And I've never hit an animal. Until now.
Last Friday, on my way to work, I was driving on the Interstate. I noticed the car ahead of me in the middle lane start to move to my lane, nearly hitting the car in front of me. We were already traveling at a low speed because of traffic, but I slowed just a little more - thankfully. It was at that moment I saw the doe come from behind that car and right into the front of mine. I swerved to the shoulder but there was nothing I could do. I hit it.
I pulled over to the side about 20 yards ahead and sobbed. I couldn't stop. I called 911 because I didn't know if there would be traffic issues, although everything behind me seemed to be moving fine.
When the police officer came to the side of my door, I was still crying. She said the deer was no where in site and most likely had been able to run away. They are pretty tough critters. And, if I had hurt it seriously, my car would have had more damage. That made me feel a little better.
But wait - damage to my car? That hadn't occurred to me. It didn't feel that hard and the airbags didn't deploy. I couldn't be that bad.
It was an experience I never want to repeat. My heart broke and, even though she most likely is OK, I'll never forget those eyes. Every time I look at my car I almost cry. Not for the car, but for the creature I almost killed. For all the creatures that are moving into our "civilized" areas because their wild areas are getting smaller. For all those creatures just trying to survive.
But I am also grateful that this little deer has another chance.
Our wildlife is our responsibility to protect. If they are moving in on us, it's because we've moved in on them. They simply need to survive.