A version of something I’d posted here earlier was printed in the Centre Daily Times today, titled Caution: Animals Crossing Ahead (I didn’t write the title!). I’ve had several responses via email, and I wanted to share a few of my favorites. They give me a bit of hope, that there are kind and compassionate people in the world willing to speak up.
From John Harris:
What a wonderful article ! I could hear the cat purr,and it found my heart. Surely all life is individually sacred and we know this in your compassion.
The best to you,
From Denyce Matlin:
Thank you for being there for the cat. Your story broke my heart as I have also stopped to check on many an injured cat. I also tried to keep one from being hit on Atherton one year when Dairy Queen was still there. My husband and I stopped in the middle of the road and flashed our lights as I was bolting from the passenger side car…a truck just ran the cat right down. The cat however was able to get across the street and under some bushes in front of the DQ. The driver of the truck stopped to say he was sorry and he didn’t understand why he didn’t see the cat but then he just drove off. I got the cat out from under the bushes and down to Animal Medical where she was treated for a broken pelvis. We got her into PAWS and into a foster home and she was adopted to live a life of leisure without the fear of cars anymore. She was a young cat and was solid white with blue eyes, therefore she was deaf and never heard the car. It was her first time out of her home in the trailer park there and she just didn’t understand her danger. The owners since they were being evicted from the trailer park since the property had been sold were more than happy to give her up, especially when they heard what the vet bills would cost.
My story may have had a happier ending that time but my heart aches for all the dead animals I see on the road. My husband and I also release wildlife for Robyn Graboski and we know what she goes through with wildlife. I always say a little prayer when I see them and then go home and hug mine all the harder. You have earned some major karma points with your heroic attempt. I will count you in my hero column. Again, Thank you.
From Kimberlee Knepp:
I just read your article in this morning’s CDT. I am a firm believer in letting people know when they have done something truly noble that is greatly appreciated by someone else. I imagine there will be occasions when no one will thank you for countless good deeds you have done over time, but I felt this one commanded that I, a complete stranger, come forward and give you MY thanks.
The care and compassion you showed the cat reminded me of a similar experience I had one rainy afternoon when I saw a baby groundhog get hit by the car in front of me. It too, was left desperately trying to get to the side of the road but its hind legs had become useless. I pulled over, took a small cardboard box I had in the car with me and gently moved the animal off the road. It was still breathing but I knew it only had a minute or so left to live. I left it there beside the road, shielded by the box, knowing at least it did not have to pass on with a cold rain pouring down over its tiny body. That scene has replayed itself in my mind over and over again in the years that followed. I am sorry that you will no doubt have the same thing happen to you, but I hope you will find solace in the fact that at least one person out there understands and that what you did was something that raises you above an average person. I guess heroes are born when they feel that inner need to do something – anything, against all odds. (Our husbands are probably both rolling their eyes at this point!)
I have the greatest respect for anyone who will come to the aid of a sick or injured animal. You are so right about their daily battles for survival, but then to have to deal with the obstacles man puts in front of them, too – like highways and habitat destruction, it just adds another level of difficulty to their lives. I am glad there are others who feel as I do and are not afraid to voice their concerns. If your article makes even one person slow down, keep control of their car and manage to miss an animal just trying to get on with its life, then that will be a miracle. If it makes others at least stop and think, that too, is a good thing. So, on behalf of people like us, I thank you for the article and the concern. I also thank you for taking a moment and staying with the cat. Perhaps if we had more compassion and kindness in our lives for humans and animals alike, this world would be a much better place.
From Hollis Zelinsky:
I just wanted to tell you how moved i was by your extremely well-written essay in today’s paper. Your message of compassion for animals is such an important one; and as a real cat-lover who grew up with many animals (my mother was the founder of PAWS locally), I’m glad that the CDT saw fit to give it top billing on the Views page. Your story of the dying cat was heart-rending and one that I hope will make people stop and think about their often mindless, if not malicious, actions.
You have quite a writing talent. Thank you for using it to promote awareness of and compassion for all the other animals with whom we share the world.
From Joan [no last name given]:
“What a great article in today’s CDT. Thanks for writing it. I, too, am very cautious about looking for animals sitting along the road and I slow down. I observed one day on Westerly Parkway, a gray squirrel running across the roadway and a jeep coming in the opposite direction whose driver steered directly in the squirrel’s direction trying to run over it. Luckily, he missed.
I don’t understand why someone would delibertly hit an animal. Its life is as precious to it as ours is to us. People just don’t care. I was also told that Drivers’ Training classes tell people not to slow down if an animal is crossing the roadway because it will cause an automobile accident. Don’t know if that is true or not. Just amazing!!
These are just my favorite responses…there have been several others so far today. Many warm thanks to everyone who has responded via email, on the CDT site, and on facebook ‘posts’ of the article. I’ve been stunned at the outpouring of people’s own stories of roadkill encounters, and touched that they’re willing to share them with me. I hope others are moved by my article as well, and I pray that at least one animal is saved by someone’s raised consciousness…if that happens, than the death of the anonymous cat that I witnessed and shared will not have been so pointless after all.