Fall. How appropriate is that title for this time of year? It is beautiful in Virginia with the multicolored fall of leaves. The weather is crisp. The dogs love chasing each leaf as it floats back and forth to the ground. I love all of it.
What I didn’t love was taking my pup Ellie for emergency surgery yesterday. As I sat in the waiting room with eyes full of years, I prayed. God, please. Please let her live. Then, like a train wreck, I was transported to 20 years ago, in my mind.
It was Fall. I was in college. I was late for an exam. Driving furiously I barely saw the road, much less the “thing” I just ran over. I stopped. In my rear view mirror I saw two elderly people making their way to my car.
Slowly, I got out and looked. I’d hit a dog. A DOG?! I was horrified. Crying uncontrollably I looked up to see the elderly couple following their retractable lead…that was attached…to this dog…I just hit. (Nooooo! This cannot be happening.)
“I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. I love dogs. I know a Vet! We’ll take her there. Just put her in my car!” They looked at me and said,”It’s o.k. We shouldn’t have let her take so much of the lead on such a busy road. She was just a pup. She’s not in any pain. She was only 9 months old. We can get another dog.” Whaaaa?
Torturing myself with tears and regret, I loaded up their pup and drove them to the Vet’s office anyway. It was awful and they couldn’t have been nicer to me…they couldn’t have been. Why? I don’t know. I can only say it was but for the grace of God, truly.
But now, it’s Fall again and 20 years later. Still tortured by this act, I cried harder as I sat in the waiting room at my Vet’s office. 20 years later, I’m still broken up about that dog AND what was happening with my Ellie dog in that operating room.
How could I not have noticed she was feeling so bad? Why didn’t I take her sooner? What kind of dog owner am I? I’d had a dog with Addison’s disease and for 3 years I took her every month for her shots. I’d been such a responsible owner.
Then, it hit me. She never acted as she was in pain. This wasn’t punishment. The Vet said if I’d been a day later, it could have been critical.
She’s still there. Still at the hospital, I went to see her. It’s one day later. She is getting the care she needs. I still pray that she will live. I pray that she’ll be back to running circles and hugging my neck with “Ellie hugs”, soon.
It’s Fall again. I love my dogs and chickens…each one of them AND I hate retractable leashes. Hate ’em.