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Wednesday, March 09, 2005

My husband thought I was nuts.

“Why do you always have to get involved with these things??” he said, as I slammed on the breaks and jerked the car to a stop, leaving it idling in the middle of Main Street.

I didn't even bother to answer him; I just did what I had to do. After all, he knew what I was about when he married me. He loves me for it and says that’s why I’m the better half. But there are times when I really push him to understand my compassion. I’d like to think of it as one of my better traits.

I threw my driver's side door open and jumped out, pushing the seat forward to reach my pine green sweatshirt in the back seat. It was one of my favorites.

I yelled for Earl to get in the driver's seat and ran to the center of the road, looking briefly up at the bewildered woman standing on the side of the road next to her car.

She looked at me and muttered, ”I didn't see it... I didn't mean to hit it... What do I do?”

What should she do? Honestly.

How ‘bout nothing, like you already are. After all, you seem to be very good at it, lady.

She really was expecting me to take the time to make her feel better about what she did…

Well, at least she stopped. I’ll give her that.

"I got him", I said and threw my sweatshirt over the cat, whose head was stuck in one spot on the road while the body spun sideways around it.

His neck was so obviously broken, that's why his head was stuck to the ground. But he had a collar, he was still alive, and I wasn't about to let him just lie there and die in the middle of the street because of some stranger and her car.

I scooped him up in my sweatshirt and held him sideways like he had been on the road. He had plenty of blood coming out of his ears and mouth and I knew he didn't have much time. Whether or not he was going to die was not the question. It was more like; I can’t change what happened, so how do I make this better for him. I ran back to the car and jumped in the passenger seat, cat in lap, and told Earl to floor it.

We both knew the cat was not going to make it, but it was someone's pet and he deserved to have someone stay with him to the very end. I would want someone to do that for me.

”Go to our vet”, I told Earl. Fortunately, our vet was only about 2 blocks around the corner. The cat was in a lot of pain, and was starting to shiver.

“Don’t worry little one, you’re not alone.” I stroked his side gently. I could only imagine that I was either adding to him being freaked out or that he had no idea what was going on and only remembered feeling fine one minute and the next - worse than incredibly awful.

Our car screamed into the vet’s parking lot. Of course, the office was closed.

“What? Do you have to make sure cars only hit you during business hours? What the hell?” I was angry, very angry. I was angry with the woman, I was angry with the vet, I was angry at life for being like this. I looked at my husband with desperate eyes, hoping he had a miracle in his pocket.

Just then, a small ray of hope was driving by. It was the vet tech. What were the chances? She saw us standing at the door with a bundle in my arms and pulled her car in. We explained to her our emergency, and she took a peek. She checked his pupils and felt his shaky little striped body.

"Yeah, I think either his neck or his back is broken. He's going into shock, too. The doctor isn't in today, and I don't think this little guy is gonna make to the Ani-merge."

She looked up at me. "He's in a lot of pain. There's another clinic down the street. They might not be opened, but if they are, they may be able to help you put him down."

We thanked her and jumped back in the car. The clinic was only a couple more blocks down the road. The cat was dying with every second.

The car kicked gravel up in the air and a cloud of dust enveloped us upon our arrival. We scurried to the door…

The clinic was closed.

I looked at my husband and he at me. He walked back to the car and opened the trunk, pulling out the tire iron. I handed him the cat. He told me to go away.

My ears rang with one solid smack.

Earl laid the body on the step of the clinic so they could see the collar and find the owner. He walked back to the car to where I stood facing the other way, fingers in ears, eyes shut tight, tears on the cheeks…

And handed me my sweatshirt back.

I never regretted a second of putting my life on hold to help what some may consider too small a life to go through such extreme measures, especially when the outcome is inevitably glum. It just seems so obvious that you have to do what you can.

But I didn't have to swing the tire iron. Earl did.

And when my precious husband with heavy heart thanked me for making him have to do that to a cat and asked why I couldn't have just walked away, I wondered if I go overboard sometimes. I am so sorry I put my husband in such a predicament. So I asked myself - If I was alone with the dying cat with the broken neck who was in shock and bleeding and in pain, could I have swung the tire iron?


It just seems to me that the moment I decide to turn my back and close my eyes to it all, I will lose a very important part of myself. I don't even think that I have a choice in the matter. Apparently, it's an instinct with me. I don't think about it, I just do it. And before I know it, I'm in the middle of it.

What does it come down to? It comes down to this...

Hookey Pookey.

Live by the song, people.

Shit happens. You can either stand by and watch, or you can put your right foot in, and shake it all about.

When you're done, turn yourself around.

And That.

Is what it is all about.