This morning we drove and I said to Anika, "People sure drive fast on this road." We were almost late but I slowed down. Then around a curve, a lady stood in the road waving her arms. At her feet was a ball of orange fluff. The road has a center turn lane so I passed around her and a big cat lying on the asphalt. She didn't stop waving her arms though. I slowed even more. She had help, right? She didn't need me, right? We would be late. We might see horrible injuries. We probably couldn't help anyway. Keep on driving, right?
I pulled over.
She was frantic, trying to get the traumatized cat off of the pavement. He hissed and spit. Cars wove around her. A large pickup truck stopped and flashed hazard lights.
"I have a towel," I said. The man in the truck pulled the cat off the road by grabbing the cat's tail. Cars sped past.
"Please," she said, "I don't have a car. I think his back is broken."
The cat wasn't moving his back legs. He scrabbled with his front paws.
I looked back at my car. At Anika sitting in the car watching me.
"We'll take the cat to the vet. They probably can't do much, but we can't leave him here."
We eased him onto the towel. Wrapped him up and lay him gently in the back of my car. He didn't make a sound the drive to the vet. I called school. I'd be there as soon as I could.
The vet was closed. But the tech saw me through the window and came out to help. Thank you Grass Valley Veterinary!
We didn't have hope. Anika and I talked about how Kitty-Heaven might be the best place for him. And at least we helped him get away from the road.
After school, I returned to the vet to get the towel and to check up on the cat. He was alive! Not only alive, but doing well. No broken bones. A concussion and shock and confusion, but twitching his tail and doing very well. Was I going to adopt him?
What, no, I mean . . . I wasn't going to abandon him. I left my phone number. I'd help if I could. I'd check back later.
Then, at home, a call from the lady who first stopped traffic. She found his owners! They are an elderly couple that were beside themselves when their cat went missing. With her help, they tracked down the vet and learned that the cat is "doing marvelously". He didn't have a collar because he usually stayed close to home.
Hopefully he stays closer. I am so glad for happy endings! And for being able to really truly help. Today Anika learned we can all be heroes. She is a hero. Because we stopped the car.