Just the facts. I will try and tell you those.
Yesterday I chased a beautiful Shepherd mix on a busy street for an hour. Yesterday a young man named Sam helped me, even ran home around the corner to grab his skateboard so he’d move faster. Yesterday I tucked myself into a ball on the sidewalk, shielded my eyes, and only heard as this poor dog got hit by a truck.
He cried out. The car drove on.
Yesterday I sweat through my long sleeve shirt as I huffed and puffed uphill. Yesterday I saw the best in people, the ones who pulled over, the ones who rolled down their windows, the ones who ran with me like it was a relay race, the ones who shouted, “He went left!” or “Come here, boy!” But yesterday I saw the worst in people, too, and it wasn’t the ones who laughed menacingly and it wasn’t the ones who seemed scared of a stray. It was the ones who didn’t care at all, the compassionless ones. The ones who barely noticed. The ones who stepped over a homeless woman as if she were just a log on the road, then continued walking past a limping dog with blood on his face. The ones who honked because this was an inconvenience and their latte was getting cold. The ones who didn’t smile back when we caught him and carried him to safety.
Before yesterday I thought lastima was a common denominator, a fuzzy feeling everybody has at one time or another whether they realize what it is or not. Now I know the truth, now I know that compassion has to be practiced, it has to build up like a bicep curl, and many, many, too many people never pick up the weight at all. So now I think it is up to the rest of us to have lastima enough for them, and that may not be fair and that may not be easy, but if we don’t, where are we headed? How else can we make it catch on?
And lastly, who are you? It’s the thing you do when something happens, the pure reaction, and it doesn’t have to be the boldest choice and it doesn’t have to be what I think is right and it doesn’t have to be what everybody sees and it doesn’t have to be the answer, but hopefully it is something. Hopefully you do something.
p.s. Thanks to a kind neighbor who got in on the chase, we found Jack’s home. He went to the vet and amazingly nothing is broken, not even a rib. He’s recovering on a soft bed with more lastima around him than he ever knew he had.