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08/17/2004 Archived Entry: "The Body"
Posted by CKL @ 01:19 PM PST

I didn't want to cry until I saw the flowers.

DeeAnn and I carpooled to work this morning. Less than a block from our house, at the corner of San Pierre and Ormonde, we saw a cat lying in the middle of the road. DeeAnn pulled over, and we both got out. Another woman, Lynn, also stopped to investigate. We formed a circle around the cat.

He was dead. He might have looked like he was sleeping, except for the blood that had leaked from his open mouth.

A few years ago, I came across the body of a dead squirrel. It was next to the curb, just off the sidewalk where I was walking. There was dried blood on its fur, and ants were swarming all over the body. I found some cardboard, scooped the body up, and left it near a tree. Then I kept walking.

That was a body. This was a cat.

He didn't have a collar. We wondered whether he might be one of the neighborhood cats. DeeAnn and I didn't recognize him. By now, several cars had passed, weaving around us. We decided we should move him off the street.

I called police dispatch and asked them to send animal control. DeeAnn went back to our house to get a cardboard box and some rubber gloves, and she and Lynn moved the cat into the box and onto the sidewalk. DeeAnn later told me his body was limp, and cold. He hadn't died too long ago.

We didn't want to leave the cat there, alone. We waited.

It took about twenty minutes for Palo Alto Animal Services to arrive. By then, we had discussed how we could notify the cat's owner, if he had one. We agreed that a photograph would be too gruesome to post initially, but would allow someone to positively identify the cat if they wanted.

DeeAnn went back to the house to get our camera. When she returned, she also had three roses, cut from one of the bushes in our backyard. She placed them in the box, next to the body. I took the picture.

I didn't want to cry until I saw the flowers.

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