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SchmittenJuly 14, 2008

I found a kitten this morning. I was driving to work and I saw it, sitting peacefully right on the white line, just out of traffic's way. I thought, huh. That's weird. That kitten isn't running away from the cars whizzing right in front of her. I passed her, and two seconds later I realized she must be hurt. I pulled over. Ran back. Picked her up.

She was about 16 weeks old, I'd guess, just at that age where they start to put on weight and fill out and lengthen. She was white and fluffy, with dark smudges at the paws, nose and ear-tips. I approached. She just sat there and looked at me. There was a trace of blood at her lips. I picked her up. She didn't fight me, not at first. I walked as gently and as quickly as I could to my car, half a block up the street. When I opened the door of the car, she started to fight, but I held on, and tucked her into a spot by the wheel-wheel on the passenger-side floor. She curled up and just looked at me. I drove to work, just two more blocks down the road.

I made calls. I'm only visiting the area and I didn't know who to call first. The best I could find that early was an emergency vet thirty minutes up the road. I couldn't take that kind of time off. There was no one to work my position, and it would have been at least an hour round-trip. I wouldn't be allowed to leave.

So I called the animal shelter. I found out where the supervisor was. I drove the two blocks to meet her at the police department (I didn't even ask permission to leave -- I was scared they'd say no, just said I'd be right back), and I loaded the kitten into the crate. There was more blood coming out of the kitten's mouth, and she could only crawl on her belly when she entered the crate -- she couldn't bear weight anymore.

The animal shelter woman nodded at me. I opened my mouth. She gave me a look. I didn't ask. I couldn't.

So I can still tell myself that perhaps the supervisor fell in love with the fluffy thing and got the thousands-of-dollars emergency surgery she needed and will adopt her to a loving, happy, indoor-cat home. But really, I know that she was put down. I know that she was dying and by stopping to pick her up I helped to ease her misery by getting her out of it sooner. If I'd left her to die on the road it could have taken hours or even a day.

But I cried the whole time I drove back to work (all three blocks) and I bawled a message to Lala's phone. Then I wiped my eyes and blew my nose and felt like a monster and went inside and did my work and ignored the others when they laughed at me. Good-natured, non-animal-people kind of laughter. But still. It was a really shitty start to the day.

The day got better. I'm done with my 14-day stint up here. I drive home tomorrow, and I'm going to take the Lost Coast home. The long way. I think a drive along the coast is just what I need. (PS to the locals: KHUM a RAD station. Luckies! You all non-locals might like it, too. I heard good bluegrass, David Byrne, Death Cab for Cutie, and Jack Johnson back-to-back. Listen HERE.)

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Comments

Tears notwithstanding, far better that you stopped than the alternative.

They *laughed* at you??

Heathens. It makes my heart hurt.

But she got some love at the end of life. And sometimes these things *do* work out; my Mom rescued a kitten in the street, and he now has a loving home. Even though it hurts so much to be there while they're hurting, there is the potential for so much good. Like Bart.

It's a good thing no shelters are open now or I'd be tempted to go adopt 50 kittens and bring them all home.

Good on you for stopping. For what its worth - I stopped once for an injured cat. Someone else took her to the shelter (who had stopped as well). A week later that person called to say 'crash' was doing quite well. But even if all you did was make the kitten suffer less, you did good.

And not the laughing-at-you is okay kind of good. Real honest karmic good.

If it was my cat out there, I'd be forever grateful that someone cared enough to see that she was not left to suffer. You did a good thing, even if it was only to shorten the pain and see that she was not alone. It was a good thing.

Oh Rachel, you did a good thing. Poor Fluffy just sitting there and as you said - it could have taken hours or days before she passed. And I'm sure she felt your kindness and knew that she was not alone. One of my kittens recently got killed by a car and the car just drove on. He must have been laying out on the road for hours before I found him. So yea - had it been my kitten I would have been happy that she was not alone and that someone cared enough to help her.
You're a good person with an enormous heart, Rachel.

you made it right.i always admire your courage and your strenght. and.... i would have cried, too.

Bless you for being such an angel. Have I told you how much I love you? Even if you did make me cry at work.

God bless you and your good good heart.

aw, schmoo. you did such a good and nice and kind thing by rescuing that kitten from the road. even if she was dying, the last thing she'll remember is you, being kind to her. that is AWESOME.

hope your day gets even better. the world is a better place because you're in it, dude.

ok...well, I win the softie of the year award: I'm sitting here verklempt with tears of my own. Thanks for looking out for a little life less capable than your own.

