Writer talks about the brief life and dignified death of a kitten named Jill

Accidents happen. That’s why they’re called accidents. Animals dart out in front of oncoming cars and drivers have no time to react. It happens. I get that.

What I don’t understand is how someone could hit an animal and not stop to assist if the poor soul is still alive.

A few weeks ago, I was approaching a stop light when I saw the most beautiful little kitten lying in the oncoming lane.

Sick to my stomach, with vehicles lining up behind me, I debated how to turn around so I could move the poor thing off the road.

I glanced in the rearview mirror and thought I saw the kitten move. Thinking I was seeing things, I did a double take. When I realized the kitten was trying to move, I did a very quick u-turn, parked the car, grabbed a blanket, ran over and carefully wrapped up the frail little body and raced back to my vehicle.

I headed straight for my vet’s office. Although its little eye was bulging a bit and blood was coming from its mouth and nose, the kitten was now meowing and trying to move about.

Aside from those noticeable injuries, the kitten seemed to be OK, just very disoriented.

The staff was standing by as I raced to the door. Dr. Anne examined the kitten from head to tail.

The kitten, although still disoriented, was trying to escape the blanket. A good sign? I hoped.

I messaged my husband, and my heart swelled when he wrote back, “Obviously we’ll take her if she’s going to make it.”

It had only been 30 minutes but I was already in love with this beautiful little soul. I named him Jack.

I struggled to keep a clear head as I decided we should proceed with X-rays. This kitten deserved every chance.

While the X-rays didn’t show any life-threatening bodily injuries, the vet couldn’t be sure how severe the head trauma had been, although she was quite certain that it been extensive. She also confirmed that the kitten was a female. Jack was now Jill.

After a lengthy back and forth, we determined that the impact from the accident had been too severe. With the kitten in obvious pain, we made the decision to put her down. I prayed I was doing the right thing. Dr. Anne reassured me that it was for the best.

A part of me knew I was taking the kitten in to be euthanized, but another part of me remained hopeful she could be saved. Such an innocent soul, I couldn’t even imagine how she ended up in a major intersection to begin with.

As I held her little paw, we put her to sleep. She was no longer suffering, which is my worst fear for any animal.

My eyes welled with tears wishing it could have had a different outcome.

To the vet’s surprise, I asked to have Jill cremated and her ashes returned to me. She may not have had a meaningful life prior to meeting me, but she was certainly going to have a dignified end. My mantra with my senior pets is that they simply deserve the most dignified life and end that I can possibly give them.

Perhaps that kitten wasn’t cared for by anyone in her early life, but she was surely going to experience being loved. We all have our passions. Pets, and their health and dignity, are mine.

Amy J. Hanna-Eckenrode is the author of “Have Dog Will Blog,” editor of the Central PA Pets magazine and director of the Central PA Pet Expo. She can be contacted at ahanna@altoonamirror.com or by mail: Paws and Reflect, c/o Amy J. Hanna-Eckenrode, Altoona Mirror, 301 Cayuga Ave., Altoona, PA 16602.