Practical - Index > Companion Animals & Urban Wildlife > Pet Loss Index

Our Alligator
Margaret Pennington
April 10, 2006

I just learned today that our Alligator has been taken from the Pond by our home. He lived here his whole life, having crawled through the drain pipe to reach this Pond before we arrived to live here seven years ago.

Every day we would sit by the Pond to watch him, and to watch our two kitties who liked to play there. He was a reason for us to get out of the house and into the beauty of our back Pond. We probably knew him better than anyone in the other homes around the lake, for no one else sat by the Pond each day but us.

I loved looking for him and watching how in such stillness he could glide through the water. He often only had two tiny eyes and a bit of nose visible above the water. The birds gave him some space, but they also were not afraid of him. I think that they knew the fish were plentiful and that he ate only that and not them. He loved to lie in the sun on the bank and enjoyed its warmth in the winter. As the day heated up he would move to the shade at the end of the Pond and let the water lap at his tail. If he became too hot, he would open up his beautiful long mouth and show its shocking pinkness and his perfect and very white teeth. In this manner he would cool down.

His best friend, was a large turtle, and together they would lie on the bank of the Pond and enjoy the companionship of silence. I always believed that he thought he was a turtle for he had never seen another alligator. He fled into the Pond, just like the turtle if anyone approached. Recently the neighbors across the way from us, placed a lawn chair on their back bank to discourage him from climbing out of the water there. And in his shyness, he was frightened of it and so came to our end of the Pond to sun whenever it was out.

I will miss him. He was the spirit of the Pond and gave me hope that here in sanctuary, the wildness which he was, could co-exist with the tameness which is us. His presence gave our life a memory of great primal power and grace. He could have been a spirit from our ancient past, or just a gift from our present.

The Fish and Wildlife hired a trapper who caught him and bound him up and our alligator, terrified I am sure, was then driven away from his home. When he was killed, as kill him I am sure that the trapper did, he had no comfort. He lived a solitary life and in his solitude he died.

Something in me was killed with him. I will never be able to look at our Pond without looking also for his movement in the ripples of the water. A piece of beauty was lost. I will not forget, as beauty is rare, and rarer still is the living experience of it, which was our Alligator.


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