It was about four hours after a bike ride, and although I had eaten afterward, I was still depleted, maybe even light-headed. As I contemplated what to do for dinner, I decided to go through the stacks of mail piled up in our dining room.
After shredding a few credit card offers, I saw an envelope with a picture of a donkey. It was part of a mailing from Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue that my wife had opened. I knew it was going to be a sad story, one whose writer knew exactly which buttons to push and heartstrings to pull. I picked up the letter anyway. First it introduced Rawhide, an abused donkey. It told how fearful he was because of his past mistreatment, and how over time the look in his eyes told the director of Peaceful Valley what sort of trouble he had been through (which his wounds also revealed). Then the letter explained how people try to train donkeys by whipping and beating them. But donkeys don't respond to pain; they just stand there and take it, however long it goes on.
My wife always says I'm a soft touch. Although I deny it, a letter like this would probably make me misty-eyed under any circumstances. But in my condition, the tears were rolling down my face. I looked up and Rosco was looking at me. And when I looked at him, I saw Kilo, the injured and abandoned dog with distemper that had to be put down on the Animal Planet show we watched at 4 AM while waiting for Teddy at the emergency vet last August. And I started to think how the world is full of wicked assholes, and there really isn't a damned thing I can do about it. People will go on beating donkeys, abusing dogs, and killing each other.
Eating dinner wasn't going to change any of that, and I had lost my appetite. I went to bed.
Note: If you visit the Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue Web site, scroll down and don't follow their advice to check out the new site -- there is a lot more information at the old one, at least for now.