Sunday, August 16, 2009

Hierarchy of Roadkill

When you run the kind of miles I do, you come upon more than your fair share of dead animals on the side of the road.

I've noticed -- based on my own reaction and those of my running pals -- that not all of these creatures are regarded in the same way.

Here's my take on the Hierarchy of Roadkill, a runner's perspective:

8. Raccoons, opossums, skunks. These are the bottom of the food chain. It might be because they're a dime a dozen on the side of the road. It might be because they're often considered nuisance creatures. Whatever it is, runners barely flinch when they pass by them.

7. Squirrels, chipmunks. These are just slightly ahead of the aforementioned critters. I think they're considered to be slightly cuter, so people feel a little more guilty seeing them on the side of the road. Still, You see them everywhere -- and generally speaking they don't fare well in a head-to-head meeting with a vehicle.

6. Birds. These are a little more rare on the side of the road. I've often wondered how these birds get hit. I suppose many of them actually fly into the vehicles. What a way to go.

5. Frogs. I debated the placement between birds and frogs on this list, but generally speaking I feel a little more sympathetic toward those poor little amphibians trying hop-by-hop to make it to the other side.

4. Deer. I think we all picture those big blinking eyes, recall our childhood memories of Bambi.

3. Cats. We passed a little kitty on the side of the road at last week's team run. I think you could hear the collective 'awwwwe' from the team as we passed what we all knew was someone's pet.

2. Dogs. I'm a self-proclaimed dog person. I've never actually encountered a dog on the side of the road, but if I did I'd probably have to fight back tears thinking of the owner who'd lost their ever-loyal pal -- and didn't even know it yet. Doggies seem to have a habit of trailing me from time to time and I've actually walked a few dogs back home after checking their tags. I only hope someone would do the same for my buddy (not that I ever intentionally let him out of my sight).

1. Humans. You can debate the order of the rest of this list, but be concerned if humans don't top yours.


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