MISS MOOX + time

Chipmunk dying

Tonight I rescued a chipmunk from the cats. I saw them both lying and staring with the air of two men at a football game, detached yet professionally absorbed, at something flipping and jumping desperately in the grass. Bruno, the black expert hunter, got up to bat at it or mouth it occasionally but casually.

When I went over to look, it was a chipmunk. Normally I don't interfere with the cats' hunting but this time I took action. I have a soft spot for those cute little guys especially because in my garden in the city, one lived and would whiz about the grass flicking his tiny tail and filling his cheek pouches to enormity beside his small bright face. He was a daily delight and I was shocked when I saw one just like him cowering in weak and desperate fear, certain it was about to die.

"No, Bruno!" and I moved to take it away from him. But Bruno suddenly took a stronger interest in it and picked it up in his mouth, trotting away to protect his prey. I called him softly and torn by his desire to greet me, he dropped it and turned. I snatched both him and his brother up and took them into the room in the barn where they are shut at night, quickly closing the door behind them. Normally they rush to the food bowl. This time Bruno was gently but definitely distracted, straying toward the door with the knowledge that his hunt hadn't been completed. I felt sorry for him, definitely, but sorrier for the chipmunk.

I found some sturdy gloves and a bucket and went back to where the chipmunk was, certain it would be gone. But it was still there, cowering in the grass perfectly still, its eyes slightly glazed over. Obviously it felt its salvation was in playing dead, or else it was too weak of fright to move. I picked it up and it offered no resistance. I examined it closely but couldn't find any puncture wounds. I think the psychological trauma of being caught by the cat, and, it knew, close to death, had severely damaged it. I put it into the bucket and it lay there, unmoving. Only its slight starts at any sudden sound and its terrified breathing, puffing out its midsection in rapid gasps, gave away the fact that it was alive.

I carried it far out to the edge of the back field and found a spot in the woods to put it, underneath some bricks that had once formed part of a chimney. I hoped it would run away once in the shelter of the woods, but it lay just as I had put it, curled up, head downwards to the earth in a seeming total resignation to death that was somewhere beyond despair.

I prayed over it. Funny as it may sound, I prayed that God would heal it. And I left it there. There's nothing more I could do. I had a mental tug-of-war over whether it would have been more merciful to let the cats kill it, but I couldn't bear to do that. At least this way it has a chance.

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