Slow Down and Think!
Our sweet boy:
There were lots of tears shared between us today as we buried our beautiful tabby who had just earlier been purring in our arms. A neighbor found him this afternoon lying dead at the curb. We hope he didn't suffer!
Speeding cars on our quiet residential street have prompted us to yell a few times, but losing a pet has really made us advocate for animal safety and awareness.
It's easy to get caught up the daily routine without really paying attention to the details. After a day at work, we just can't get back home soon enough! The freeways and boulevards are clogged with the rush-hour traffic, so when we've reached our exits, we are champing at the bit to put the pedal to the metal. Slow down and think.
Our cars are insulated capsules of comfort with temperature control, bluetooth, and surround sound which can make us oblivious to the squeals of playing children or the commotion of cats, dogs, and wildlife. We are behind the wheels of powerful killer machines. Slow down and think!
Perhaps the driver that hit him was texting or reaching for his coke, it was just a couple of seconds that took his eyes off the road. The shameful part was the blatant disregard for what had happened in this hit and run. "Out of sight, out of mind" for him in driving off, but a family has been heartbroken because a beloved cat will not be patiently waiting on the porch when the kids get home from school. Please, slow down and think!
Be aware and prepared to brake. Millions of cats & dogs are killed on the roads each year as well as birds, squirrels, and other animals. At night it is often hard to stop in time. By the time we see glowing eyes in the darkness, it is too late. As a driver, be aware of areas where animals are likely crossing roads and slow down. Human encroachment into wilderness has forced animals onto highways and into neighborhoods to forage for food. No one wants to be forced to slow for a series of speed bumps, so use common sense.
Consider Safety Precautions:
Pet owners should keep animals indoors or in secured yards, especially after dark. Reflective collars and ID tags further protect them and get them safely home.. Consider having your pet micro-chipped. Secure dogs who ride in the backs of trucks too. They climb to the edges of the truck bed and can be ejected into oncoming traffic during sudden braking.
Most importantly, if you should accidentally hit an animal, think of the consequences. Many injured animals slink off and suffer before dying. I drove away once because I was afraid. It was 40 years ago, and it still haunts me to this day! Put yourself in the other person's shoes. Accidents DO happen, but it's your actions that count. If dog or cat is injured, take it to a vet or call for help. If you have killed a domestic animal, consider covering it up or moving it to the side of the road and call city services for animal removal. If the animal doesn't have ID tags, posting signs nearby for the animal's owner to contact you for info is a way to give them closure. The easiest thing to do is to drive cautiously and remember to slow down and think!!!
Pet Safety on New Year's Eve, the 4th of July and other holidays:
Animals, especially dogs, are frightened by the sounds of fireworks and other noisemakers. If outside, they may get anxious and try to escape from enclosed yards when their humans are away celebrating the holiday. If possible, provide a place where animals can hide and feel safe. Since we don't have a doghouse, we put a large blanket over our patio table to create a tent for our dog. Cats like to hide in closets and under beds. When driving, remember that scared animals may be running around in areas where they are unfamiliar with the flow of traffic.
Give wildlife a brake. . .
Here are some great tips from the Humane Society for driving in areas of wildlife and handling accidents:
Reflective pet collars save lives.
There are many safety collars for dogs and cats which have fluorescent strips sewn into them. There are also reflective ID tags. Both are widely available on-line and in stores. This simple investment could save your pet's life!
Rest in peace. 3/25/2011
Three years ago a neighbor and I trapped a group of feral neighborhood cats by enticing them with cans of tuna. They were neutered, vaccinated, and released back into their familiar environs. One of those cats was Rusto.
He could have been the model for Kliban's cat with his closely-set eyes and resting posture like a meatloaf. He was interested in everybody. Rusto was street-smart, trusting, patient, and kind.To him our block was a progressive buffet. Whether he adopted us or we adopted him is unclear and unimportant. We were blessed to share our home with him. We've always known that keeping a cat indoors is the best way to insure its safety; however, Rusto was a roamer and preferred to share his affection with our neighbors especially the lonely widows that treasured his visits. Whenever the doorbell rang or the mailman came, Rusto would greet that visitor with a kind brush against the legs and a trot alongside. We saw to his vet visits and vaccinations, but he belonged to all. He was an ambassador of goodwill to our neighborhood and truly one of a kind.
In life I loved you dearly
In death I love you still
In my heart you hold a place
No one could ever fill.
If tears could build a stairway
And heartache make a lane,
I'd walk the path to Heaven,
And bring you back again.
Our family chain is broken,
And nothing feels the same
But as God calls us one by one
The chain will link again.
Memorialize your precious pet:
© 2011 Catherine Tally
More by this Author
The Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton inspires a look into the fashion of ladies' hats through history.
General facts about the beautiful hummingbird, its habits and preferences with a focus on the species and native flora that attract them in So. California.
A presentation of different solutions to hillside erosion and approaches to landscape in these areas with a focus on plants that sustain wildlife.