Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Rich Dog and the Poor Kitten

A few weeks ago, David found a stray cat that lives in the cracked foundation of the house next door huddled between my Carolina Jessamine and Margariette's hollyhock in the front flower bed. When she saw him, she ran away and left her new kitten behind.

I've enjoyed watching that little kitten hide under the srubs in the alley and paw at the branches of the low-hanging trees. She was getting a little bigger every day.

On Saturday, David found her in the gutter making a horrible sound. Her little body was contorted and bloated. We called animal control to come and get her, but they called us later saying that she was dead and they "don't pick up the dead ones." We couldn't wait for the sanitation department to come and get her today, so David burried her.

On Friday, Corduroy Dog received $280 worth of vaccinations, cortisone injections and special medicine to make her coat shiny and her skin less irritated. I took her to a very Posh animal clinic in Altadena where the vets have all written very Posh disertations about various animal ailments and their cures. They have a million different doggie medicines at their disposal to make every doggie shiny and healthy and strong. In their exam rooms, there are pictures of happy German Shepherds with their happy families and fluffy cats sleeping on warm windowsils. I'm going to send them this picture of Corduroy Dog today.

They love Corduroy Dog (and who doesn't?) so, they take very good care of her every time she comes in. And we love her, too, so we keep taking her there. Our vet, Dr. Moyana, is the best. And we want our doggie to have the best.

Corduroy Dog was sitting on the porch when David burried the kitten. When he finished, I thought of her and of the kitten and how some animals go to very Posh Animal Clinics and receive more advanced care than is even available to humans in most parts of the world, and some animals die in the gutter of neglect. And it's true of people, too.

Here in Birmingham, there are people dying in the gutter of neglect within walking distance of some of the most sophisticated medical facilities in the world.

My cynicism tells me that there really isn't much to do about it, either. There's no end to poverty or suffering or loss. Sometimes, I think it's kind of a joke to think there's anything to do about it, either. So, I just try and be grateful for what I do have. That's the only real response, I think.



John in Birmingham said...

A moving post, Susan.

At least three cats live at the apartment complex next door to us but spend most of their time in our yard or on our porch. (Our two indoor cats hate them.) We like them, but the only bad thing is they chase away the songbirds from our bird feeder. Why, oh why don't they go after the pigeons?

susan said...

Cause the pidgeons would beat them up?



Elisa said...

I completely agree about people living/dying in the gutter within stone's throw of help. I wish that more people would think about that (myself included) and live in the reality of it, instead of trying to deny it's happening and look the other way, in order to self isolate ourselves in our safe (ha!) little worlds where we feel a false sense of control. We need to stop trying so hard to protect ourselves (from what?) and love people. What are all of the things that we would do if we really believed that God is there and we don't have to fix it all ourselves, but do what we can with what we have?
As you can tell, I feel very passionatly about this.


Jason Harmon said...

Its strange how the juxtaposition of Corduroy and a contorted cat in pain can illicit more of an emotional response from me than that of myself and the "unseen poor" that I know are around me.
Humane Societies exist for animals, shelters for people, and 9 times out of 10 I'd be more willing to call over an animal in pain than help a person. Maybe its because the animal problems seem to be easily fixed. Call, they come and take the animal away and deal with it from there, "not my problem anymore." But people are different once you get involved, it gets messy quick.

Anyway, another thoughtful post, thanks for writing. See you later.


susan said...


It's so sad to me when I realize that I don't always believe that God is active and present in our lives. Sometimes, I think we're so afraid of being let down that we don't want to take the risk with God. But, I really believe that things would be different if we'd just step out there somtimes. Even if "stepping out there" just involved a realistic evaluation of the problem! I've been thinking about you lately. Let's go eat food for lunch soon.

Jason! Hey! Thanks for commenting! I guess it's true that animal problems are easily solved and that people problems get messy and complicated. I think that the whole structure of that pain is different. Animals get sick, need medicine, and get better or die. People have complex family structures, addictions and neuroses all their own. Sometimes, just figuring out the problem is difficult!