I was driving home from the downtown library this afternoon and was stopped at a red light waiting to turn left. Across the street a dove dropped from the sky, landing on the sidewalk on his back. He was frantically trying to right himself and within a very short time, became very still. I watched in horror as I realized what was happening and my mind began to race. Could I navigate traffic in time to reach him? If I did get to him, what could I do? In reality, I was already too late and nothing could be done. I had a good cry, and drove home.
This incident reminded me of another several years ago. My Partner and I were returning from a trip to Cocoa Beach. We drove past a large pasture where a calf had gotten himself onto the wrong side of the fence. He was running alongside the traffic trying to find a break in the fence. I could hear him bleating in fear and it tore at my heart. Another driver stopped and ran after him. I hoped he would be able to catch the animal, calm him, and return him to the pasture. It may have been his keeper, I don't really know. I only know that I was grateful that someone was trying to help.
I have always been way too empathetic. It is very easy for me to put myself in another's shoes and imagine what they are feeling. Human or animal makes no difference. I had nightmares for months after my Grandmother died. I kept imagining what her last moments were like. A similar thing happened when my Partner's Stepfather's Brother-in-Law passed. In this case I felt for his Widow. They had been married 70+ years. I couldn't deal with the pain she must have felt over losing him.
I avoid the news often because of this. Especially "human interest" stories. There is too much suffering in this world. It has taught me that no matter how bad I might imagine my life to be, it is very easy to find someone who is really suffering. I hope that tomorrow is better.