Posts Tagged ‘pet death’

Story – Dolly, et al.

Thursday, September 15th, 2011



Bernard took the car out of the garage and rolled it slowly backward, looking left and right and checking in his rear-view mirror, then sped up slightly and ran over four cats, two dogs, one puppy, three hamsters, a frog and fourteen confused snails.


This was a pain. Because it meant Bernard would have to get out of his car, get the hose, turn it up full blast and wash down his driveway. Aiming the water, he watched the dogs, puppy and cats turn limp somersaults moving toward the gutter.


Then, inevitably, the neighborhood kids came to gather round to look. Some pointed their phones to take photos and send them to their friends with remarks like, “Cooooool.”


Then one kid pointed and sobbed, “My dog Fido!” Another kid screamed, “Dolly! Dolly! Dolly!”


Soon parents gathered around to make caustic remarks.


“You can’t keep doing this,” one said to Bernard.
“I don’t mean to,” Bernard answered as two of the dead cats finally made it to the gutter and flopped over into it and out of his sight. “They all just rushed under my tires I backed out.”
“You said that yesterday,” said another parent, not believing a word.
“And the day before that,” reminded another.


“Dolly!” bellowed the kid again and again.
A damp, fur-matted dog disappeared over the curb.


“I check,” Bernard said. “Every day, I check. Is there another animal out there, is there something I don’t see? The driveway is always empty when I roll out. Then, all of a sudden, they are there, diving under my tires. It happens so fast I can’t stop in time.”
“Dolly!”
The frog fell on top of the dog.


The last dog fell into the street gutter, then a cat. Barnard was going to be late for work again.


Three parents crossed their arms tight over their chests.
“So you’re saying you think this is some sort of unexplained natural phenomenon where domestic animal life commits suicide under your car wheels?”


Bernard turned off the water, tossed the hose aside. “I didn’t say that.” The animals were gone from his property now, bodies resting floppy and over-flowing in the gutter. “But I wouldn’t rule that out.” Most traces of the animal blood was also gone from his driveway. “I don’t know, really. It just happens.” He got into his car.


“Dolly….” It was more a whimper now, the boy already half-wondering whether his mother would buy him another dog. Bigger. So it wouldn’t get run over so easily.


“You like to kill animals,” someone shouted.
Bernard rolled down his window. “Maybe they are not happy.”
“Who isn’t happy?”
“Your pets.”
“What are you talking about?”
“So they come over here and kamikaze themselves under the wheels of my car day after day.”
“You saying we’re lousy pet lovers?”
“I’m saying maybe you should try feeding them better food on a regular basis. Talk to them more often. Pet them. Be better humans.”
“Damn! He’s lecturing us and he’s the murderer.”


Bernard shouted as he drove off, “And how many pets do you people have, anyway? I’ve run over at least eighty this month!” He glanced at his watch. He was going to be twenty minutes late. Again. He rolled up the window, swerved around a cat that threw itself in front of his car, and started making good time as soon as he left his neighborhood behind.

STORY – Somebody’s kitty went for a swim in my water barrel

Friday, May 27th, 2011




I do gardening. I tell myself I do gardening. I have a shed full of implements of good intentions; rust has had its way here and there, on both the tools and the intentions. Under the slanted roof of the veranda in the backyard there’s a blue water barrel standing under the drainpipe so it fills will rainwater for future plant thirst. Some cats use the pipe to scrabble up unto my plastic veranda roof to romp in the night, chasing each other in play or with territorial snarls.


Supposition enters from here on in. Because one of these cats, either running away, or running up, or down, the pipe, slipped, misjudged, something cattish and forever unknowable, and dove, plopped, found itself in the water barrow. The barrel was fairly full, but not full to the brim. Did the cat swim some? Did it yowl? What day, what night—when did it slip and go splash? Whenever, it could not reach up to get a toehold, or clawhold, on the edge and pull itself out. And from exhaustion, it must have horribly ended its time on earth, paddling in small and then smaller circles, miserable, tiring.


I only noticed it today, because one doesn’t often, during the winter, peek in water barrels to see how things are going.


There was something mossy-like floating on the top. Odd. There had been more than enough rain to break up any organic growth that might want to settle and spread there. So I leaned forward, spotted a collar around the muck and instinctively jerked back, stepped away, stepped further away. The mental processing going, already knowing, but just double and triple checking in order to let my mind take it in, realize, and not go into a brief shock, occupying itself instead with double looping checking, cushioning the reality.


I looked again. The moss was really fur. Much of it floated at the top, but which end of the cat was front, which back, could not be figured. I didn’t stare. I let it rest in there and returned to my computer. To build up a head of steam. Get myself prepared. Then, later in the afternoon, I finished something on my computer, stood, stretched, said, Do it.


I marched straight to the end of the garden, yanked out the metal rake, returned to the house, the veranda, the barrel. I dunked the end with the teeth in. Maneuvered, reached under, lifted. A dank, sopping mass, beyond description. I did not look, nor study. Cradled on the rake’s teeth I hauled it into the garden—the water pouring off in streams—and over to the far side of the back yard, near the high bushes, in the area I’d once buried my own cat. I dropped the body on the ground. It’s water-logged gut split, exposing pink. I swung my head away, going back to the shed to lift out the shovel that was wedged in behind all sorts of summer chairs and tables and such. I banged about. I lifted it out, turning things over in there. Turning, I went straight to where the dead thing lay and next to it dug quickly, messily, hitting roots, chopping, finally satisfied with a shallow hole.


I maneuvered the end of the shovel till it was up against the one side of the cat mess and pushed it over. It rolled like a boneless damp rug and sluggishly slopped in my minor hole.


I covered it up, quickly. Patted it once, twice. Looked at the newly torn ground. There was no loving former owner to linger, say a few words, have a few memories.


I put the tools away, back to their rusting hibernation. Glanced in the water barrel on my way back. A film of loose fur floated.


I went inside.