At this moment, there is a good chance that somewhere out there a person is mourning the loss of a beloved pet. And somewhere out there, two total strangers are mourning the loss of that same pet.
I am one of those two strangers.
I don’t know the circumstances behind this cat getting out on a busy street. Maybe the owner did everything they could to keep the cat safe and sound inside the home. But all too often in my life, I’ve seen owners let their dogs and cats roam free.
If only I could force those people to see what I saw on Western Avenue. The car that hit this cat disappeared so fast I can’t say I remember anything about the vehicle or the driver.
But I saw the cat. I saw it stumbling about. I saw it trying to limp across the street. This is the grim reality that comes way too often just before these animals become those grizzly scenes you try to avoid seeing on your morning and evening drives.
The cat was suffering. As I frantically looked for a place to safely pull over, I was relieved to see a lady getting out of her car to help the cat. I looked ahead quickly, realizing I needed to drive up a bit to warn oncoming traffic to slow down. With one last glance I saw the cat fall to the ground.
The situation did not look good at all. Oncoming traffic was still coming over the rise at a fast clip. I drove ahead, honking, flashing my lights, doing everything I could to ensure the other “stranger” wasn’t hurt as she tended to this suffering creature.
I am the other stranger.
I am the lady in the summer dress, wind blowing hair and garments, bending down somewhat unladylike to scoop up this poor animal in the middle of the street. Trying not to get clawed or bit. Sacrificing an old jacket to wrap around this little life. But the cat did not try to bite or claw. It looked at me with confusion as I scooped it into my arms, trying not to damage it further. Was its back broken? A leg? It’s mouth was open, but tt wasn’t howling. It was past that stage. I had to get it to the doctor.
Earlier, as I made my way down Western at about 3:30 I had been surprised by the traffic. It is usually not very busy, so why is this car in front of me stopped? I crane my neck to see what the holdup is. The car in front of me swerves right, and I see it. Flailing about on its back. It’s an injured cat in the road.
Cars slowly are driving around it. And NO ONE is stopping. Why is no one stopping?
I stop. I put on my emergency lights. I don’t see the other cars. I don’t see the stranger flashing his lights to provide me safety. I only see my mission to quickly get the cat into the car.
The whole action of stopping, scooping, and back in the car took less than a minute. The drive to the vet, however, felt like hours.
I call to the cat in the back seat, “Kitty? Kitty? Stay with me!” Its head, once propped up, started to droop. I could no longer see it in my rear view mirror. “Stay with me, Kitty!” I step on the gas.
At the vet’s office, I interrupt the receptionist busy with another patient. A woman I assume to be the vet quickly takes it away. It? He? She? I don’t even know the sex of the cat. I don’t know its name. I didn’t notice a collar. I only know it as a life that needed to be saved.
Within minutes the vet returns and tells me that she has euthanized the cat.
“He was on his way. It’s good you brought him in.” I nod at her and start to tear up. We both stand there for a moment, then I turn and leave. I feel a big cry coming, and I want to be in my car when it comes.
Flashback about 10 years ago: This has happened to me before, another job, another city. … on my way to work when a car barreling down the street hit a dog. The dog was stunned, and fell to the ground, bleeding, panting heavily. Again, I grabbed a jacket from the car and carried the dog to the back seat, heading towards the vet. Its fate was not unlike Kitty.
When it comes to animals, I admit I have a soft heart.
I’ve told this story a few times, and people congratulate me, saying, “it’s a blessing you were there,” and so on. But why are my actions to be lauded? Why wouldn’t anyone do what I did? How could you leave a poor creature to die in the hot Oklahoma road if you are able to stop? Sure, we see road kill all the time, but this domesticated creature was still alive. Lived many minutes in what must have been agony. How you could turn your back?
I was able to slow traffic down, but by the time I was able to turn off on a sidestreet, it appeared as if traffic was moving again. My son was about to get home early from summer school, and I struggled as to whether I should still go back or not. Feeling bad about the whole experience, I wrote a “rant” and posted it on my “OKC Central” blog.
