Cars that pass in the night

Late last night I was driving home on a surface street, but one with a 50 MPH speed limit.  As I approached an intersection I could see that something was going on.  There were cars pulled to the right, and several people standing in the fast lane, some waving their hands to signal cars coming right at them to move over.  As I slowed for my turn, I could see the problem, a dog lying in the road.  I turned so my car was perpendicular to the lane, blocking it from oncoming traffic and putting on my hazards.  Pissed off oncoming traffic was slightly more interested in moving over to avoid slamming into my car than they were in just moving around the people waving at them.  The young woman was frantically calling animal control.  I tried telling her they wouldn’t help, but she didn’t understand.  She though that they would send a doggy ambulance of sorts.  I got out, wanting to encourage somebody to give the dog a ride to a 24 hour emergency clinic I knew was nearby.  I couldn’t put the dog in my car, it already had a dog in the back who did not have the temperament to make that workable.

Unfortunately, the dog stopped breathing, before such a plan could be put into action.  While the young crying woman had a more and more frustrating conversation with animal control, who was, of course, not set up to do anything quickly about this problem.

I got out of my car to find a beautiful female German Shepherd lying in the road, a motley crew strangers standing around her, several crying. I turned her collar until I could find tags, so the owner could be called.  A couple of the people had seen the dog running in the road, terrified.  They pulled over and tried to get her to come, but she was panicked.  They were there trying to save her when another driver didn’t see her in time, and despite slamming on his brakes, hit her.  Another was walking his dog and was standing there with his dog, helping to block traffic.  Soon a person from nearby homes joined us with a STOP/SLOW roadwork sign and a reflective vest to put in a little time to making things more visible.  Cars continued to speed past us, faster than the speed limit, aggressively swerving at the last minute but making it clear they were not pleased at being inconvenienced.

We got her name off the tag and talked to her about how good and beautiful she was, and waited for the owner who had been reached with that number on her tag.  He had just walked in the door and discovered her missing, and then the phone rang…

He pulled up to the intersection and came over, already crying, but hopeful.  She was gone, but it didn’t stop him from falling to his knees and begging her to get up.  He was lost and didn’t know what to do.  The young woman explained that she had tried.  That they’d stayed with her.  We helped to load her into his trunk.  He apologized to her for having to lift her unceremoniously.  I told him that we could still take her to the emergency vet nearby, that they could arrange for cremation.  He asked if I was sure they were open, so I called them to verify.  They were.  I described where it was. He thanked me. He still looked shell shocked, so I asked if he wanted me to meet him at the vet so he wouldn’t be there alone.  A look of sheer confusion passed over his face.  It was clear that he wanted to take me up on that offer, and that every bit of social training had taught him to say, “No, that’s okay. I’ll be fine.”  “I’ll meet you there,” I said.  “I’ll pull around and you can follow me to the hospital.”

She had jumped the fence of the 4th of July, panicked by illegal fireworks.  He recovered her on the 4th, but something had made her jump again.

The group of strangers dispersed into the night, and I pulled my car around in front of him and led him to the pet hospital.  We went inside to get employees to come help us.  I got some paper towels to do a little bit of cleaning of the blood on his car, just so that it wouldn’t be staring hard at him in the light of day.  I waited while he filled out paperwork, and told them he wanted a wooden box for her ashes.  He told me of the three wooden boxes he had at home, all German Shepherds, but the others had all passed from old age.  There was another German Shepherd waiting at home, who would be so confused when she never came back.  He said goodbye to her, and then said goodbye to me, hugging me tightly and thanking me.

Then I drove home with Mindy in my car, to be greeted by Watson at the door, and soon the sound of foster puppies wiggling in their crates filled my ears.

RIP beautiful girl. I’m so sorry you didn’t make it home safely.  I know you were loved.

I like dogs better than I like people
Foster Time

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