You are wonderful, even though you made me cry at work too. xo

Poor little monkey. The same thing happened to me with my hurt robin.

I'd do it again and so would you.

Rachael,

You saved that poor little cat hours of misery. Her last contact with people was compassionate and merciful. You did a very good thing.

I'm sorry, but you worked with assholes and I'm glad you're on your way home. "Good natured" people don't make fun of a co-worker who's been crying. They don't have to be animal lovers to understand the concept of "SHE'S UPSET AND I CHOOSE NOT TO BE A DICK ABOUT IT."

I have fostered kittens that died on me, it is so tragic and breaks my heart every time.

I can not understand people who laugh at anothers pain.

((((Rachael))) you will be home soon and can love your lovelies.

Aww, you're making me teary. You're a good person :)

Since there's always an end -- and not always a happy one -- at least this little kitty had some kindness and love and wasn't left as if she didn't matter. I gave my kitty an extra hug today and am sending cuddly thoughts to you and yours.

bless you for going above and beyond what most people do (like the ones who don't get it). even though it hurt to know the end it would have hurt more to have left her there and wondered if she was ok or could have been helped.
i hope you are feeling better!!

Go home, girl. You've earned it.

And drive safely.,

Oh, Rachel, my heart hurts for you. Everyone else said it, but I'll say it again--you saved that little one a lot of pain. It can hurt to wear your heart out in the open like that, but I think it hurts more not to.

You're good people.

Rachel, I think God put you and La on this earth to care for all those animals in need of some tender care. I am so proud of you for being the person who goes out of her way to help those less fortunate than herself.

You did the right thing, of course, as you know. And you'll be home soon, which is wonderful. xo

i would have cried too. have a safe trip home.

The people you worked with there have been in the middle of that godawful fire fight just like you have. As you pointed out, just because they are not tender where you are tender does not make them bad people. Back off, knitters. If you've never worked in an emergency center, if you weren't there, you have no right to judge.

That's a good thing you did, Rachel. I've been crying all day on and off because my 16 week old Tobey got the snip-snip today. Even though it's probably hurting me more than him. I cried a even more when I read this. I'll give my boy even more gentle snuggles tonight because of this post.

Aww, the poor baby! But, yes, at least she got a little love there at the end of her too-short life.

And, isn't this kind of thing getting to be a habit for you and Lala? Didn't she help rescue a dog under similar circumstances not too long ago?

You are such a kind, loving, compassionate soul.

I'm trying desperately not to pass judgement on your coworkers for laughing at you while you were upset - regardless of the circumstances.

I need to blow my nose now.

You are such a good person. I'm not going to read the other comments b/c I'll get more choked up. You did the right thing, and it wasn't easy, but right nonetheless. Super duper big hugs and then we pat shoulders and go grab a quick drink.

Sometimes all we can do is ease anothers pain. Bless you.

We have 3 cats that normally fight off any other cat that tries to horn in on their home. One evening I came home to a sweet black kitty that they all seemed to have accepted. Before letting her in the house I gave her a quick "once over", and discovered that her whole abdomen was covered in growths. Took her in to my small animal vet, who called later to say that they were all tumors and that the kindest thing would be to put her down. He waited until I could get there, and I held her while he gave her a shot. She purred the whole time. He (good guy that he is) didn't even charge me for anything. Shame on the person that dumped her near my little piece of country, and shame on your co-workers for laughing at your kindness. Jerks!!

!!!! W E L C O M E H O M E,

R A C H A E L !!!

Oh, honey. You gave her the best love you could and she's better off for it no matter the outcome. It's the kind of care from a good hearted stranger that we'd all want for our beloved animals, were they in her position. xoxo

You are SO good. You gave that little soul some love and relief. Can't do better than that, really.

*Sniff.*

I am glad you're coming home! Oakland misses you!

Awwww. Like others have said, even if all you did was allow her "transition" to be quicker, less scary, and less painful, and to have someone who cared about her for a little bit, that's doing a whole lot.

I'm tearing up a little thinking about it.

I'm kind of amazed at the people who would laugh at you for being upset about the situation. (If I'm misreading, and it was laughter-about-something-else, forgive me.)

I'm glad to hear you're getting to go home, to those who love you.

