy. Holy crap!

I tell Smalls to go sit downstairs (at this point I am so scared to talk to her because I am definitely not thinking clearly and I don't want to end up in jail for murder). I put Mojo in a small box to observe him. He hates me touching him and is now scared for his life. And of course he is peeing blood everywhere. I call my mom to help calm me down because at this point I need to distract myself from Smalls. She reaffirms what I'm doing (observe Mojo, see if he eats, drinks and poops). Ya'll, it took me 45 minutes to calm down. I didn't even speak to Smalls during this time. Smalls was crying uncontrollably and I couldn't help regulate her because I was so FREAKING mad.

Wheww... My blood pressure is rising just writing this out. Break time.

Ok. I'm back. I get Smalls regulated, which takes about 30 minutes because she is scared too. She actually told me she thought I was going to kill her. I reaffirmed her that I wasn't going to kill her and that I love her no matter how many bad choices she makes. And by the way, I've never ever told her that I was going to kill her. I think from her foster care home she was told that a lot. Now have I thought about it? For sure, like any other parent who's parented kids that make terrible choices. I asked her why she squeezed Mojo and she said she was mad. Like any other child with a traumatic past, Smalls hides her feelings under the umbrella of mad. A couple minutes later of asking questions and talking, I figured out that she was mad because she couldn't control Mojo. She lost her own self-control because Mojo was not in her control and he didn't want to be caught by her. She felt hopeless and need to take control with her behavior-which is the ultimate no, no! We use words not behavior.

We do a redo.We practice trying to catch Mojo and then getting mad. But this time, we go ask mom for help instead of taking things into our own hands-no pun intended. After this ordeal was over, I realized we have got to practice more about getting angry and then using our words instead of our behavior to act out our frustrations.

My heart never pounded so fast in my life during all of this. I felt so sick to my stomach, I couldn't even eat till the next day. It took me about a week to fully calm down. I was shaky and a complete nervous wreck.

Now, Smalls is not allowed to play with any animal without adult supervision, at least until she can get a handle on using words and not her behavior, by the way that is my favorite saying to her.

"I'm sorry. I don't understand your behavior. Would you like to try words?"

"Use your words. Not your behavior."

Here's an article about animal cruelty and adopted/fostered children:
https://www.fosterparentcollege.com/info/connections/Connections-060111.pdf

I bet you are wondering about Mojo and if he made it out alive. Well, I am so thankful to report that he is alive and well. For a whole entire month after this incident, he did not want a human touching him. He would bite and squeal if you picked him up. I started giving him some kale to try and win his affection back. It is slowly working. He is beginning to trust me the more I play with him and show him love and not hurt.

Have you ever dealt with something like this before? How did you react?

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