Sometimes a Manic Hobgoblin gets the better of me. I live in a sweet, old house in central Austin. I travel a few times each year. I have too many pets, and love each one more than the next.
Sunday, May 03, 2009
On Friday afternoon I was sweeping the kitchen floor while Chad was working in the office, and we both heard a thump and a yelp. Chad called out from the office that a dog had just been hit by a car on the busy street that borders our yard. The dog limped into our yard and collapsed. I went into autopilot mode, running out to attend to the dog. The poor, sweet dog was in bad shape. Making matters worse, he turned out to be Max, our octogenarian neighbors' dog. Max is much bigger than our dog, but is also some kind of Black Lab mix like our Janie. Luckily, Janie was at doggy day care and did not witness any of this sad drama.
I started petting Max's tummy gently and telling him it would being okay. I yelled at Chad to run across to the neighbors' house and get one or both of Max's people-parents. By this time, I'm in tears. Another neighbor has arrived on the scene and is asking me if Max is my dog. I say no. The other neighbor tells me that Max will not make it even as I keep petting his tummy repeating the mantra that he'll be okay. I so don't need to hear the score at that point. I pretty much ignore the other neighbor. Her house is stupid-looking, and we've never met anyway.
Chad walks up with Max's mom. She confirms that the injured dog is indeed Max, that he must have gotten out of their yard. I start barking orders. Get a towel for the back of the hatchback. Help me carry Max. We're taking him to the emergency vet just down the road. I tell Max's mom to ride with us. I run into our house, do a kitty head count to make sure they're all inside and then lock the front door. I sit in the back of the car with Max and keep petting his chest and saying it's okay, though clearly it's not. Max struggled for breath. He made it to the vet's parking lot, but with my hand on his chest, I felt his heart stop just before the vets arrived with the stretcher to carry him inside. I whispered to the vets, "he's gone."
The vets carried Max inside. They talked to Max's mom about final arrangements. The vets very kindly brought her Max's collar, and made a plaster imprint of Max's foot. Chad and I were in shock. We both later admitted that we held out hope for a miracle recovery. Max's mom was probably also in shock. She was keeping it together though.
We drove home with Max's mom. We talked about the busy road we live beside: how narrow the lanes are, how people speed, how curvy the road is, how back in the 1950s when our houses were built that street was out in the boonies, but how today it is considered to be a very central location.
Chad and I both couldn't stop thinking about poor Max yesterday. As I was dozing off to sleep last night, I got the falling sensation like a roller coaster going down the big hill and just as the plummet started, I'd jerk awake and think, "poor Max." This sleep-fit happened at least five times before I finally moved to the living room to watch TV. Janie followed me into the living room and flopped down on the rug beside me. We cuddled, and I kissed her big, bony head as she dozed. She needs a bath. Soon.