This isn't a fiction story; I was there, and I tell it in the first person for that reason. Sadly, I've seen puppies killed for the mere reason that the owner didn't want that many, and by the simple method of bashing their tiny brains out against a white oak's immense trunk. That was cruel enough, but it was honest.
Yes, I lied to this child, and I will not deny it, nor do I regret it even now. There is a time for honesty, and a time for lies, as for everything else in our world. We have to have the strength to bear with our own choices. That's a part of life and a thing no animal would understand. When they love, they love without reserve, without judgement, and without lies.
Why then is it so hard for certain folks to understand when someone mourns the loss of such a selfless companion, regardless of species? That's a question I'd really like to have an answer for!
Doc looked up into the parents's faces after a brief examination. She shook her head a little, "Its ribs are crushed, the lungs are damaged, and I have no idea how many internal injuries there are. From the swelling, I'd have to say there are a lot. The back is broken. She's in deep shock." Clearly there was nothing to be done to help the kitten live, so mercy was the only option.
Tears ran, and the woman looked at me with desperation, her eyes asking how she was ever going to handle this one. The man, cleared his throat, and went to look out the window of the door, still mumbling something about the weather.
Finally, inspiration struck, and I glanced at the mother, who wore a necklace with a small gold cross on it, "Religious?" I asked, touching my own neck in illustration. Not being religious myself, I was being cautious.