Today I woke up from a nap to see my mother had called me 3 or 4 times. She texted me saying I needed to call her as soon as possible. So I did, not really knowing what to expect.
This morning my beloved beagle, Tippy, was struck by a car on the highway. Someone had left the gate open and he got out.
I had to leave him with my parents for the past 9 months because I had no place that would house him. I still would get to see him every time I visited. He was always happy to see me. In two weeks I am getting my own house and I was planning on him living with me. We would finally be reunited again.
You know how they say when you lose someone you go into shock upon hearing the news? That did not take place. I started bawling immediately. Someone called them that afternoon and said they saw a brown and white dog outside our house on the side of the highway. When she got back he was gone. Some good samaritan picked Tippy up already. I wanted to bury him myself. He deserves better than that. Tippy was approaching 11, had arthritis and was grotesquely overweight. He deserved to die with me in my arms. I should have been by his side as he grew old. He would do the same for me.
I got in my car and started driving. Aimlessly.
Crying, listening to Bon Iver, The National etc. It was raining and gloomy, which is perfect when the weather outside matches your emotional state. Being depressed inside on a sunny day only exacerbates things.
I was 40 minutes outside of Abilene in some nameless small town. There was a little church and two or three houses (shacks). I then decided to head back. I had been driving for about 2 hours and was emotionally drained. On my way out of the town, a small dog ran in front of me. I looked back and she was spinning in the road. I had just clipped her and she wasn’t moving. I pulled over.
She was laying with her front left leg sticking straight up in the air and blood was coming out of her ears and side. She was whimpering between rapid, heavy breaths and foaming a bit at the mouth. I weeped in the middle of the highway. I kept telling her how sorry I was. Right in front of me was a little house. It appeared inhabitable. I wasn’t sure if someone even lived there.
I ran up to the a faded dark red door, and knocked. Inside were two little girls, looking up at me with big eyes. I told them to go get mommy. I instructed the mom to tell the girls to stay inside. She stepped outside and immediately knew what had happened. She explained to me that her dogs get hit all the time. We went back to the little black lab.
"She’s not gonna make it" she said.
She was breathing even harder now and in a lot of pain.
The conversation took place like this:
"Well, my boyfriend took all my guns."
"Just let me take her to the clinic. Please."
"Okay, if that’s what you wanna do but I don’t think she’s gonna make it."
"I’ll pay for it, it’s my responsibility."
"If that’s what you want."
Her two little girls came out about that time to see what was going on. I tried to get them back inside but the mother didn’t seem to care if they witnessed it all. We wrapped her in an old green towel and gently placed her in my front seat. She was yelping but quickly died down after a few seconds. She was in too much pain to scream.
"Look mommy, she pooped on herself."
"I know, that’s what happens when you die."
"Does it hurt to die, mommy?"
Dear Lord. Get me out of here quick.
"She’s not in any pain. She’s going to be okay" I said, taking the role of a parent that didn’t grow up slaughtering cows behind some rusty shed.
She gave me her phone number, and I was on my way.
Mom, skip the next paragraph.
I was going about 120 down country roads while searching for the nearest vet clinic on google maps. It was 8:15 PM. I clicked “Start Destination” and looked at the arrival time.
I had my hand on her head as I was driving. Comforting her in what may be her final moments. I told her she was going to be okay, and to just hang in there for me.
"Be strong for me, okay. You’re going to be fine."
I may have just been talking to myself at that point.
She looked up at me giving me this look as if to say “Dude, thank you so much. I was about to get shot in the friggin head.” And then she immediately passed out again. She was starting to lose some warmth. I could feel it in her ears. I cranked the heat and turned her seat warmer as high as it could go. I’m no doctor, and not even sure if it helped, but I like to think it did.
"Arriving at your destination on the right." I was a few miles outside Abilene, and whipped into a parking lot of what I thought was a veterinary clinic.
It wasn’t a veterinary clinic.
I cursed Steve Jobs and immediately went to the one place I knew would be open. We took Tippy there about 5 years ago when he cut his chest on some barbed wire and needed stitches. He was probably chasing the scent of a rabbit that was there 6 days previous and wasn’t paying attention when he ran into it. That lovable goof.
15 minutes later, I arrived at the clinic without a traffic ticket. They put a muzzle on her and brought her inside. So unnecessary. She could barely raise her head.
I told them I had just hit her about 45 minutes ago. I didn’t know whose dog it was (a lie) and that I would pay for everything. It was going to be really expensive for her to stay there over night and get X-rays. They didn’t know what was wrong with her until I paid. However, they said she wasn’t looking very good, and they said I should consider euthanizing her. (murdering her)
I decided to go through with the x-rays to see what was wrong with her first.
[swipes credit card]
Well, I was saving up for a motorcycle this summer. There’s always next I suppose.
I waited for about 25 minutes for the x-rays to get back. There were no lights in the waiting room, and two creepy tabby cats kept staring at me through a window. A family came through with a german shepard that had cut her paw. I probably looked like a hipster psych ward patient, just staring at their dog with cold, lifeless eyes.
The doctor took me to the back and showed me the x-rays. Her front left leg was broken at the elbow completely. It didn’t even look attached. Because it wasn’t. Luckily there were no internal injuries, and she had head trauma, but no cracked skull. He told me orthopedic surgery was required and I would have to take her to a specialist. Most likely it would just have to be amputated though. The swelling of her brain would go down overnight and she is going to be in a lot of pain till I pick her up at 7 tomorrow to go to a specialist out of town. Twice he emphasized that orthopedic surgery was very expensive, but I couldn’t help but just stare at his designer frame glasses every time he mentioned money.
I asked if I could see her. She was laying in a dog crate with an IV in her. I patted her on the head, and said goodbye. She is the bravest dog in the entire world, as of this moment.
I named her Emma.
I hope she makes it through the night. I doubt I will get any sleep.
Tippy, you will be missed terribly. If Heaven is anything like I picture it, you’ll be waiting for me on that golden shore. I love you so much and will miss you everyday. I couldn’t have asked for a better best friend.
Here’s to what is hopefully a new beginning.