Dog Wreck

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No martyrs and no medal

The small gray dog somehow wasn’t crushed but tore off into the bushes shrieking hurt real bad. The Volvo station wagon in the right lane pulled over to the curb and no one got right out. I don’t know if they’d ever even find him and did not want to be in that car.

I was driving into town to go to Albertson’s for a Sunday paper and cinnamon rolls. Traffic was light, the air was cool. As I slowed down for the red light at the hardware store, the dog ran out from a clump of trees, stepped off the curb, and did a little left-right-forward dance, confused. The Volvo wasn’t going fast and slowed down even more to give him room. The dog took advantage and tried to cross, but the traffic coming the other way must have made him turn around. The space behind him was no longer empty, though. Instead of stopping until the animal got sorted out, the Volvo had already started rolling again. The dog got tangled up between the front wheels and something nasty happened at the left one. To my amazement he still jumped up and ran the way they do before they die. Maybe it wasn’t that bad but oh the sound he made.

The light turned green. There was a millisecond of my going back to help, but my lane was clear and I went through with all the rest and off the rails because I knew… The Volvo owners must be Anglo and retired. Squeamish dealing with the blood and pain they’d caused. Afraid to see if there’s a collar with a number they should call. Not wanting to pay the vet bill. The aggravation of a broken Sunday morning. I was angry at the dog as well and at whoever let it loose.

Past the light and safe to look behind. I didn’t see the Volvo. The dog was probably bleeding in the sagebrush or already dead. A man or woman or child would worry all day long or cry and never know. Part of me was in the car between the wheels and dying in the brush. I heard the dog at Albertson’s, then thought of him again back home and wished I had another roll.

John Hamilton Farr lives in Taos, New Mexico, U.S.A. with his classical pianist wife. “Possibly the only place I can get away with this,” he says. As New York Times best-selling author James C. Moore (Bush’s Brain) put it in a review of John’s first book, Buffalo Lights is the work of a man attuned to the world who sees it differently than you and I and writes about it with a language and a vision of life that is impossible to ignore.” John is the author of BUFFALO LIGHTS, TAOS SOUL, ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE, and THE HELEN CHRONICLES. He has been publishing online since 1996 (Zoo Zone, Farr Site, MacFaust, GRACK!, FarrFeed) and blogs regularly here at JHFARR.COM. See also → John’s Twitter profile, Amazon Author Page, video channel at YouTube, and website photos at SmugMug. To email John, please see CONTACT INFO on About page.  

  • JudyinBoston August 1, 2019, 8:51 AM

    So sad. I would probably have gone back and tried to find him. Maybe call the animal officer if the town has one and ask him/her to help look. I understand why people don’t want to get involved, but. we really should.

    • JHF August 1, 2019, 10:35 AM

      The town has no such officer. The county has one, possibly two, for an area almost half the size of Connecticut. He doesn’t work on weekends. You would have had to drive almost a mile before turning around, due to the current construction & repaving, and then walk for a couple of blocks. The people responsible stopped, at least, though I don’t know if they stayed.

  • M.J. August 2, 2019, 6:05 PM

    I blame the stupid owner of the dog! That’s exactly why I hate taking walks in Taos, for all the loose dogs around town. It’s dangerous for you, your kids, your pets, and could cause a wreck! Obviously the owner wasn’t a responsible person. It’s sad for the dog.

    • JHF August 2, 2019, 10:10 PM

      I was just talking to my wife about that very thing. People in other places have no idea. There is near-zero compliance with or enforcement of the law. Walking in our immediate neighborhood brings us past 8 or 9 of the beasts in the first 150 yards. Now, they’re not mean, and I like dogs, but it does unsettle me to the point where I’d rather drive 6 miles to a hiking trail.

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