Otto, Another Buttermilk Lane Car Casualty – December 6, 2011

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Otto Ryan-Sargent in the Buttermilk Lane sunshine. Photo courtesy Julie Ryan

On Saturday Nov. 19, 2011 at approximately 1 p.m., a teal honda CRV sped down Buttermilk Lane toward Samoa Boulevard. It struck and killed Otto Ryan-Sargent in the 1800 Block of the street and brought a violent and ugly death to our gentle and beloved cat. The driver of the teal CRV did not stop despite people screaming and waving at them.

Otto was truly a magical one of a kind cat. He had so much personality that everyone who met him adored him instantly and loved watching him sit and give hi-fives for treats.

He had a large, expressive, lion-like face. A long and tall grey cat, he weighed almost 15 lbs., and his subtle tabby coat ranged from pale silver to dark pewter at the tip of his tail.

He was such a huge part of our lives and we loved him more than anything. He slept in the bed with us every night, usually under the covers with his head on the pillow just like a person. He serenely curled up on our laps in the evenings to be petted and snuggled. He followed us everywhere in the house. He was always there wanting to be part of the action whether we were reading, cooking or watching a movie.

He did a million things to amuse us. There is nothing as silly as seeing a 15 lb. lion of a cat chasing his tail as if he were a kitten.

Otto loved going into the fenced front and backyard for supervised outdoor time. Unfortunately, he would sometimes find ways to become unsupervised, and I would usually find him next door and bring him in. I always told him to be careful, because people drive too fast and don’t pay attention.

The cruel irony of this is that he did get out of my sight and I was out searching for him to bring him in the house and keep him safe. He was farther up the street than he had ever gone (two houses away) I saw the CRV run him over, and ran as fast as I could to him.

Two people were kind enough to stop and offer help. I scooped him in my arms, and we rushed him to the vet. I knew he wouldn’t make it, but I had to try.

Mike and I cannot express how incredibly painful this has been. He was only eight-and-one-half years old. He wasn’t just our cat, he was the closest thing to a son we’ll ever have. He brought so much joy into our lives, and joy to everyone who knew him.

Living on Buttermilk Lane, we daily witness people driving too fast through our neighborhood. All of our neighbors have lost pets to speeding cars over the years as well. Each and every time it is painful and tragic.

The City has yet to respond to neighbors requests, letters and petitions for traffic calming measures. I am going to add this letter of heartbreak to the many others submitted by our neighbors over the years.

Arcata, I can only hope that Otto’s death is not in vain, otherwise all the talk about exemplary quality of life means nothing.

With heavy hearts,

Julie Ryan and Mike Sargent

Sunny Brae

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