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On Killing a Chipmunk

My dilema: was death the kindest thing? Was I responsible for keeping it alive but suffering?

On Killing a Chipmunk

By Eric Lieberman


I had to kill a chipmunk last night.

The two black dogs saw it darting across the ground among the big pines.

We were talking - June, JD and I

When we heard the squeaking.

JD’s dog - a black one year old Shepard named Bailey

Had pounced on the chipmunk

And had it in her mouth.


“Stop” we screamed

And we dragged the dogs away from the munk and put them in our trucks.

The munk lay on the ground

Its back legs limp and akimbo.


“What should we do?” asked June.

JD said: “I can get a shovel. I think it’s back is broken”.


I looked at the little munk 

Now hanging by its two-front paws from the side of a pine.

I said, “we should catch it and keep it like a hamster. We will take care of it.”


“That would be no life for it”, said June. “And,it won’t survive on it’s own.”


JD walked away to get a shovel. 


The munk lost it’s grasp and fell to the pine-needled ground between my feet.


The choice was mine.Should I save it? Should I let it suffer alone and dying through a cold night? Should I end it’s journey on this plane?


This was my job to do and not JD's.

I picked up a stick and hit the munk in the middle. 

It squeaked three squeaks at me.

I hit it once more - quickly and firmly - and it was gone.


I slept restlessly last night - the image of the munk refusing it leave my mind.

And wondering, would it have made it through the night on its own?

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Jim Osburn October 02, 2012 at 06:00 PM
Here is when erudite, urbane man falls short. Someone with more experience in nature would have taken their sharp hunting knife, mercifully slit the litte creaturs's throat--then given the remains to the dogs for their treat.
Marie October 02, 2012 at 06:55 PM
Your dogs followed their instinct and so did you. You most definitely did the right thing by quickly putting him out of his misery and sparing him from further suffering. Its all we can do, so we should.
annie October 05, 2012 at 02:07 AM
I have to check my back yard everytime I take my dog out. She is a bunny hunter. So far this year, I have only had to dispose of 2 bunnies. I like bunnies. I asked the vet why she does that, and vet's answer: thats what dogs do. One spring, she killed 4 baby bunnies. We had dead baby bunnies all over the yard. My dog even killed a mouse this summer and I don't mind that. You definitely did the right thing with the chipmunk.


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