After work the other day, I began my navigation to Target. On my way there, the “busy” road I was a bit busier than usual (you know, busier than the one other time I had been on it before). There was a small incline up a hill, and I saw an older lady standing in the right lane of the 4 lane road looking at what appeared to be an injured animal. So, being the care-taker that I am, I stopped, put my flashers on and went to see if she needed help.
It was unclear at first if she had hit the animal or whether the animal was alive or not. Sadly, the cat was already gone by the time the woman in the bright green fleece stopped her car and there was nothing to be done but to try to notify the owner. Thankfully, we were able to get ahold of the owner (which is actually part of the law in OR – to contact the owner if possible and if not then to contact the local authorities when finding an injured or dead pet.
The owner actually lived across the street and was at work. The lady in the bright green fleece offered to put the cat in her yard… Between the two of us we were able to come up with a piece of plastic to transport the cat to the yard in.
As I watched the lady carry the cat across the street, it felt uncomfortable standing there between our two parked cars. On one hand, traffic was backing up and some getting upset (clearly expressed by the honking of horns) and I was standing there making sure the lady was all right. On the other hand, it felt like we should have done more than put the cat in plastic and leave it in a yard…
Strong mixed feelings describes how I felt… While I have stopped at car accidents with blood, broken bones, and people in shock I have never stopped for an animal that was injured or dead. It should have felt “easier,” but it wasn’t… I was appreciative to see some people in cars driving by give sad glances, because they were actually acknowledging this tragic situation, and in a way showing respect to the cat. At the same time, I was angry at the horn honking cars and the noisy neighbor lady who assumed I just stopped my car in the middle of the road for no apparent reason. Once we told her what was occurring, she expressed a moment of concern and wanted all the details, but then continued to express greater concern for the traffic… I went home and crawled into bed.
So, I guess I need closure by acknowledging and accepting my experience of being there with the cat in that moment. That moment when two strangers took the time to stop and to help with someone’s beloved pet.
To the tortoise cat who lived and died on Halsey Road, may your owner never forget the joy you brought to her and may those of us who are busy passing by in our cars, stop for a moment to acknowledge the circle of life, the very circle that makes it so bitter-sweet. Rest in Peace tortoise cat, rest in peace.