My son was in junior high, (middle school for those under 40) and I was in the long “pick up” line waiting to pick him up after school.
I could see clearly from about midway through the line that he was upset. When I got up to the point where the kids were allowed to walk off the curb to their awaiting ride, he rushed into my mini-van and promptly burst into tears.
My son was 11 and he was a tender hearted child when it came to certain things, animals being one of them, but he did NOT cry in front of other kids! Today, he was wailing as if his heart was broken.
When he was finally able to stop long enough to speak, he explained to me that one of the older kids had found a frog on the sidewalk and was throwing it up in the air and watching it hit the ground. The frog was bleeding and barely alive.
My kids were brought up with animals of all types. They were taught to have the utmost respect and kindness for all living creatures. We lived in the country and my kids have watched their mother pull over "a many a time" to help a turtle get safely across the road. They have seen me stop at a house where there was a dog chained to a tree and had somehow gotten his neck stuck through a rubber, disc shaped object and remove the thing from his head. They were NOT accustomed to seeing an animal mistreated.
As he finished telling me this horrid story, his tears and the wailing started all over again. By now we were far enough away that I could safely pull over and hug and kiss him (that was another thing you did not do in front of the other kids !!).
I cannot remember doctors' appointments without writing them down. I barely remember kids and grandkids birthdays, but I remember that incident as clearly as if it were yesterday – the pain of seeing my baby witness cruelty to an animal.
That memory is as fresh today as it was 16 years ago.