Sunday, December 13, 2015

This Man's Story Broke My Heart

One of the benefits of living in a somewhat small-town is getting to know the people. Whether it's a trip to the grocery store or filling the gas tank at the convenience store down the street from us, we see the "regulars" quite a bit. A lot of the "regulars" have pups. With a slight ping of embarrassment, I'll be the first to admit, we remember the names of their pups and greet them first.

Minutes later, we acknowledge their humans. What's your name again?

Not too long ago, Lisa was filling the gas tank and picking up a half gallon of milk. She spotted an older man whom she recognized. His pup was in the vehicle. She said hi. He said hi. A full-fledged conversation followed. At one point Lisa asked where the other pup was.

As Lisa recapped this conversation, my heart broke into several pieces. 

One night, the older man had taken his two pups outside as he had done for years. Unleashed. On his property. He never left them outside alone. In the past, the pups has no problems with recall. However, on this night, beyond his sight and peripheral vision, was something. His pups took off running and didn't break stride after he called their names several times. Both of the pups were hit by an oncoming vehicle. One made it. One didn't.

"When he told me the story, I could tell he wanted to break down and cry. His voice quivered. He knew it was his fault. He'll never be able to shake the guilt. It's eating him alive."

I fell silent. We both did.

Usually when I hear stories about "dogs who have run off and are now missing", I find myself going through a range of emotions. Sadness because when a pet goes missing, it's devastating. I can't even imagine. Frustration. A lot of people get too overconfident about taking their pups out unleashed. They're not on high alert. They don't expect the unexpected. Anger. A lot of times, it's just assumed their pup will run back to them when called. Tears. I know what happens when their pet isn't found. My social media feed is plastered with photos and stories.

This time, I experienced one emotion. Sadness. This man knew. He was filled with regret and guilt and that wasn't something he was ever going to be able to shake off. He didn't need the lecture that so many do. In fact, his story would be one to motivate others.

Always expect the unexpected.

Don't let your guard down.

Never assume your fur-kid will always run to you when called despite their stellar history of doing so.

It only takes a few seconds. 

Be aware of your surroundings. Always. 

Your pup can smell, see and sense things you can't. 

Hug your fur-kids a little tighter tonight. No one is immune to the unexpected. It can happen to anyone whether you're an experienced trainer with 20 years under your belt or a blossoming new pet-parent.

No comments:

Post a Comment