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Animals In Print
The On-Line Newsletter

From 20 February 2006 Issue

By Judith Marie Gansen

Don't Die With Your Music Inside You - The Squirrel Story

A few months ago I was experiencing alot of stress and frustration in both my personal life and in my experiences in trying to make the world a "better place."  I knew I had reached my "burnout" point which I think all animal advocates reach at times.  I was angry, sad and depressed and felt the need to just take off for a few hours--I had some errands to run and felt a change of scenery would do me good.  I felt if I read about one more horrific story of animal abuse or neglect, I would split wide open.  I desperately needed to not even think about animals for awhile.

As I left our rural home, I was going down a two lane road with an incline on both sides so there was little shoulder on either side of the road.  The road also dipped down where I now drove.  As a truck approached from the other side, I saw a squirrel darting out in front of the truck.  The truck was oblivious to the fact that wildlife was trying to cross the road and did not slow down.  I immediately prayed--please God, spare this squirrel and whatever happens, please don't let me see it get hurt or killed--especially not today, I just can't deal with it.  As I slowed my car as quickly and safely as I could after checking my rear view mirror to be certain no one was behind me, I realized in that split second that I had to watch where the squirrel was going or else I may hit him myself if he doubled back into my lane.

Many of us have been in this type of situation--if I feel death is imminent I may blow my horn which so far has worked well and this also in my opinion helps to keep animals out of roadways.  I have also seen them panic and come towards the car too which is why I only use the horn if there is no other choice or if the animal is alone in the road and I am stopped at a safe distance.  Sadly, in this situation, the truck hit the squirrel and death was instant.  I was so upset I pulled off the road when I could to calm myself.

In spite of the fact I have seen things like this before, I cried for what seemed like a long time.  I was sad for one of God's beautiful creatures taken so quickly and upset that I had to witness this and there was nothing I could do.  Something which would not have happened when there weren't any cars.  Then the anger set in.  I was so angry with God--I had prayed and asked Him to not allow me to see more suffering, to spare this one creature.  I was also upset with myself that I was in burnout mode because to me that was neglecting one of my causes.  And I reluctantly admit that while I am a spiritual person, I can cuss a blue streak and I did. 

As I drove back onto the road, in my mind I was screaming at God--"Why, when I am trying to do what I believe to be the work that you put me on this earth for---WHY did you make me HAVE TO SEE THIS ON THIS PARTICULAR DAY?  Why??

With a few tears still coming down, I passed a church that always has the most wonderful, inspirational words on their marquis.  I quickly glanced over for some words of comfort or meaning to suffering--anything to hold onto.  I was shocked when I read it--it said:  "HE MADE YOU LOOK."  A shiver ran down my spine.  What were the odds of this strange coincidence?

Now I am a very analytical person who looks at both sides to every story--very scientific minded, etc.  I believe there are many things in this world that we don't understand yet and I try to keep an open mind about things.  I have to say though, that when I read those words I felt a combination of comfort and uneasiness all at once.  Of course the person putting the words on the sign meant the words to bring more people into church.  I actually have not been to church in many years because I have so many issues with organized religion.  Was this just a strange coincidence or was this God's way of answering my anger?  (Hopefully He has forgiven me for the cussing part!)

I thought about this for a very long time.  Was God trying to give me some kind of message?  That perhaps I am stronger than I give myself credit for and to get back to work?  If, as a compassionate person, I never witnessed suffering or pain in my life, then I may have chosen a different path in life than trying to help others including animals.  Perhaps in the greater scheme of things, the ones who witness or experience suffering whether of people or animals and who care about those who suffer are the ones to make a difference.  If people who care about the plight of animals don't do anything about it, then who will?  I thought of an article I read in a women's magazine I think it was and they gave a great quote from Dr. Wayne Dyer.  I hope I remember it correctly--it was "Don't Die With Your Music In You!"  I healed from the incident and decided I was stronger because of it.  Then I got busy and decided to make more "music"--for the animals!!!   :)

Staff:  Animals in Print  (free online animal publication)

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