Friday, June 06, 2008

We Stop to Help Injured Dogs

There’s a headline story out of Hartford, Connecticut about an elderly pedestrian getting slammed by two cars and, “like a dog they left him there”, as the story goes.

“There seems little question that the driver of the car that struck Angel Arce Torres on May 30 knew what happened,” she said in a written statement. “Almost as chilling is the reaction of some passers-by who did little in the moments after the crash to assist Mr. Torres.”

This story got to me as I read it last night. You see, yesterday was a very hard day for me emotionally; I’d accidentally run over my dog, she’d been sleeping under my truck after having gotten out from the fenced yard.

I felt a “bump” as the tires rolled over “something” and I stopped to see what I’d run over. There’s almost nothing that can express my horror upon seeing my Puppy sitting there trying to figure out how to make her legs work. I let Lucy know that we needed to get her to the Vet right away, grabbed a bath towel and carefully scooped Puppy into the make shift hammock and got her into the car for transport.

We had two young men helping to clear away limbs and debris and they were able to accompany Lucy and Puppy to the dog hospital. I was about to follow when I looked around for my cell phone and couldn’t find it; looking everywhere and my head not too clear as to anything. The mother of the boys drove up and wondered what was going on and I managed to explain what had just happened. She figured out how to locate my cell phone by dialing the number; it began ringing, in my pocket.

Puppy was lying on the floor in the outside waiting area, a black and white “office cat” walked around in a wide circle; perhaps this was the CAT scan. Puppy didn’t give the appearance of being in pain; a quiet acceptance of the moment gave me false hope that maybe the damage was minimal. She hadn’t yelped when I picked her up and had even licked my hand; damn that stupid dog for breaking my heart.

I had a job waiting, the one I had just prior to running over Puppy. I left Lucy and the boys at the Vet and they would call once the Doctor had a chance to evaluate everything. I got a call about a half hour later letting me know how severe the injuries were. Puppy is 13 years old, has been incontinent for the past year or so, is totally deaf and the Vet said that she is almost blind from cataracts in both eyes. I was then told that the required surgeries would mean several months of healing, bolts and screws in the legs along with the pain. It was a fairly direct way of telling me that Puppy’s odds were slim to none and it was time to let go; the Vet handed the phone back to Lucy, “Say goodbye for me.”

I couldn’t imagine leaving my dog in the driveway after having rolled over her; how in the name of humanity can anyone leave the scene of an accident where another human being has been injured? I called my folks, mostly to have an outlet for the emotions which were dripping down my cheeks. They did all the talking, trying to bolster my damaged heart with soothing words. “You gave her a great life while she was with you”, didn’t take away the pain knowing that I’d run over my Puppy; damn animals for getting inside my heart, for being part of my family and for the pain and emptiness when they die.

As my friend Steve Sanders would say about now, “So, other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how’d you like the show?” This was a tough one to write.

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