Animals Love Human Kindness

Original graphic: Colin Close

Animals Love Human Kindness

Hiding under the bed didn’t help. Pops, bags, crackles, whizzing noises coming from every direction. I wasn’t sure I was going to make it. Explosions everywhere, I was scared, for days! Why were people shooting at each other, especially at night? The Old Guy likes to go for early evening strolls but no way was I going out while World War III was blasting away. Four feet firmly planted, shaking like a leaf, I was not being dragged out the door.

Now I know I make fun of the Old Guy, but sometimes he is useful. He can turn day into night by flicking a switch in our house. But he couldn’t turn off the noise. I stayed close to him and the Old Lady, I “dogged” their every step. And they petted and talked to me in soothing voices. It helped. They would keep me safe.

Come to think of it, you humans can be amazingly kind. For example, I am not a fan of Lincoln Avenue; people drive too fast there, and it is usually a 50-50 chance drivers will stop for us when I am helping the Old Man cross. So, imagine my surprise when we were walking down Lincoln the other day, and a bright-blue Mustang (the Old Man calls them muscle cars and always tells me the model) slowed in the middle of the street, honking and flashing its lights.

And then another muscle car, a bright yellow Camaro, pulled up alongside and did the same thing. Both cars came to a complete stop on Lincoln, blocking traffic. And then a Harley Davidson pulled up and joined the blockade.

Next, a handsome young guy with an amazing Afro jumped out of the Mustang, waving his arms. Then it made sense: Our hero gently herded an old, confused basset hound out of the street, to her owners on the sidewalk. With smiles and waves, they all drove off, a beautiful thing.

I like Officer O, who drives the dog van around town, although I am not sure all dogs do. We have gotten to know her when we drop things off at the animal hotel by the Boatyard at Grand. On a recent early evening walk we spied Officer O, in uniform, by the Grand Street launch ramp. She was holding a large unhappy bird wrapped in a blanket.

When we approached, she asked the Old Man for suggestions about where to put her disgruntled charge in the water. He was pleased, always happy to give an opinion. Spot found, Officer O carefully put what I believe she called a heron on the ground. The bird glared and seemed confused about what to do, but after a loud squawk it made for the water and swam away, never looking back. Mission accomplished.

I’ve seen other examples of human kindness in my travels with the Old Man. A baby bird that fell out of its nest: the neighbors put the chick in a box and attached the box to a tree with a sign: Do Not Disturb. The hope was the baby’s parents would tend it in its cardboard nest, although

I’m sorry to say I don’t think the little one made it. And what about all the less-fortunate dogs humans love to love? After being rescued, little three-legged Chihuahua mix Bitsy’s biggest problem now is whose lap to jump into, Monica’s, Brandon’s or Grandma Eve’s — they actually compete for the privilege.

Then there’s big, blind, cross-eyed George who, roaming town with his owner, relies successfully on his keen sense of smell to find abandoned treats. And the sweet blind cocker spaniel who gracefully takes her senior rescuer for daily walks past our house.

Humans’ care and love of their pets is illogical, but it does brighten dark days. The fact that people take in cats proves their kindness can be almost limitless.

Stay safe.

From a no-longer-shaking Rudy as relayed by John Platt, who wishes he had a cool car.