Pulling out of the driveway this morning to run an errand, I saw the very thing I dread whenever I am behind the wheel: Some motorist had struck a squirrel on our quiet street, probably within the hour, and left him to die.
How could no one have noticed?
This is a residential area, not a lot of traffic, and rarely is there a need for excessive speed. This squirrel no doubt was among many we had fed just a few hours earlier at our back door. I have no doubt he was a regular feeder in our yard.
How can someone hit an animal like this and not have noticed? How could someone not have stopped?
And so I came upon his body, just as I was about to pull my own car out of the driveway, and ran to get him out of the middle of the road, where he had died. He was still bleeding despite the life that had already left him. It is a quiet street, there is not a lot of activity and yet, no one noticed. Or if they did notice, they didn't seem to care.
A man driving an SUV suddenly rounded the corner and was bearing down on the both of us as I knelt in the street by the body. I wrapped the squirrel gently and stood up, holding his little body high, and in the direction of the SUV, so the driver could see what I had just recovered from the road. The vehicle was marked with the insignia of the local volunteer fire company - many firefighters, I am sorry to say, often come barreling through our streets even when no alarm call has gone out.
The man shot me a very indifferent look. Who knows, it could even have been his own car that, moments earlier, struck this squirrel.
True, this was a small moment in an otherwise large and busy day and most people would not bother to stop for a small dead squirrel in the road, as I did.
And that is OK. I would much prefer, if next time, they stopped - and took notice - to keep more of them alive.