For most of my life I’ve had a pact with myself: if I see an animal in distress, I will do whatever is within my realm of possibility to help. It’s how I can live with myself. Sometimes what I’m able to do seems woefully inadequate. Sometimes I have to remind myself that even a small victory—restoring just one animal’s life from bare, sketchy survival to plentiful food, water, and shelter (and if it’s fortunate, love) has to be enough.
Sometimes at night I look out the window to the blue moonlight and think of all the creatures with whom I share this night, this land. It isn’t my job to take on everything, but I can make peace with myself by redefining what it is I can do, and by doing those things.
I can’t save every animal, but I have this dream: Many, many people choosing to take it upon themselves not to look away from an animal in need and being willing to inconvenience themselves for a few minutes to do what can be done. So much could be accomplished.
Three days ago I saw a black adolescent cat at the edge of our property. He watched me and angled his head in interest. When I took a tentative step toward him, he ran off. Daily I place bowls of food and a fresh water where I last saw him. Soon I will set the humane trap, and one of these days, I’ll trap him and take the long drive to the SPCA. It’s not convenient, but I’ll do it because, for me, I have no other choice.
And when the winter wind blows icy and the snow drifts, I will not have to think of him out there, hungry and cold. I will not have done much, but I will have helped that one small creature. For now, it will have to be enough.
“Saving just one animal won’t change the world…but surely the world will change for that one animal.” Author unknown
Illustration by Vlado courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net