Ava the Human: I couldn’t help an injured animal. How do I let go of the guilt?

Dear Paws to Talk,

I live in New York City, so most days I walk to work. Today, I headed out my door and halfway down the block saw a cat with a bloody leg and face. This poor animal also had a horribly deformed tail.  I stopped in my tracks and knelt down with my hand out trying to get the cat to come to me. It didn’t work. He or she made their way onto a fenced in private property.

I thought about how I could get onto the property and corral the cat. Making the situation worse was an older man who walked up to me saying, “That cat is going to die soon.” My heart was heavy.

With the cat disappearing in front of me and no legal way for me to save it with my own hands, I decided to call a reputable shelter north of the city. They sympathized with me but recommended I get in touch with a couple of places nearby who might be able to help. After 30 minutes of getting transferred from one office to another, I got an answer. The answer was that there was nothing any of these organizations could do for this cat today.

I felt sad and angry. I am not a stray cat wrangler. Don’t we have rescue organizations for situations like this? I understand that funding is short and there is not enough manpower but this is ridiculous.

How can I feel less frustrated after not being able to help this animal?

-Ava the Human

Howl Ava,

*Paws over eyes in disbelief* This is a tragic story and a difficult way to start your day. It also makes us realize how unbelievably lucky we are. Sometimes, we complain about our humans but we know they would never abandon us or allow us to be harmed.

We commend you for trying to save this cat. You could have just walked by and carried on with your day like we’re sure most people in your neighborhood did. Humans like you make a difference for creatures like us.

Take comfort in the fact that your tried your best. Unfortunately, you can’t rescue everyone. Your New York City apartment is probably way too small for that.

Just make sure that if you ever own an animal or have a child, you will treat it with the utmost respect. Also, keep an eye out of that cat. You couldn’t save him today but tomorrow could be a different story.


Bella and DiDi
















© Margot Ahlquist and Paws to Talk, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Margot Ahlquist and Paws to Talk with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

14 thoughts on “Ava the Human: I couldn’t help an injured animal. How do I let go of the guilt?

  1. I’m hoping for better luck for the Cat tomorrow…..

    Wags and hugs to all of you,

    Your pal Snoopy 🙂

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