My Mom is a Bada**
Yeah, you read that title right. My mom is a badass. A badass animal-rescuing superhero.
Over the weekend, we were driving along a stretch of I-75 near Tifton, GA. I was chatting away on the phone with my Valentine, Sarah, and my mom was lost in the throes of her audiobook.
I saw a golden ball of fur on the inside of the highway, up against a cement wall. Roadkill, I thought.
Except it wasn’t. We drove past this ball of fur, and it was huddled up against the wall and most definitely NOT dead.
“It’s alive!” I shrieked at my mother. “The cat was alive.”
“Maybe you should go,” Sarah said, and without even really acknowledging her, I hung up. (Sorry, Sarah.) Then I looked at my Mom, who was now wearing her game face.
You see, my family rescues animals. Always. We’ve taken home more dogs and cats than you can even imagine, and we’ve single-handedly saved half of those from deaths on a highway.
“We have to go back,” I said.
Mom nodded. “There was no shoulder, but we’ll drive back and see what we can do.”
We got off at the next exit and looped back an exit to drive by the cat again. But there was construction on the right, and no shoulder anywhere on which to park. We zoomed past the cat–still alive and still huddling.
Again, we had to loop exits and come back, but this time, we parked on the highway’s on-ramp. Then we got out and walked. We were afraid that even if we could cross three lanes of full-speed traffic, we might scare the cat into it… Plus, because there was construction, we’d have to climb over a cement wall before we even got to the traffic-evasion.
We came level with the cat, and it turned around, spotting us across the highway. It meowed, and my heart almost broke.
At that same instant, a giant black truck careened off the road right for the cat–and the wall behind.
My heart lodged in my throat, and I watched in slow motion as the truck barreled straight for the ball of golden fur…and then somehow, three feet before impact–veered back into its lane.
“Let me go,” I shrieked at my Mom (seriously, I was super dramatic). “There’s a gap in the cars now! Let me go!”
My mom gave me her stern, pinch-lipped face. “You. Will. Not. Go.”
“I am 58. I can die for a cat. You cannot. Now stay.” Then she looked out over the highway, saw her moment, and moved.
She hurtled the cement barrier and then power-walked across the highway. She didn’t want to run in case she scared the cat, but walking would have been waaaaay to slow. Those semis don’t stop down for nothing.
She came up behind the cat, snatched it up, and then flattened herself against the wall right as traffic came rocketing past. All I could manage to do was pace, wring my hands, and beg God to keep my mom safe.
Another gap in cars struck–a really short gap–and this time, Mom bolted. She flew across the three lanes, leaped back over the cement barrier, and then looking as cool as you please, said, “That was very stupid. Don’t tell your dad we did this.”
All I managed was a blubbery, “Thank you” because I was keening off adrenaline and about to start crying at an moment.
Mom glanced down at the ball of fur–it was just a teeny, tiny kitten who was purring like crazy and clearly sick. Oddly enough, we already had some cat food and litter in the car, so we just plopped her down in the car, fed her (she was VORACIOUSLY hungry), and then let her go to sleep.
And that, my friends, is how my parents wound up with one more pet–a kitty named Tifton.
We took her to the vet the next morning, and it turns out she’s not a kitten at all. She’s just severely malnourished and unhealthy, so she never grew past kitten-size.
But other than a bad case of fleas and ear mites, little Tifton has nothing life-threatening. And now she’s sitting beside me, purring like a maniac–no doubt glad to just be alive and warm. My heart swells every time I look down at her, and I’m so glad my mom and I were as stupid and reckless as we were.
And that, my friends, is why my mom is a superhero badass.
You tell me: have you ever done anything REALLY RISKY to save an animal?
February 15, 2012 @ 2:10 pm
That’s such a great story! Your mother is so brave! Tifton is lucky you guys found her.
I do exactly the same thing! I see stray cats and start feeding them and wanting to take them home. That’s how I ended up with 3 cats and 3 dogs. We’re always rescuing injured birds as well and then release them back into the wold once they get better.
