The darkness had already settled-in for the night and it was only 6:00 p.m.
The road home from work would be a long one, but driving is very soothing to me and I really didn't mind.
Out of the darkness and in a split second, I noticed a Basset Hound mix from the right walking obliviously and directly into the path of my SUV - about 5 feet in front of me. I was horrified because I knew instantly the outcome of his very poor decision.
The impact forced my SUV to fishtail into the other lane and I quickly got back on course. I was very grateful to the Lord above that oncoming traffic was far away and the cars in my lane were well behind me.
I put on my right blinker and pulled off into the shoulder and put on my flashers. I kept muttering through the tears, "Oh, my gosh, I hit a dog. Oh, my gosh, I hit a dog." I got out and started running in the grass trying to find him.
I did find him. He was in the shoulder, laying deathly still on his side with no life in his eyes. I put my hand on his side, hoping to feel or see a breath. I thought I saw one, but my tear-filled eyes could have been misleading me as I was never to see anymore that night; if I had even seen that one.
I knew the little guy was dead, but I just couldn't leave him. He had on no collar so I couldn't contact any owners. I called Gary. No answer. I called again. No answer. I called my boss, Jim.
Jim and his wife, Carol, take in feral cats in their neighborhood and at least get them spayed or neutered if they can't keep or find homes for them. They also just lost their dog, Fergus, about 3 years ago. I knew he would care.
To make a long story short, Jim called the Animal Control office and conferenced me in with them. I did my best to calmly tell the lady what happened and where the dog was. She reassured me that it wasn't my fault, that these things happen, that I had done everything possible and that someone would be on their way.
Gary called me back. We agreed that it really was unsafe for me to be parked along the side of the road. Who knew how long Animal Control would be? I called the kind lady back and she said it would be Okay if I left, especially since the little guy was dead and just needed to be picked up.
I spent the next half hour of my drive sobbing. The thought of hitting something else because I was too emotional helped dry my eyes after a while.
I called later on to confirm they picked him up off the road. The very compassionate voice on the other end informed me that they had. I cried a few more times that night. I apologized to Gary, "I'm sorry. I know it's irrational."
He said reassuringly, "Actually, it's very rational. You love dogs and it's too bad that of all the people who might have run over him, it ended up being you. It's very understandable why you're so upset."
If this little fella would have been alive, I would have rushed him to the vet ER. Frankly, since his owners didn't care enough to keep a collar on him and keep him fenced, we would have had another addition to the family.
Sadly, things ended much, much differently. My two pups below are definitely getting some extra attention this weekend. As if we could give them anymore.
I'm so sorry, little buddy. Rest in peace.