When Animals Attack: Part Two

Warning: This post contains a photo of a skeleton and a clown.

I don’t normally spend a lot of time thinking about wild animals, but lately they’ve been forcing my hand. For example, last week Ohio made the news when a crazy person released his entire menagerie of beasts plus a monkey into the surrounding neighborhood. It was a sad episode in my state’s history. All of the animals were shot (but not before eating the monkey), and as a result I started to second-guess my plan to take the kids to the circus.

We were supposed to go as part of the V-meister’s 8th birthday celebration, but I felt that perhaps I should take a moral stand against circuses in general. Plus I worried that PETA might show up and torch the place. But I had purchased really good seats and I’d been looking forward to the circus, so there was no turning back.

The circus is no longer under a tent. Instead, it’s at a venue called the “Quicken Loans Arena.” But I have to hand it to those Ringling Brothers – they really know how to put on a show. All of the usual circus suspects were represented, including clowns, acrobats, tightrope walkers, and a human cannonball. Jonas was so enthralled by the clowns that I’m holding the Ringling Brothers plus Barnum plus Bailey personally accountable for his decision to become a clown when he grows up. He wants to put on “The Funniest Show on Erf.”

But I must admit I was conflicted about the animals. On the one hand, they were fascinating to watch; on the other, they seemed out of place at Quicken Loans Arena.  A whole herd of elephants came out and did tricks, like standing on their hind legs and rolling over. Ponies and zebras also performed, and there were many ferocious tigers, though they stayed inside their cage. During the pre-show, an elephant painted a picture with his trunk, though I have to tell you it wasn’t anything to write home about, talent-wise. It made me a bit uncomfortable that that elephant was on a basketball court and not in the Saharan plains. And that he was wearing a headband

The next day we headed to Lithuanian camp in Michigan for a weekend of fall fun, and guess who was there?

A roving pack of wild coyotes.

Longtime readers may remember that during last year’s Fall Camp Weekend, me and my friend V were almost killed by a deer.

This year, the only evidence of deer ever having roamed the campground was a pile of bones next to the lake.


Despite all the fun things we did – including a costume party, trick-or-treating, and a hayride, going for a walk past the deer bones was probably the high point of the entire trip.

"Let this be a lesson to you, kids."

This one was probably uncalled for.

But those deer bones got me thinking (again!) about animals and the circle of life. Was the deer’s predicament, I wondered, any worse than that of the circus elephants?  Should I be eating hamburgers and wearing leather belts? And why the hell were there coyotes at Lithuanian camp?

Later that night there was a Halloween party. The P-Dawg and I dressed up as Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Coyote Wolf.

Me and the P-Dawg in costume

Very “full circle,” don’t you think?

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10 thoughts on “When Animals Attack: Part Two

  1. Kat

    I’ve been to the circus once in my life when I was little. I hated it. All of it. It doesn’t help that I despise clowns. They seem to come from everywhere when you are at a circus so it was kind of my nightmare. Plus it smelled. An elephant took a huge crap right in front of me and it sat there for the rest of the show. Right in front of me. And yes, I felt SO SAD for the animals the entire time. They all looked depressed. And I remember being impressed with NOTHING at the circus. I just could not understand what everyone thought the big deal was. It seemed chaotic and messy and blah.

    I would MUCH rather go to Lithuanian camp. Coyotes and all! ;)

    LOVE the costumes! :)

  2. Andrea

    Have to admit that it was quite heart-breaking to see all those “dead” escaped animals…. in almost execution-style slaughter. While I enjoyed the circus as a kid, I just can’t help but think that we’re exploiting these animals. It’s certainly not a matter of survival for us like food & clothing…just pure entertainment. Skip the circus next time. Keep the outdoor camp…deer, coyote & all.

    1. Rima Post author

      Andrea – I think the circus could be just as entertaining – maybe even more so – with just human performers. I loved watching the acrobats and the tightrope walkers! The human cannonball was also fascinating, though I had to make sure and tell Jonas, “Don’t try this at home.”

  3. amy

    I love the fact that you go to Lithuanian camp as a family. Sorry about the coyotes. We have them in our ‘hood and they are yippy loud. Great costumes too.

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  5. Becca

    That picture with the deer bones is hilarious. I don’t know about the animal part though. I agree that there is plenty of interesting stuff at a circus without the animal acts, but I guess that’s just a carry-over from a hundred years ago when ciruses began.

  6. Janelle

    WoAi – Thanks, but I am not going to Burkina Faso! And apart from people wearing tweed suits, I like your country. Although techincally it is a permanent position, I will try to make it a temporary one

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