Aside from injuring a dog decades ago, yours truly has avoided hitting any animals at all — until this morning, when a rabbit crossing Saddle Creek Road couldn't decide whether to go left or right as my vehicle bore down on him.
I'd curse his dumb indecisiveness, but human pedestrians do the same thing all the time with less than fatal consequence.
There was no bump, but I thought I heard a very abbreviated yelp. (Rabbits are not always silent, as anyone who has ever heard one being torn apart by a dog knows.)
"Oh jeez, I don't want to know how this turned out," said I, but a few blocks later the specter of the animal, half crushed, writhing in agony and fear on the pavement as more cars whizzed by made me turn mine around and look for him.
I've only seen abject fear in an animal once — on Dodge St., after an outdoor concert when thousands of bumper-to-bumper cars snaked toward West Omaha. I was a passenger in the right rear seat and chanced to look down — into the eyes of a panicked collie who had somehow made it into the middle lanes of Omaha's main street. His remaining seconds of life were racing to zero, but he spent part of one looking directly back at me in frantic desperation.
As for my hunt for the rabbit, I could not immediately find him, which elated me, as I thought he had made it, as animals often do who seem to vanish under the chassis of one's car .
But that hope was dashed when I spotted Mr. Bunny motionless, next to the broken-stripe lane marker.
Lucky — if you can call it that —for him and luckier for me that there was no merciful need to finish the job.