And it was then that Yvette, who works about 50 feet away from my desk, checked in with me to find out if the incident I had witnessed had occured on Western Avenue. Yes, it’s a small world. If I cried a tear or two, I can only imagine her own grief. These dogs and cats that give us unconditional love as we endure the ups and downs of our daily lives really ask very little back from us. Yeah, they appreciate the occassional treat and a good scratch behind the ears. But thanks to centuries of domestication, they also need our protection. So please, please keep your dogs and cats safe, indoors if at all possible, and spare yourself – and a couple of strangers – the heartbreak of senseless suffering.
Don’t say you weren’t warned.
I’m upset. Driving this afternoon, I saw a cat hit by a car. The cat had a collar, was clearly someone’s pet. I’m not someone who thinks it’s cool to leave your dog or cat outside all day. Don’t agree with me? Keep reading.
What I saw ruined my day – and ruined the day of that cat, and its owners. The cat stumbled around. The cat tried to limp across the street. As I tried to find a place to stop and help, it collapsed (another driver pulled over, went to its aid, and it did appear as if the cat had died).
If you have a pet, do your best to keep them safe at home. And if you’re the type who thinks it’s totally cool to let your pet roam loose, let this imagery burn in your skull.
Rant is over. But I’m still upset.
A read of the city planning report going to Board of Adjustment indicates they’re quite OK with the idea. Some background first: the Brewer family and Tyler Outdoor Signs are seeking permission to erect two electronic display billboards at the Reno Avenue and Sheridan Avenue entrances to Bricktown.
They look like this:
Now, here’s the curious take by city staff. The ordinance governing the Board of Adjustment’s consideration of this request dictates the applicant must cite a “hardship” caused by denial of the application. City staff seem to think that because a similar sign was approved for a nearby sign (they don’t say what it is, but the only approval I’m aware of is one for the Oklahoma City Arena), that the Brewers and Tylers would somehow suffer by not being able to do so as well. They also cite the appropriateness of such billboards as being compatible with the nearby entertainment district.
It wasn’t that long ago that a billboard overlooked the Bricktown Canal, with families traveling by water taxi looking up and seeing advertisements for a local strip club. I’m not suggesting the Tylers, longtime community leaders and urban advocates, would take a similar action. But who is to say future applicants will be limited to the Tylers?
THURSDAY UPDATE: Signs approved by Downtown Design Review Committee and the Board of Adjustment. David Box, attorney, promised the Board of Adjustment time will be donated to Allied Arts, and that the signs will be used to promote events downtown and throughout the city.
I’ve not stopped thinking about Jeff Click’s suggestion that I host a get-together on downtown housing.
I’m going to invite Jeff and maybe one other suburban home builder. I’m going to invite a downtown housing developer (maybe Richard McKown, who has experience with suburban and urban). I’m going to invite a longtime downtown resident and active member of Urban Neighbors (Paige Gregory, come on down!). And I’m hoping to convince a married individual with spouse, child, who has been frustrated in their search for a home for their family downtown.
The format will go as follows: I’ll join this small group at a table, ask questions, get a conversation going. People will be invited to sit in, listen, and after 45-60 minutes of the table conversation, questions will be invited from those listening in. If you don’t like this process, feel free to email me with alternative ideas. My idea is this – I want to get a good conversation going, the kind of conversation I’ve enjoyed many a time, but could never share with readers. To create this sort of conversation, it needs to be limited to just a few people before opening it up to everybody. I know, I know, this all may sound a bit unusual. I’m even going off range with this, doing it on my own time, off the clock. It’s not an official Oklahoman or NewsOK event, just me wanting to learn more about the community I cover. And I’ll be doing what I do every day – just with you readers as spectators.
If there is a downtown restaurant or business that would like to host our get together, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Otherwise I’ll just randomly pick a place I fancy.
Look for this to take place later this month or in early July.
Coffee Slingers is doing a great job bringing attention to the question of reverse angled parking via the coffee shop’s social media accounts. These folks have reason to be interested in the topic – a similar proposal has been debated back and forth for Automobile Alley.
