Bad Luck For Animals

black cat walking on road
Photo by David Bartus on

I hate seeing a dead animal in the road, or on the bike paths, but animals die, as do we all, and coming across dead animals from time to time is inevitable. Unintentionally killing the animals is another story. For one thing, it is incredibly rare that it happens. When I was nine or ten years old, living in New England, I was firing a BB gun at a target on a fence and ended up hitting a bird. I felt horrible for days. I can still remember the feeling, although it no longer bothers me the way it did when I was a kid.

Recently, however, it seems that I am bad luck for animals. A few days ago, driving to the post office for our passport appointment (a story for another time), a squirrel dashed across the road. This happens almost every day and I watch the squirrel in the rearview mirror as it makes its way to the safety of the sidewalk. This time, however, the squirrel hesitated in the middle of the lane. I was driving the speed limit, 30 mph, and there was nothing I could do. Instead of continuing its mad dash across the street, the squirrel hesitated, and as the car approached, I saw it wrap its tail around itself. A second later, there was a thud, and when I checked the rearview mirror, the squirrel was motionless in the road behind us.

All through the day, I couldn’t get it out of my head, but I chalked it up to bad luck. I’ve passed thousands of critters dashing across the street in front of me, and no harm came to any of them from my vehicle–until the odds caught up with this one.

Then, the bad luck continued. The following day I was sitting here in my office, writing, and out of the corner of my eye, saw something moving. I turned in time to see a bird fly into the window and disappear. It made a loud thud, louder than the squirrels. I looked down by the shed outside my window, and after a second, saw the bird laying motionless on the concrete between the shed and the house. It’s just stunned, I told myself. But an hour later, it was still motionless and, I suspect, dead of broken neck.

Apparently, I am bad luck for animals right now, so if you are an animal, I’d suggest keeping your distance, until this statistical anomaly passes. You’ll thank me for it later.

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