I have a problem with roadkill.

At 23, I should probably not think of wild animals in terms of Disney creatures that have homes and families and feelings. I know it seems ridiculous, but I just can’t help it. In my head, I only see Bambi’s mom, or the Beaver family from the Chronicles of Narnia, or Simba and how he ran away from Pride Rock after Mufasa’s death. These poor animals have others counting on them; they have responsibilities and a family to come home to.

When I see a raccoon’s guts splayed on the side of the road or a deer laying broken on the shoulder, my heart breaks.

On my way to work last week, I burst into tears when I saw a black cat squished in the middle of the road.  I cried for the little girl who loved that cat with her whole heart, I cried for the other kitty cat friends that Blackie had, and I cried for the person who hit the kitty and killed it.

It’s so sad to me and I can’t help but be really, really upset by it.

I hoped that I had hit my quota for roadkill for the week, but it seems that the universe had other plans. Yesterday, I experienced the most traumatizing roadkill event to date. I probably won’t tell it right or be able to express how deeply upset I was by this, but I’m going to try.

I was driving to meet my brother for dinner when this occurred.  I was driving happily, listening to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on CD, and I was halfway to my destination.  Just as I was picking up my phone from the passenger’s seat of my car to call Drew to ask him where he wanted to go for dinner, it happened.

By chance, I happened to notice a deer on the shoulder of the highway.  I can’t remember now what it was that made me come to this conclusion, but something told me that something wasn’t right about this deer. For one, it was not dead.  I could see its eyes and they were wide open.  Then, all of a sudden, it was picking itself up off the pavement, only it wasn’t going as it should have.

It all happened pretty fast, and I was driving as I was watching this, but I did see enough to be traumatized.

Poor Deery was having trouble standing up and I could tell that something was very wrong with her (I’m assuming?) hindquarters.  Deery couldn’t put any weight on her back legs. She began dragging her back legs as she tried to get away from the highway and the cars driving so fast past her. I had passed her and my vision was blurry with hot tears when I had dialed Drew via speed-dial on my phone.  By the time he picked up the phone, I was in the throes of a full-blown grief-meltdown.

What was so upsetting to me was that I did not see any vehicle near her that looked like it had been hit by a dear.  I didn’t see anyone around other than me and the other cars driving past this suffering animal. I couldn’t understand how someone could hit a deer and leave it to die in such a painful and agonizing way. The fact that where she had been hit was on top of a hill worried me.  Without the ability to use her back legs, how was she to navigate that hill to get back into the wooded safe haven? I think about it now and my heart hurts. I imagine that she fell down the hill and lay at the bottom, wishing to die because of the pain.  It is terrible, but I would have preferred someone shot her or something, to put her out of her misery.  It isn’t fair.

I explained what happened to Drew through thick sobs. He laughed at me.

After crying my eyes out and having him listen to me wail wordlessly, I tried to change the subject. He didn’t because he probably didn’t want to seem insensitive since I was so obviously upset. He’s such a good brother.

When I finally got the words out to ask him where we should go to dinner, he replied, “Well there’s this new venison place…”

That’s when a sob escaped and I hung up on him. I grabbed a mostly clean napkin off the passenger seat and wiped my eyes and blew my nose.

He called back.

“That wasn’t nice,” I cried.

He was joking and he was trying to make me laugh, but I wasn’t ready yet.  So I cried on the phone some more, cursed society and contemplated calling the police (or ANYBODY!) to have them come rescue Deery (or at least end her suffering).

I didn’t call the police, but I haven’t been able to get the image of that poor deer dragging its back legs out of my head.

I just can’t handle roadkill. It really hurts my heart.

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