February 16, 2012 @ 12:27 am
Injured birds–YES!!! ME TOO!! Clearly we are kindred spirits. <3
February 15, 2012 @ 3:55 pm
Good for you.
February 16, 2012 @ 12:27 am
Thanks! It is perhaps a ridiculous story to a lot of people, but that’s just how my family operates.
February 15, 2012 @ 4:42 pm
Oh, my god. I don’ t think I’ve ever been so impressed in my life. Your mother isn’t just a badass, she’s a hero as far as I’m concerned! I’m glad the ball of fur has a good home now!
I’ve never managed to save anything myself (my parents won’t let me), but you can bet once I’m out of their place it is ON.
February 16, 2012 @ 12:28 am
“It is ON”–> LOVE IT!!
I even rescued a dog on my prom night…I hopped out of my boyfriend’s car, scooped up this scraggly dog on the side of the road (in full formal wear and heels!), and took it home… 😛
February 15, 2012 @ 5:15 pm
Such a sweet story. And your mother is a total badass. For jumping off waterfalls AND saving adorable animals. Rockstar through and through 😉
February 16, 2012 @ 12:29 am
My mom is definitely my hero. I want to be HER when I grow up. 😉
Brenna Gibson Minor
February 15, 2012 @ 5:35 pm
That’s quite the daring rescue! So glad everyone made it out safely, and Tifton sounds like a great addition to the family. Go Mrs. D!
February 16, 2012 @ 12:29 am
Brenna, if anyone knows about crazy dog rescues (um…Pooka?), it’s you. <3
February 15, 2012 @ 5:36 pm
Your family is just AMAZING. I have no words.
Also Tifton is adorbz.
Yeah, so cute I can’t even spell out the word a-dor-able. But…doesn’t your dad read your blog? So won’t he know what happened? 😛
February 16, 2012 @ 12:29 am
Oh, we wound up telling Dad anyway…he was horrified but he’s also completely smitten with the cat. So it all worked out. 😉
February 15, 2012 @ 6:39 pm
I think I just cried. But just look at that little cat! D: All the feelings cannot be contained. And your mom! That was so brave of her, and awesome, and just–YAY! 😀 She’s awesome and totally badass, you’re right. I think the kitty would agree 😉 That’s so sweet that you guys saved it, though. I have a soft spot for cats and this just made me totally happy.
I don’t have any crazy stories about saving animals, really, which makes me sound so uninteresting. The one time I remember doing something was back when I was fourteen, I went to this park back home, except it was more of a combination of a park an zoo, so it had animals that were for the most part both malnourished and mistreated. The park didn’t really have the funds anymore to keep them, but they’ve been there for forever so they couldn’t get rid of them either.
Anyway, so there was a hole in the net that kept the deer inside their area and one of them had escaped and went running around. Then a bunch of kids (young, like about my age then) cornered the poor things and were throwing rocks at him.
They were *throwing rocks at the deer*.
I got so mad. My first though was that it could be one of my little brothers. So I walked right up to them and punched one in the face.
Hard. I was a very satisfied fourteen year old.
I would have beat up everybody else, too, but my parents came and gave the kids a stern talking and kept them there while they called the people in charge of the park.
The poor deer, though! It was bleeding and one of its little legs was bent in a way it should have. And it was just a baby! UGH. Just remembering it makes me so sad. That’s like BEATING UP BAMBI!
Anyway, so that’s my story lol
February 16, 2012 @ 12:31 am
DUDE. That’s a pretty badass story!! YOU PUNCHED THEM IN THE FACE!!!! TO SAVE A DEER!!!!! You are a freakin’ animal-saving superhero too!!!! Gosh, my love for you just quadrupled. <3 <3
February 16, 2012 @ 12:35 am
<3 <3 <3 That must be the loveliest feeling ever. I mean, scary, but WOW, to save a life! Tifton is absolutely adorable. She's truly a just reward for you mother's courage. 🙂
February 20, 2012 @ 5:10 pm
It was scary…and in hindsight, probably stupid. BUT, my whole family is smitten with the kitty–even my dad. 😉
February 16, 2012 @ 12:37 am
Ok, your mom is totally awesome. OOH! You both should try out for The Amazing Race! DO IT!
