Thursday, February 3, 2011

Sad story and PSA

I love walking my dog. For years, I've looked forward to that part of my day. And it's definitely the highlight of Stormy's day.

But there's a part of walking her that I don't like. First, I should explain, she is not friendly with other dogs, unless she knows the dog. I don't know if that's because she has been scared enough times that her instant reaction is growling or what. And unfortunately, we have had a number of scares with dogs running at us. And that's the part I really don't like.

I actually carry pepper spray now on my leash because I was so terrified one time when a big dog ran across a busy street to where we were walking. I can't even describe the helplessness you feel when a big dog charges at you.

But then... yesterday, a new kind of helplessness. I saw the little, white dog come running down the driveway from across the street, toward us. And I saw the SUV in the road. And in that instance, I held my arm out, trying to alert the driver, but it wasn't enough. Where was my voice? Where was my ability to scream, to jump up and down, to do SOMETHING other than turn away when I knew the inevitable was going to happen?

The people were right there, in the driveway. The screams I heard after it happened will be with me for a long time. The dog's owner went to the back of the car, picked up the dog, and held him to her chest, balling. I'm sure it was killed instantly, which I'm thankful for. It didn't suffer.

And so, I stood there, frozen. What could I do? What could I say? It would all be too little, too late. But then I realized, sitting in the car in the middle of the road was a person who felt the weight of what I felt times a hundred. I picked up Stormy and walked over to the driver's side of the car. Her window was rolled down and she was crying. She was an older lady, and I did what I could to help her, to comfort her in that moment. But I know she went home as I went home - with a very heavy heart.

I cried off and on all evening. Until I was so exhausted, I finally crawled into bed and fell into blissful sleep. My husband told me, Lisa, you were really just an innocent bystander. But see, it's hard because if I hadn't been there, walking my dog, it wouldn't have happened. That sweet little dog would still be alive and those people wouldn't be waking up today with a broken heart. And I keep replaying that moment when I froze, wishing I could have a do-over. Wishing I could have screamed as loud as I've ever screamed before to STOP!! I think I froze because of all those other times I froze as the dog came running at us, and that feeling of helplessness took over.

I write this today because first, as many of you know, writing can be healing. But I also write it to all of us as a reminder. Things can change in an instant. We have to be diligent with our pets! They shouldn't run free EVER. This is the second time in the past *year* I've witnessed a dog getting run over. The other time I was driving on the other side of a road when a dog ran out and a car hit it. And how many times have dogs run at us and fortunately, a car wasn't coming?

Part of me wants to put the leash away and never walk with my dog again. But I can't let the fear win. Stormy LOVES her walks. And most of the time, I do too.

I know this will cause some of you who are reading some sadness, and I'm sorry. I just really needed to share and give everyone a friendly reminder. It makes me feel like I'm doing something so maybe some good comes out of a sad situation. Thanks for reading.


  1. Wow, now you've made me cry. How horrible to witness such a horrible thing as watching a dog get hit by a car. I've never had that happen to me and for that I am thankful.

  2. Oh Lisa, I'm so sorry!! That had to be incredibly difficult to see. I'm just glad it wasn't Stormy...

    My heart goes out to all of you, especially the dog's owners and the driver.

  3. Oh, that is so terrible and sad. I feel for you, for the driver, and for the owner. I know firsthand how it feels. When my dog Skittles was a puppy, she was overexcited when we came home. We were taking groceries out of the car and she was running around us. The next thing you know, she runs the teensiest bit out of our driveway and was hit by a car. Thankfully, the car was going slow and it only hit her on the back end. She was perfectly fine, just shaken up.

    That incidence made me realize just how quickly and easily I could have lost my dog. I never want to feel that way again and I would never wish that upon anyone else.

    *Hugs to you and Stormy*

  4. Oh, that's so sad. I can't imagine how awful it must have been to witness that.
    I hope the little dog didn't suffer.

    Hugs to you and Stormy.

  5. Oh, Lisa. Please don't think along the lines of "if you hadn't walked Stormy."

    My father ran over one of our cats when I was a teen, and a big rottweiler attacked my cocker spaniel during a walk. I never forgot those events, but I hope you (and the dog owner and the driver) can recover enough to live without this hanging over your heads.

    Hope you and Stormy bring comfort to each other.