A kitten in traffic

This morning, Betty started obedience school. I’ve already taught her a lot, but she becomes overly excited when she sees another dog. I’m hoping that being surrounded by dogs on a regular basis will desensitize her.

On the way home, I saw something crawling frantically away from multiple lanes of traffic. I thought it was a squirrel, but then I realized it was a gray kitten that had been struck by a car. One leg was twisted, and it was pulling the dead weight behind it.

I went to the next exit – it seemed I’d never get there – and drove back to find it. I went down the service road running parallel to the highway, but couldn’t locate the kitty in the grass divider. I made a second pass, this time using the outside lane of the highway. Nothing.

Sometimes I wish we weren’t so rushed. That we’d drive at slower speeds. Some animals would still get killed, but I’m sure many fewer. I don’t like the attitude that anything inconveniencing us should simply be plowed over.

I’m reminded of an incident many years ago. I was momentarily alone on a moderately trafficked road. Ahead of me, a mother duck was scrambling across four lanes. Behind her was her only surviving duckling.

I got closer, and she kept running. I came to a stop, since she was about to run beneath my wheel.

She was in front of my car; almost to the curb. A red pick-up came up behind me. Swerved around. As the mother leapt into the grass, its duckling disappeared beneath the truck’s tire.

The truck stopped a moment, and then drove on, leaving a glassy-eyed mother panting in the grass.

It still bothers me.