I was late to work this morning. By about five minutes. I would’ve been on time — early even — but when I arrived at the accident on Jefferson Boulevard I had to stop. I could’ve kept going if the dog had been dead that was lying in the middle of the street in front of the minivan that had hit it and the sedan that had in turn hit the minivan, but when I passed and saw it was still alive despite all the blood I had to stop. I had to stop because the people standing around were all occupied with the damage done to the cars and none to the poor animal. So I pulled over and I got out and I was already crying as I approached the dog because it was clear he was done. He just didn’t know it yet because he was still breathing and moving his head a little, probably because that was all he could move.
He was big, and golden brown. Beautiful. Strong. Looked like a lab with some pit or the other way around. And when I knelt down beside him one of the people turned from the minivan and asked me if it was my dog. And I said no but in a way they’re all my dogs and the person said uhhhh…oh and turned quickly back to the minivan while I put my hand on the dog’s big head and stroked it told it I was sorry it was hurt and that I was sorry I couldn’t heal him and that I was sorry about everyone ignoring him but that I wouldn’t. And he kept breathing and moving his head for a couple more mintues until he died. With my hand on his big neck. He just relaxed and he died and I was relieved because he wasn’t in anymore pain. But now I was. And I got up and got back in my truck and had to drive with the tears making it hard enough to see so that I had to pull over twice and just let it all out. And when I got to my job I had to wire myself up tight and block it out of my mind so that I could tie up about a dozen loose ends needing tying before getting on a plane tomorrow morning for four days of business in Orlando.
Occasionally the mental blinds would fly up revealing a picture of the dog prone and ignored in the street under an otherwise beautiful and bright sun-filled morning and I had to do my best to stifle the despair, but otherwise I was good until I left for home this afternoon a little early to pack. I came back the same way to find that intersection at Jefferson clean. The dog was gone. The blood was washed away. As if nothing happened. And when I got home I found our youngest dog nervously awaiting reprimand for having brought a mushy persimmon in from the backyard and mushed it into the living room rug. But instead I wrapped her up in my arms and cried into her flank and I said don’t worry dog. You can do no wrong today. All is forgiven. And I just held her for a couple minutes.