Sunday, April 18, 2010

Finding an Injured or Stray Animal

Thursday afternoon we were on our way to the airport, driving down Lynnwood Boulevard, when suddenly J said, "Oh, my God, it's a cat!" He did a quick U-turn and H and I saw what he was talking about.. It was a tiny kitten (probably 8-10 weeks old), curled up in the very middle of the street, looking like it was taking a nap in the sun. Cars were whizzing by in both directions, so we started beeping and yelling to try to keep them from just running right over the little thing. J stopped traffic and walked over to pick up the kitten to get it out of the way. It had raised its head and meowed, so we knew it was alive. But when he picked it up, we saw it was bleeding a little from its nose. I was in a little bit of shock...my husband HATES cats, so it was amazing that he had stopped. He took the kitten over to a yard and put it down very gently, and it just kind of fell over, so we realized it was injured. H volunteers at "Love at First Sight", an animal adoption center, which is right across from Murphy Road Veterinarians, so she asked if we could take it there. One look at her face, and J just crumbled. H held it in the backseat and we made the quick detour on our way to the airport. We thought at first maybe it was just slightly injured, but it couldn't stand up and it was gagging all the way to the vet, so we think it was bleeding internally and probably choking. The people at Murphy Road were very sweet, and careful about what they said to H because she was crying, but they said if they didn't think they could make it better, they'd stop treatment and euthanize it. We feel like that is better than it bleeding to death in the middle of the road, or worse, if another car didn't see it.

Then, last night on our way home from the dinner, we saw a black lab wandering down a very busy road. It had a collar on, so it obviously was someone's pet who had wandered away or gotten lost, so we tried to catch it to see if there was a phone number. He was very skittish and ran off, so we went on home, but J and H couldn't stand leaving, just knowing he was out there wandering on the road, so they grabbed some treats and went back out to try to find him. They could never get him to come to them, so we're hoping he lived in the area and made it home. It's funny, now I think we're going to see all the lost/injured animals that we probably never noticed before.

I started thinking about that, and the fact that when we took the kitten we needed a towel or something to wrap around it, and the fact that we're lucky it was little and H was there to hold it. I don't know what we would have done if it was a bigger animal who was injured more severely, or aggressive. We were also lucky the vet was only a little out of our way, and that they were kind enough to take it in. So I started doing some research.

The Humane Society of the United States has some good advice. If you know in your heart you are going to be a rescuer, there are some things you should have in your car at all times: Cell phone, phone numbers of local animal control, a shelter, and a 24-hour emergency veterinary clinic; cat carrier or cardboard box; collars and strong leashes for dogs; heavy blanket; water bowls and water; strong-smelling foods, such as canned tuna or dried liver (to lure the animal to you); and an animal first-aid kit.

I hate to admit that I have seen animals injured on the side of the road, and didn't stop, either because I was rushing somewhere or didn't know what to do. At the very least, from now on I'm going to keep a towel in the car, and program the numbers for animal control, the humane society, and the emergency pet clinic. From now on, I don't think I'm ever going to be able to just drive by.