|Doing the needful thing and being glad no one thought to document it for Facebook or Tumblr
||[Oct. 18th, 2013|04:08 pm]
So you get home and get out of the car, and The Consort has gotten to the house before you did, but as you pull in you see a neighborhood gathering across the street so you wander over, thinking you'll check it out before going inside to greet TC. Or bring him out if this is a social gathering...but on closer inspection, it's mostly kids and just the mother of two of them and the owner of the house. And she says to you "help, I need an adult. I can be an adult for the kids, but I can't be an adult for the squirrel."
And you notice that the kids are gathered around the driveway where young squirrel is frantically running in circles. And it stops, and quivers a bit, and holds its head funny and then panics and whirls around in more circles. And it doesn't take a veterinarian to realize that we're talking neurological disorder...thankfully not rabies, but clearly it probably can't see and may have suffered some sort of brain injury...and you're thinking either poison or impact injury.
And another neighbor shows up and you're both discussing the options...although in your minds there's just one option and it's just a question of how and when, really. Surrounded by eight under-twelves. Who catch enough words to realize that you're talking about killing the squirrel and not taking it to the emergency room vet.
And you, being you, have only honesty and no-bull when it comes to kids, thinking they don't always need all the details, but they should understand the basic concepts of life and living. So, when several of them say no, we should catch it and set it free in the woods, you tell them "well, that sounds like a good idea, but it's really not the kindest thing we can do. Let's face it, this poor squirrel is very sick and he's going to die. So we can take him somewhere and set him loose and he'll probably just starve to death or die very slowly from whatever has happened to him. So the kindest thing we can do is to help him die fast so he doesn't have to keep suffering."
And although you realize that the other two adults are looking at you with trepidation that you laid it out like that, several of the kids nod solemnly and then begin a discussion of just how it's going to happen and one of them starts making jokes and one of the adults says "hey, don't minimize this poor animal's life by treating it like a joke" which I think is a fine sentiment. And we trap it in a bucket and the other neighbor goes off to get a board to slide underneath so we can remove the squirrel to a more private location for its ending. And the kids, demonstrating that the bloodthirsty, amoral beings I sometimes accuse them of being, decide suddenly that playing on the trampoline in another yard sounds like fun. And then the mom takes the littlest child inside on an errand to distract him from what's going to happen.
And you hear the squirrel under the bucket making sounds of distress, which just tears at your heart. And you look around and realize that all the kids are gone. And that there's a flat shovel leaning against the fence where you can reach it. So, you steel yourself -- you have done this hundreds of times because you are the person that other people turn to for these things, but it is never easy, and you don't want to tear your heart more by screwing up and making it not-fast -- and you grab the shovel, flip the bucket and kabang the poor little squirrel's skull into pancakehood. Fetch the bucket and scoop up the little squirrel corpse and tip him inside.
Realizing that while you thought no one was around to watch...the odds are pretty high that The Consort had been watching out the window while you, in your dress and pantyhose and high heels, brained the hell out of a squirrel with a shovel.
And when you finally go inside to greet The Consort and he doesn't even flinch when you reach for him? That's some strong and brave, right there.