Thursday, August 26, 2010

Some Days You're the Dog, Some Days You're the Hydrant...And Some Days, You're A Squished Dead Possum In the Turn Lane

It was one of the most horrifying things I've ever seen.

Two fluffy, well-kept-looking white dogs were in the middle of a busy 5-lane highway I travel every day. I saw them a long way away; everyone was hitting their brakes, dodging them as they went from northbound to southbound and back to the middle.

Please, God, I thought, don't let one of these dogs get hit. I just don't know if I can see that today.

And as far as I know, I got my wish. No dogs died in the making of this blog entry.

The horrifying part was what these cute and collared dogs were doing and what had them running hither and yon and then sticking it out in the turn lane. A possum had been hit and then run over, repeatedly, in the middle lane. It was little more than a flattened mass of pulverized flesh and fur ground into the asphalt.

And yet for these dogs, it was apparently dinner. Though there wasn't much left to try to eat, the dogs were turning their fluffy white heads to the side and gnawing on the pavement, trying to extract something of substance from what used to be a living being. As I passed, I was shocked by the looks on their once-tamed faces and by the violent way they were trying to get something, anything, into their mouths and to their stomachs; these dogs, who were wearing collars and still looked clean and well-groomed, had been turned from man's best friend into the basest core of their own animal nature.

After feeling repulsion (this is an over-used phrase, but I did kinda throw up in my mouth a little bit) I started to feel sad. What had to have happened to those dogs for them to stoop to that level? They looked like they had very recently been loved and washed and given identification to wear. How bad does life have to get for a dog before squashed possum, eaten alongside cars honking and zooming along at 45mph, seems like a good idea?

It's been days since I saw this, but I am having a hard time getting that image out of my head. Especially yesterday. Yesterday was a bad day for me; it was one of those times in my job when I really wasn't liking what I'm doing. I felt incredibly overwhelmed by all the things I've been asked to do and incredibly annoyed by how little work I end up getting done after a constant stream of questions and interruptions. We've all been there.

A coworker stopped by and asked me how my year was going.

"Well, you know," I replied, "some days you're the dog, some days you're the hydrant."

And in my mind's eye I saw those white dogs eating roadkill. Sometimes being the dog isn't such a stellar thing, either. I actually felt some sympathy for the possum, too, and found that I could relate; it sucks to not even be able to stop being pestered when you're dead. That's pretty much how I felt; like a mashed lump of flesh, fur, and bone being picked apart even after there wasn't much left to pick at.

I imagine I will, animal lover that I am, think of the dogs often. I hope that, if their owners are good people who just left a gate open, they're reunited and welcomed back into the home that used to feed them. I hope their owners never know their capacity for gnawing up roadkill (may their people never question too much the red stains around their little white mouths.) If they are strays, I hope they can find better (and safer) pickings.

My day got better yesterday, and by the end of work today I was (mostly) loving my job again and wondering what all the doom and gloom was about yesterday.

Sadly, for those animals, there may not be any more good days.

Couple that with the viral video of the woman who threw the kitten into a garbage bin, and my heart breaks for those animals who depend on us for everything, only to be harmed, neglected, mistreated. It may be true that every dog has its day; but sometimes that day is spent celebrating a score of fresh roadkill.

No comments: