Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Mourning Commute


I should've grown up on a farm. Maybe then I would be able to cope better with the death of animals.

"I think one of the cats is dead," Domestic Partner told me. He had called me while on his way to work this morning.

He wasn't talking about an actual pet. We only have one kitty who is very much alive and safe. He was talking about one from the handful of stray cats in our neighborhood. We know we're not supposed to feed them (it only facilitates the breeding of more strays), but we started putting kibble and fresh water out in the front yard after adopting our formerly stray kitten. His mother and litter mates are unofficial family, now.

Domestic Partner elaborated. "I saw one of the black and white cats. I think it was the one you call 'Tuxedo,' the one with the white bib. His body is near Von's, by the street you make a left turn on to get to the freeway."

Domestic Partner and I do not have a long list of things in common. Concern for the well-being of animals is one of them, though. It made me sad to think that one of homeless cats that regularly visited our front and back yards was gone. We had known him as a kitten, after all, when he and his siblings and their mother used to hang around our neighbors' driveway.

I cannot handle the unnecessary and unnatural death of animals. I can't even watch the shows on Animal Planet where abused animals are rescued. You just know that for every success story you see of an animal being saved, there are probably a dozen or more stories that ended sadly. It breaks my heart.

And that's how good my life is. That's how easy I have it. How bad can my life be when the worst I feel is over animals that are run over on the freeway? I have to focus on the fact that their pain and fear is already over. I can only hope and pray that the end came as quickly as possible for them.

I know I take it too personally, but it IS personal. My daily commute is fifty miles, round trip, on a small, freeway-legal scooter. Every time I see a flattened, furry body, I think to myself, That could be me.

Why weren't these animals protected from wandering out onto the roads? Why weren't they taken care of enough so that their untimely deaths could've been prevented? Maybe I need to parent my inner child more, to reassure him and make him feel less abandoned.

I did not see Tuxedo cat's body on the way to work this morning. I even made an extra trip around the block of Von's market, on my scooter, to check again before getting on the freeway. I haven't seen Tuxedo cat in a few days, so it must have been his body. Where did it go in the short time between Domestic Partner's sighting of it and my own search? Who or what would carry it away?

I often sing to myself while riding my scooter, sometimes sad songs, but usually happy songs when a recent intake of caffeine is coursing freshly through my veins (like the Choose Your Own Adventure books, it's the choose-your-mood-of-the-day time). I also pray a lot, too, while riding, and many times my prayer is Please let there be more animals placed in loving and protective homes so that there will be fewer of them run over.

I am not realistic to a fault, I know that. But if, in the Real World, we are going to remain helpless--or worse, apathetic--then I'd rather go back and hide inside my plastic bubble world.

Please let there be less pain and fear and suffering, in general.

3 comments:

thelastnoel said...

I get bummed about dead animals as well. Um, cute pic of cloud cat though.

Cheryl said...

Poor Tux. I mourn the morning road kill too. In a weird way, I feel like noticing and caring accomplishes something in and of itself. (Although I think we need to get our act together as a species and do all sorts of tangible things to help our animal friends.)

Superbadfriend said...

There needs to be a billion more people with your heart and compassion.

I hope your Tuxedo baby is well and playing in a field content chasing mice somewhere.

xoxo