I hardly knew her.
She was just an annoying little min pin (miniature pinscher) who'd pretend to rush anything she saw within a block of her house then dart away at the slightest sign of movement. Just two days ago, the guy below us was walking his new puppy on his inlaws' adjoining property and Luci was running back and forth, yipping and yapping from across the street, charging, retreating, charging, retreating.
She seemed to be street smart. When she got to the sidewalk that should've defined her territory, she'd scamper back into the driveway or the front yard at the first hint of an oncoming car. The owners never had her on a leash and used the excuse that she would squirt out the second they opened the door. Being a tiny little puppy of about three, maybe four pounds, she'd squeeze through one of several apetures in the back yard gate they inexplicably never thought was worth mending or fortifying.
When my neighbor saw her pretending to charge his much larger puppy, he wondered aloud why they didn't obey the leash laws and let her run unsupervised.
Moments before she was hit by a car under our kitchen window yesterday, she was running like mad, being chased by the Maine coon cat they also keep. Then Barb and I heard a whump and a little yelp. We both looked at each other for a split second then dashed downstairs to see the most horrible thing a dog lover can see: a dog lying in the middle of the street, helplessly twitching its legs. It was one of those hideous events that, even though you can't see it, you know it happened.
The son of a bitch who'd hit her never even tapped on his brakes let alone stopped to deal with the aftermath. That was our job. Barb picked her up off the street, possible broken bones or no, while I frantically knocked on the old lady's door and tried to tell her in Portuguese what had happened. She seemed strangely nonplussed by the incident and was even smiling as Barb wrapped her little dog in a towel and handed her to her. She said she'd call her son and have him take them to the animal hospital across town. We were both screaming frantically, telling her to get in my car now, that I could get her there much faster. Eventually we got both dog and owner in the car.
Poor little Luci seemed completely out of it, with her eyes rolling in her head and obviously slipping into shock. I drove on mostly 2 or 3 wheels to get her to the animal hospital and they began working on her immediately. After that, nothing. We saw them come back after 7 PM last night with the dog wrapped up in our towel. The vet here in town doesn't have overnight help like they used to and don't keep animals. It's all outpatient or, if more work is needed, they recommend a 24 hour animal hospital, which is always about 45 minutes or more away from us.
Barb and I had no idea what had happened since last night but hoped for the best since she did come home. Hopefully, she was only stunned and had gotten over her shock. So an hour and a half ago, I went out, got a couple of bags of little dog treats appropriate for a min pin and knocked on the door. The old lady, still nonplussed, just said Luci had "gone", as she said in Portuguese. She never said "died" in any language until the daughter, I presume, came to the door and explained what had happened.
Luci had died either today or last night, which made me angry at several people for several reasons. Primarily, I'm furious at this old lady for refusing to put her dog on a leash and otherwise conducting her life as if she still lives in the much more lawless Azores. I was angry at the clinic for releasing the dog when she was obviously not all right. Perhaps they recommended a 24 hour clinic and they just didn't take her. Or perhaps the hospital knew, upon examining her, that she wouldn't last the night and that letting her die at home with family was the only mercy they could extend. I don't know what they told them last night.
I tried my damnedest to get that poor little dog, who wasn't even a year-old, medical attention as fast as I could and she died, anyway. Once again, my best wasn't nearly good enough. But as guilty as I justly or unjustly feel about what little good I'd done last night, it seems so very wrong that none of that guilt is reflected or shared by the people primarily responsible for that poor little dog getting hit yesterday.
So, I shed a few tears over poor little Luci and, being a writer, writing about it and trying to share this grief even if not in real time was the only thing I could do to assuage my guilt and grief over this totally preventable tragedy. When I blog politically, I always try to make a point. Otherwise, what's the point in blogging about politics? I don't know what my point is. This post just is, and seemingly has no other point than to be, to reach out, however blindly, to any fellow dog lover who may happen to come along and read this.
Her name was Luci, she was born last June and was an annoying but endearing little dog who just did her atavistic job in defending her territory. She didn't know any better when she was chased into the middle of the street by a coon cat that outweighed her. Her owners should have and I sincerely hope the veterinarian reports the family to the town animal control officer for some comeuppance.
I'd like to think any regular reader of mine who has a dog knows enough not to flout the leash laws that surely must be in force in your locality. This is why Barb and I do not let Popeye out of the house. In fact, when I saw Luci lying in the middle of the street, the first thought that came to mind was that could've been my cat if I was less responsible than I was.
Maybe some day I'll forgive myself for not getting her to the hospital fast enough. Perhaps some day I'll even believe that it wouldn't have made any difference how fast I got her there. For right now, though, philosophy and rationalization are not luxuries I can afford.
All I can think of to add to this is: If you bring an animal into your home, no matter the breed or species, Goddamnit, be responsible and do the right thing by it. Little in life is that simple but that is.