Saturday, March 23, 2013

Acts of Kindness are not always easy.

With all the political and social tensions in the country today, I sometimes feel overwhelmed, confused, and angry.  It's often my cat who brings me a level of peace and tranquility, just by climbing onto my lap and loving me. 

Our pets are more than "just animals" ... they are deeply loved members of our families.  The pain of losing a beloved pet is bad enough when we know what has happened ... disease, injury, or old age. 

But when a pet disappears and you never find out what happened to her, that has got to be the most awful feeling.  A few weeks ago I witnessed a dog being hit on the busy, high-speed I-10 between San Antonio and Houston.  I actually screamed out loud (luckily, I was alone in the car), and drove for miles to find an exit and go back to find out if it survived.

By the time I got back to the dog, she was dead.  I foolishly (!) crossed the freeway on foot to get to her.  She was the most beautiful black-and-white collie ... maybe a border collie.  Her fur was rich and luxurious, obviously very well cared-for and loved.  I struggled to pull her farther off the freeway, so that her body wouldn't be hit again, and removed her tag in order to notify the owner.

Then followed a full day of stressing over not being able to reach the owner, and questioning my decision to remove the tag from the collar.  The tag had the dog's name and the owner's address and phone number.  When I couldn't reach the owner, I began calling veterinarians and groomers in the area, trying to find someone who knew the dog ... all to no avail. 

On my way back home later that day, I drove to the owner's home address in the small town near where the dog was hit.  (Thank goodness for GPS, as I'm hopeless with maps.)  No one was home, so I wrote a long letter explaining what had happened, and where the dog's body could be found.  That night I had nightmares about not being able to rescue her.

I later received a phone call and several texts from the owner.  She was devastated at the loss of her beautiful pet, and said that she was "an escape artist" but had never gone onto the freeway before.  The lady was very grateful to have been notified, and for the return of the tag.  Although I'm still upset over not being able to save the dog, I feel better that at least the owner knew what happened, and was able to retrieve and bury her.

It's not the kind of "random act of kindness" that I enjoy doing, but it may have been the most rewarding.