Killing Me Softly

Living here in Italy has hardened me a bit. Once upon a time I would rescue anything my cats caught and use whatever means necessary to try and save its life, I now let them get on with it. I know that the poor creature is better swiftly despatched by feline means than to linger on mortally injured. But I still can’t kill.

 I remember once finding a small wounded bird. I drip fed it Rescue Remedy but having done my best, it was still in a bad way. I knew in my heart of hearts that I should put it out of its misery and with a deep breath I took it into the garden.

Like all the best executioners I covered its head with a tea towel then got hold of a huge hammer and lifted it above my head. But I couldn’t do it and stopped, mid swing, in tears. I began a fierce inner debate on whether distance made killing easier and decided that the further removed I was from the actual act, the more likely I was to go through with it.

So with the shrouded little creature on the car seat I drove to a lay-by. I got out and placed the poor wretch under the wheels of the car. But guess what? I couldn’t do that either. Then I had an idea. Surely my neighbour could despatch it? She had ably demonstrated her killing prowess on God knows how many rabbits, hens and turkeys surely a  small sparrow would prove no problem.

So back went the little bird onto the seat of the car and I turned round and drove back to the house. You can imagine how I felt when, having finally made the brave decision to have someone else do it, I opened the car door, reached over to unwrap the sparrow and it flew out of the car and off to freedom. I was off the hook again.


One of my most insane animal rescues was when my neighbours, who had been fishing on Lake Trasimeno, brought three thrashing carp to our front door. Noting my expression a smiling Marco told me to put them in the freezer to expire on their own.

I nodded and took the three fish inside where I immediately ran a bath and put them in, where they effected a remarkable recovery. Of course, then there was the not inconsiderable problem of what to do next. As Alan pointed out, they couldn’t stay there indefinitely, as most people did not usually keep pet carp in the house.

I went and got a bucket and filled it with water then covered it with a black bin liner. After managing to make my escape by pretending to take out the rubbish   I drove to Lake Chiusi where I waded through reeds and mud to return three extremely lucky fish to the wrong lake.






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