I caught a glimpse of the man up on the road. I thought nothing of it. I actually thought he was taking pictures. I could see there was a pickup by the mailbox, black I think. The man was wearing a tan shirt and it looked like he was wearing glasses. I thought it was some type of survey crew.
I was home at lunch. I had just gotten done working out. I always let the dogs out while I am drinking my recovery smoothie. Jack came back. Buddy did not. That was not unusual. Lately he has been staying out longer than usual. Lately he has been going up to the front of the house, by the mailbox. Lately he hasn’t been able to hear well.
We live out in the country on the highway. The traffic is pretty heavy and the speed limit is 65 by our house.
About six months ago, we were told there was some problem with Buddy. Something neurological. His limbs didn’t work the way they should, so he trips sometimes when he tries to go up steps. He was taking Prednisone for his medical condition. He has been getting worse lately. I think he has been getting lost and we know his hearing had gone way down hill.
We got Buddy from the local humane society. He was the “Pet of the Week” about 8 years ago. He was two at the time. His name was Rusty then. He was a little Jack Russell mix. They said he was a runner. When we got him home, he constantly took off running. Until one day, John yelled at him. I mean really yelled. Buddy came running back and stood right beside him. From that day on, he never ran again. We could leave him in the house all day. He never got into anything and never had any accidents. He was the perfect dog. The perfect companion. Such a good boy. It took him a while to let us get close to him. If we did, he would growl. After a while he completely trusted us. We could lay our faces on his and he would be perfectly content. He trusted us and we trusted him.
After I changed clothes I came back downstairs and was expecting to see Buddy at the door on the deck. He wasn’t there. I thought it was weird. I went out looking for him. He wasn’t anywhere in the back. I started getting a feeling. I knew something wasn’t right. Something was wrong. I kept yelling and yelling for him.
As I was coming up to the front of the house, I saw a vehicle pull away. I thought to myself it must have been the guy I saw earlier up on the road. I walked a little further up the driveway and saw Buddly lying on the side of the road, on the shoulder. I walked over. His mouth was bloody, but otherwise he just looked like he was sleeping. He moved his head a couple of times, which made it worse. I’m pretty sure those were his last breaths. I was sick to my stomach. I felt like he wouldn’t have been coming across the road if I hadn’t been yelling for him. I felt terrible. I don’t know if that is true or if he could even hear me. But, it’s my guilt. Mine. Poor Buddy. I wasn’t sure what to do. John was out of town working, so I texted Rick, his boss. Little did I know that Rick was out of town too. So here I am standing up on the highway, tears running down my face and a billion cars flying by, hoping none of them run over me and Buddy.
As I was standing up on the highway I got a call from Chris, my business partner. She asked if the dogs were okay, because her son had called her. He wondered if we had dogs because he said a dog had gotten hit by our house. He was very upset. I told Chris Buddy had gotten hit.
I then got a call from the Animal Clinic. They told me the person who hit Buddy had been trying to get a hold of us. We disconnected our landline phone and that is the number on Buddy’s tags. She was very sweet and said she was sorry and said if we needed anything to let them know. The person who hit Buddy had left a message on John’s phone and he said that Buddy had just come out of the weeds and he was really sorry. We know it wasn’t his fault. We know. I feel so bad for him.
Next John called, so I told him I couldn’t touch him. He knows I can’t touch dead animals. I just can’t. He was upset that I had to be there by myself. He said he would get one of the guys who was working in town to come and help me. I felt like I waited forever. In reality it was about 30-40 minutes. I stayed up on the highway. I didn’t know what else to do. I didn’t want him to get hit again. I just couldn’t walk away from him until Ryan came. There was already a turkey vulture flying around. I was disgusted.
It was like everything was in slow motion. That weird queasy kind of feeling. Just slowed down. Suspended. It felt like everything took forever.
Once Ryan got there I came back to the house and got Buddy’s red plaid blanket that he slept on. We wrapped him up in his blanket and Ryan carried him down the driveway into the garage and gently laid him in the freezer, patted his head and closed the lid.
Even though I feel like I am tough, today was one of those days that I couldn’t do it by myself. It was one of those days that I couldn’t help but feel vulnerable. It was one of those days that I really needed people. Today, when I needed people the most, they were there. I was so grateful for help today. Thank you Ryan Fischer.
Rest In Peace Buddy boy…