"We hit a deer last night."
It's amazing how just six words can ruin a perfect day.
I overheard those words when a woman at my early morning gym class told her friend as they were grabbing their dumbbells before the workout started. I gasped. It was obvious that she and her family were fine. But what about the deer?
My first thought was to ask her. I saw she was unruffled in her attitude as she relayed the remaining story in their conversation, so I decided against opening up my usually big mouth.
"We've hit two," the other woman said, nonchalantly, adding, "Are the kids all right?"
"Yeah," the first woman said. "They were a bit shaken up but they're OK." They continued to discuss how traumatic it was for the kids. No real bad damage to the car and they drove off, she said.
My heart sank.
But what of the deer? Was he down? Was he dead? Was he injured? Was he writhing in agony? Lying there alone on the road terrified and suffering with no help in sight? The woman seemed pretty apathetic. Not one ounce of compassion, so what did that project to her children? Sure, I was overhearing a story being relayed to someone else, but the lack of emotion was unsettling. She may as well have told her friend about the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches she made for the kids that day.
The friend never asked about the deer, and the other woman never mentioned the animal. It's just an animal. Just a rock. Just a highway marker. What's the difference to most people?
It begs the questions: How can any living being allow another living being to suffer and do nothing about it? And what does that teach our children?
Then I realized that lately I had been hearing a lot more about similar incidents and seeing articles and posts on Facebook about cars hitting deer.