Or maybe he came looking for me, ’cause he knew I’d help. But either way, there he was, a dying rat just outside the lobby door. A few coworkers almost stepped on him on their way out to lunch. He was breathing, but his eyes were glassy and he was sitting in a tiny puddle of what I’m guessing was his urine. My coworkers didn’t know what exactly to do, so they went on to lunch. I am, as you may have noticed by now, not so sensible.
If I left him there, someone would be sure to either step on him or move him in a less sympathetic manner. I got as close as I dared, and it became clear he wasn’t going to be herded away from the door. All he did was breath faster when I got closer. Poor guy was scared. If I picked him up, I’m certain he would do what wild, pained animals do, which is bite. I’m assuming he’d been poisoned, but there’s always the chance that he had rabies.
I found a cardboard box and another slightly larger flat piece. The larger version of the cup and paper trap I use to get bugs out of my house. I put the box over him and then gently slid the piece of cardboard under the box and the rat. I started carrying him towards where I’d heard of rats living before, but realized that this was the direction he’d come from and that it was “hot as balls” on this side of the building. I’m guessing that’s why he left. So I carried him around to some bushes on the shady side of the building, where he’d have a view of the trees and benches. Have you ever stopped to consider where a rat would want to die? It’s a strange thing to ponder on a sunny afternoon.
I slid him in under the coziest looking bush, and left him in peace. Now comes the hard part for me, leaving him alone, not torturing him with water dishes and attempts to fix whatever is wrong. (A tea party, and a kicky hat! A name! Luther! My love will save you, Luther!)
I just checked on him and he’s fading. His little head is leaning down sideways, his breathing is still labored. He’s going to die, and someday so will I. But the pattern I’m beginning to recognize is that in whatever directions I, our earth, our galaxy, our expanding universe are spinning in I may not know, but it does seem to throw us up against whatever it is we need.