By Annette Dashofy
(As you’re reading this, I’m mourning the passing yesterday of my 19-year-old pussycat, BooBoo, so I’m even more emotional over furry creatures in pain than I am most days.)
We don’t have access to cable television here at home, but since my mom’s been rehabbing from her latest hip surgery in a nursing facility, I’ve had a chance to surf more than our usual seven channels. Mostly, the experience has convinced me that cable only gives you more stations with nothing on, so making the complete round with the remote takes longer.
However, there is one station I can almost always rely on to offer something entertaining.
This Sunday, I tuned in to a show I have a love/hate relationship with. Animal Cops. It’s definitely my kind of show, except that I end up a sobbing wreck at some point during most episodes. I also end up homicidal when they’re going after the heartless, soulless creeps that do such things to animals. The latest episode involved a small, gray and white kitten whose owner had been heard threatening to throw it out the second story window. Apparently, he’d made good on the threat, because the little cutie was found seriously injured on the sidewalk. The heroes of the series whisked it off to the vets who determined that both back legs had been broken.
“I can’t watch this,” I said to my mom. But I did. And the scene that followed convinced me that I made the right decision long ago to NOT become a vet.
During surgery, the veterinarian discovered that the injuries were old. So old that she couldn’t reduce the fractures. Not only had this kitty’s owner tossed it from the window, the vet suspected he’d thrown the kitten against the wall, too.
She couldn’t save the little one. The happy ending I’d been hoping to witness didn’t happen. They had to put the kitten to sleep.
Did they catch the beast who’d done this? I assume so. Otherwise, why bother including it in the episode? But I couldn’t watch it anymore and shut the TV off. (If anyone out there saw it, please tell me they caught the guy and executed him on the spot).
To be honest, I’m a mess when fictional animals die, too. A couple years ago, against my better judgment, we went to see the Disney movie Eight Below. I began sobbing when the first dog died and didn’t stop until a half hour after the movie had ended. One of my earliest memories is of hiding under the dashboard of my parents’ car in hysterics while watching Old Yeller at the drive-in.
Another movie I should never have watched was Ruffian, the story of the great racehorse from the 70’s. I remember when the real Ruffian died. I cried then. I cried all over again watching the movie. Not just a few sniffles into a tissue. I’m talking full blown blubbering. Heaven help me if they ever make a movie about Barbaro.
What is it that makes me (and apparently lots of others) such a basket case over the plights of animals? Why do I become absolutely livid at the cruelty of some so-called humans who do such vicious things to helpless pets? Yes, I feel outrage over man’s inhumanity to man, but man’s inhumanity to the small furry (and larger hooved) creatures of the world really sets me off. Perhaps it’s the helplessness of animals. They have no choice in the matter. We’re their stewards in this world. And sadly, too many of us don’t take that responsibility to heart.
Rest in peace, BooBoo (one of the lucky ones who only knew love in his world).