Henry came very close to dying before I ever even met him. In fact, if a neighbor had had the least bit of compassion, he might have been dead. But because his suffering wasn’t worth anything to her, he became my problem — and he ultimately became a great source of joy for me.
It was sometime in 1992, and I hadn’t been living where I live now for very long. I didn’t know many of the neighbors yet, but I knew a number of the neighborhood kids. As I was coming back from a walk, one of the little girls came running up with a breathless story about a kitten under a porch who needed help. Here’s the story that I pieced together from talking to various people who were involved.
A woman who lived on the street found a tiny kitten who was injured, apparently after a dog attacked him. She took the kitten to a nearby vet clinic, where she found out that his right rear leg was shattered into a number of pieces. The clinic recommended putting him to sleep as the most humane option. The woman agreed, but then found out she would have to pay for it. She refused. So she brought the little lump of life and fur back home — and left him outside to fend for himself … and to die.