A few weeks ago, I was driving along the highway when I caught sight of a large dog walking in the grass by the road.
I stopped my car by the side of the road and approached the dog slowly. Fortunately, it didn't growl at me or try to bite me. Instead, it seemed timid and frightened. I couldn't just leave the dog there, because I knew that the image of it wandering alone by the highway would haunt me forever. It made me think of last year, when I saw an already-injured bird die after it was run over by a car. I screamed when it happened, and then I cried because I didn't save it. I had to make up for that now.
I managed to coax the dog into the backseat of my car. The dog smelled so bad that I had to open my windows, even though it was cold. She (I think it was a girl) was wet and muddy, and a small, selfish part of me lamented over the fact that my brand-new, sparkling clean car seats were now dirty. It seemed like the dog had been outside for days. I stopped by a convenience store and bought a cup of water and a bag of chips for the dog. Judging by the way the dog gobbled down almost all the chips, it seemed like she hadn't eaten for a few days either.
The dog didn't have a collar or any tags, and there were no houses near the place where I found her. It made me think that some evil monster had dumped the dog by the highway.
I wanted to take the dog home with me, but my building doesn't allow dogs. It doesn't seem fair that my neighbors, who scatter cigarette butts and trash all over the parking lot and wake me up at 2 A.M. with their parties, are allowed to live there, but dogs are not.
I took the dog to an animal shelter nearby. They were very nice and assured me that they would take good care of her. I asked if she would be euthanized eventually, but they said they hadn't had to euthanize any of the animals in more than a year (the nearest no-kill shelter was more than an hour away; the dog was getting antsy in my backseat, and I wasn't even sure if they would take her). I was sorry to say good-bye to the dog, but I left hoping and praying that she would find a good home.
The whole situation made me feel sad and angry. I felt sad that I couldn't adopt the dog myself. I felt angry at the scum that abandoned her. I also felt angry at all the drivers that had passed the dog (she was very large, so it would have been impossible to miss her) without stopping.
It made me wish that karma was real and that eventually whoever left that beautiful dog by the side of the road would get what he or she deserved. But sometimes I wonder if karma is real. Not long after I helped that dog, I came down with the flu, which meant I spent almost half of my Christmas vacation in bed. I had all these plans for my time off, too. (That's also partly why I haven't blogged in a month.)
It made me think of how I tried to help people before. Once I helped push an old man in his wheelchair across the street, but then he got mad at me because I wouldn't stay and "socialize" with him. I used to bring doughnuts to a homeless person, until he got mad and demanded that I bring him sandwiches instead. I offered to help an old woman struggling to go down the stairs with her cane, but she screamed at me and threatened to hit me with the cane.
I don't wish bad things on any of those people, but situations like those make me wonder if being a good person is worth it. It's not like I hope to get something out of helping people (although a "thank you" would be nice once in a while), but sometimes it seems like good things only happen to the most selfish and inconsiderate people in the world (like one person who shall remain nameless, but whose name rhymes with "chump".)
What about you? Do you think karma is real? Did your attempt to help someone else ever backfire?
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