>> Sunday, January 24, 2010
It isn't always easy to do the right thing, especially if you're me, but this week I ran across two examples that I just had to share with you.
One day last week, while driving to my barn, I spotted a horrifically smashed black cat on the side of the country road. I glanced at the cat and then stared straight ahead. I sure hope that's not our barn cat, I thought to myself.
I got to the barn, tacked up Tango, and had a very nice ride. When I was done riding and Tango was in cross ties, Craig (one of the boarders) came in. Have you seen our black cat today? he asked Jeremiah (a terrific barn worker).
Jeremiah answered that he had indeed seen the cat just moments earlier. I breathed a sigh of relief. Then Craig said, Well when you get done here, let's go bury that cat on the road.
That's really nice of you, I told Craig.
Craig's response was simple. If it was my cat I would hope someone would bury it, he said.
I was humbled. It had never occurred to me to do such a thing and it should have.
And then yesterday, I ran into my neighbor Kelly. She was out walking her beautiful dog. We had rather traumatic morning, she said. I was about to let the dog out back when I noticed a squirrel lying on it's back but still alive. Mary Beth and I think it fell out of the tree.
What'd you do? I asked.
Kelly paused. It was so hard, she said, but it was clearly paralysed and suffering. I got a shovel and hit it in the head. I sobbed and sobbed while I did it, she said.
Now the normal me would have been freaked out about killing a squirrel with a shovel. But somehow this act was no different than Craig burying a cat he didn't know. Kelly's act was an act of kindness.
I guess loving kindness doesn't always mean just rescuing, finding homes, or even enjoying our own dear animals. Sometimes it means doing something very difficult that no one else wants to do.
I hope the next time that I encounter a situation like Craig or Kelly I am able to push my horror away and take action. Somehow I doubt it, but at least their examples will remind me of the right thing to do.