I must stop reading your posts if I don't want to cry. You so frequently bring me to tears, whether they be of joy or compassion and sympathy, your words and the kind soul that shines through them are beautiful and I count myself lucky to be able to experience a little bit of you through your blog. I know I've said it before, but you are a blessing. You were so to that poor injured kitten, you are a blessing as well to all those you send help to, and you are to so many of us who read your words and are made better by them. Thank you, Rachael. Thank you for being you.

Sometimes I'm afraid to read your post!! I have shed so many tears. I stop too. It's hard. I'm crying now and it makes me so grateful that you have helped to lessen the pain of the little kitten. You are such a brave person. I have taken cats that have lost their lives when hit by cars to the Humane Society where they can scan them and look for tattoo's. I'm not brave enough to look for ID's myself! But I think possibly it might give relief if someone is searching for a missing cat. One last thing-I use cloth handkerchiefs.Thanks for speaking out on that as well. I get such an adverse reaction from people I keep it a secret!! Hope you have some lovely restorative days ahead!

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." The Lorax

You're the best and oh, so kind. It's a wonderful thing that you did and if that little kitty could talk I'm sure that she would have said thank you for caring.

Despite the un-kind laughter, don't change who you are. The world needs more courageous, compassionate people like you...I'm a fan :)

That's so hard. I don't know that I would have had the strength to do what you did. On the kitten's behalf, thank you.

Now, I'm going to hug my two big kittens tight.

Laugh at you? How could they laugh at you????? That's not good-natured, that's just mean. You did a wonderful thing, rescuing the kitten from a long, awful death. I don't see how anyone could laugh at you.

the world needs more kind hearted people like you! i was bawling my head off when i read this. see my kitty on my blog--a rescue kitty. hugs to you! chris

Tishooz pweeze? Call me a faiery tale girl, but I just have to believe teh kitteh is okayfine and will go home with you tomorrow. I know you will call the shelter before you leave, even if just to find the outcome was bad, in which case you'll post something else entirely, just to spare our feelings.

I think I love you from afar, dear Rachel, for the light, love and goodness in your heart. You deserve all the happiness life can bring.

How dare they laugh at you? That poor kitten--I'm choked up just thinking about it. At least you were able to get her out the road and help ease her suffering, the poor baby.

Oh man, now all I want to do is get home from work and give my kittens a good snuggle (whether they want one or not!).

Thank you for stopping. I know the kitten felt your love. I bet that kitten will be at the Rainbow Bridge waiting for you to get there.

You brought back a memory for me.
While in high school (over 30 years ago) I found a kitten/cat by the side of the road. I can't remember how I took it to the vets - I would have been walking on my way home from school - but I seem to remember the animal purring most of the time.
The vet was very sympathetic - the cat's back was broken - and he gave her a shot. (All cats are "her" to me, even the males.) Then we buried her in a shoe box in a pasture next to his office.
What I still remember is the sound of the dirt hitting the top of that box. It sounded so final on a grey, overcast and drizzly day.

Janey

You brought back a memory for me.
While in high school (over 30 years ago) I found a kitten/cat by the side of the road. I can't remember how I took it to the vets - I would have been walking on my way home from school - but I seem to remember the animal purring most of the time.
The vet was very sympathetic - the cat's back was broken - and he gave her a shot. (All cats are "her" to me, even the males.) Then we buried her in a shoe box in a pasture next to his office.
What I still remember is the sound of the dirt hitting the top of that box. It sounded so final on a grey, overcast and drizzly day.

Janey

You brought back a memory for me.
While in high school (over 30 years ago) I found a kitten/cat by the side of the road. I can't remember how I took it to the vets - I would have been walking on my way home from school - but I seem to remember the animal purring most of the time.
The vet was very sympathetic - the cat's back was broken - and he gave her a shot. (All cats are "her" to me, even the males.) Then we buried her in a shoe box in a pasture next to his office.
What I still remember is the sound of the dirt hitting the top of that box. It sounded so final on a grey, overcast and drizzly day.

Janey

Many apologies for the multiple copies of my (previous) comment.
I wonder what happened? I'm sure I didn't hit Post more than once.

Janey

I'm so sorry. At least that kitten had a peaceful, comfortable end. That is so hard.

I camped on the Lost Coast about 10 yrs ago. Lovely. And SO very glad my dogs didn't see the bears that crossed our path up ahead of us. Wow.

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