First, a video Coffee Slingers posted showing an educational video on reverse angled parking from Austin, Texas:
And now, for the backlash:
The question posed by Coffee Slingers – a good one I think – is what do you think?
Downtown Oklahoma City is about to get dedicated bicycle lanes. Before any brilliant city council member decides to pass a resolution requiring bicyclists to stay in that lane, consider this bit of enforcement action going on in New York City:
… a gardener like that one, no one can replace ….
Steve Mason and Blair Humphreys invite you to participate in an interactive placemaking charrette:
Everyone is invited to participate in an interactive placemaking charrette for the area surrounding 9th and Broadway in Oklahoma City. You can help shape the future of this area by submitting ideas online at http://www.plainurban.com/okc or by dropping by the design workshop at 1015 N. Broadway on Friday, June 10 and/or Saturday, June 11. A team of designers brought together by PLAIN URBAN, and funded by the 9th Street District, will use the input you provide to create a urban design plan for the area. Your ideas will help shape the future of this community! While the conversations begins at the corner of 9th and Broadway, it is up to you where it goes from there.
Should be interesting to watch.
Dennis Wells shared this video as an idea for doing something special with the Core to Shore Park. One must wonder – can such creativity and cutting edge ideas occur if the deadline for completion, as pushed by Mayor Mick Cornett, is set for 2014?
It seems like it was in another lifetime that I was the police reporter for The Oklahoman. I can’t remember the first time I met John Waldenville, but the impression he made on me was always the same – he was a class act who stood out in a county operation that isn’t always up to snuff. John was no slouch – he’s a bright guy, an MBA who decided to make law enforcement his life career. John certainly didn’t take the job to get rich – I remember doing one story where I discovered a county commissioner’s political aide was making twice as much as John (it was 2003 and John was earning a relatively meager $43,000 a year). I’m certain that wasn’t a day that Sheriff John Whetsel didn’t thank God above for John, considering how he filled a key role in overseeing the complex financial operations of the jail and running a county wide law enforcement agencies. I’ll be the first to admit I was often a pain in the butt for John with my open records requests and inquiries in the office’s finances. But John was always the professional. So it was devastating when I heard that he had been shot in an ambush while he did a deposit for the legendary Cattleman’s Steakhouse in Stockyards City. The district, of course, is coming to his aid as he recovers at the hospital:
Oklahoma City, OK, June 7, 2011 – Stockyards City Main Street and Cattlemen’s Steakhouse to hold benefit fundraiser for Sheriff Major John Waldenville.
In the early morning hours of May 21, off-duty Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Major John Waldenville was ambushed and shot while working off-duty as a security guard for Cattlemen’s Steakhouse. Waldenville remains in intensive care at OU Medical Center. He has lost permanent vision in his right eye as a result of the shooting as well as suffering severe head and facial wounds. Waldenville’s recovery looks extremely promising but has a long road of recovery ahead.
Our community has been shaken by this incident but has come together in full force in support of Major Waldenville and wish to help him and his family in any way we can. Stockyards City Main Street is partnering with Cattlemen’s Steakhouse to hold a benefit fundraiser to raise funds for his recovery. On June 20, we will be holding a “Taste-of-Oklahoma City” in Cattlemen’s Event Center (1323 S Agnew), from 5pm-7pm. Tickets will be $50.00 and 100% of the proceeds from the event will go directly to Major Waldenville’s care. Restaurants who will be featured at the event include Jamil’s Steakhouse of Oklahoma City, Petroleum Club of Oklahoma City, Old Germany Restaurant, Western Concepts (“The Coach House,” “Sushi Neko,” “Musashi’s Steakhouse”), Cattlemen’s Steakhouse, La Baguette Bistro of Oklahoma City, and the Iguana Lounge. Other sponsors include Thirst Wine Merchants, Premium Brands, Glazer’s of Oklahoma, Choc Beer Company, Oak Vineyard Wines, Cantina Beer, and Ben E. Keith of Oklahoma.
We are also collecting donations for a silent auction that will take place during the event.
To make a donation or for more information including ticket sales, please go to our website here or contact the Stockyards City Main Street office at 405-235-7267.