I’ve never rescued a dog per se, but I did find my BFF’s dog about a mile from her house when I was in high school. I was just driving along and saw him, so I coaxed into the backseat and drove him home. They had no idea he’d gotten out. I guess that counts?
February 20, 2012 @ 5:11 pm
Totally counts. Any animal rescue makes you a superhero in my book. 😉
February 17, 2012 @ 1:00 am
That is a crazy story, and your mom is most definitely badass for it. 🙂
Personally, I’ve never done anything so crazy, but I did once yell at a man who was taunting a lion at the zoo with a laser pointer. He kept pointing it in the lion’s eyes and claiming he was playing. I thought it was horrible, but wasn’t actually going to do anything until one of my friends started walking toward him. I followed her and when she froze up and didn’t know what to say I stepped in.
I kinda went off on him, especially when he insisted he was just playing with the lion. I may or may not have ended up telling him I was going to call the zoo police… I couldn’t think of the word ‘security’ under pressure. My friends still mock me about it to this day. But it worked and the man and his goonish friends left the lion alone. Apparently a bunch of 18 year old girls with ice cream cones threatening to call the zoo police was enough to scare them off. 🙂 We saw them later at the reptile exhibit and they refused to acknowledge we were there and basically ran away. It was pretty funny.
My grandmother is also pretty kickass with animals. She worked at an animal shelter for years and has the biggest misfit bunch of pets I’ve ever seen. When my mom was a kid, a bird crashed into their glass door and broke its wind and my grandmother nursed it back to health. Once the bird was healthy, they released it, but it came back every day for food 🙂
Gosh, this comment has gotten long… Clearly you shouldn’t get me started on animals 😉
February 20, 2012 @ 5:13 pm
DUDE. The Zoo Police–it should be the name of a band. 😉 Seriously, though, that’s an AWESOME story. I’m not sure what I would have done in your shoes…people scare me waaaay more than animals.
And your grandma sounds like my mom. Mom works at an animal shelter too, and her collection of pets is scruffy at best…
February 18, 2012 @ 10:33 am
Wow that’s a pretty cool story in hindsight, seeing as you , your mother, and the little cat are all well.
Can’t say I’ve ever been in the situation to rescue an animal…other than a bee that managed to fall in a toilet…not really so cool. However my father’s bestfriend Mark is always getting into such scrapes. He jumped in a semi-frozen lake to pull out a young deer, when the professional rescue team turned up they went mental at him said the deer could have drowned him if it had panicked!
February 20, 2012 @ 5:13 pm
WOWOWOWOWOW!!! I don’t know if I’d have dived into a lake–I certainly wouldn’t have been ABLE to do that. Your friend Mark is clearly a reckless badass like my family.
February 19, 2012 @ 8:37 pm
Ummm your mom is my HERO.
February 20, 2012 @ 5:14 pm
Hahaha–she’s mine too. 😉
February 21, 2012 @ 6:07 am
Bless your Mom’s heart.I went through something similar a few years ago. I was driving down a freeway on a steep hill and came across a 20 car pileup. I went around it and stopped on the shoulder to see what I could do. I saw a black poodle about to run into the freeway so I jumped in front of him and then he lay down on the shoulder. Then a truck came on to the shoulder and I jumped back and the truck missed me, but ran over the dog. It just lay there, certainly dead. Ten seconds later the dog got up and started running up a hill next to the freeway. A woman and I were able to grab him. I took him to the vet and all he had was 2 broken ribs. Also, no people were hurt in this situation. Of course, a lot of cars were dented. I was able to find the dog’s owner. She told me the dog had gotten out of the house and had zero street smarts. She sobbed when I told her how close of a call it was. I never thought about what I was doing while chasing the dog. It was all automatic behavior. Well, animals have souls. They are aware of their existence. That’s why I’ve been a vegetarian for a long time. Your Mom is a very good person. Please tell her that.