Kajagoogoo played loudly in the minivan and I sang the wrong words as usual. The baby sat mesmerized by her own reflection in the back seat baby mirror thingamajig. I resisted having a third cupcake for lunch. It was a good day.
But then this car full of pimply teenagers pulled out in front of me and drove absurdly fast down the road. I muttered, under my breath, several unkind words that may have consisted of assholes, dumbass and motherfuckers to the nth degree. The baby started crying and I swore some more. My eye caught sight of something moving to the left, something black and furry. A dog, a mutt with a wisp of a white belly. I smiled and thought of our own dogs now gone. I lost track of the dog. Where could it have gone?
The car of teenagers with Bieber hair sped along and then the sound struck my ears. Their car bounced, swerved and then they raced away. More intelligent words spewed from my mouth. The baby cried even louder. There was something laying in the road just ahead. What was that? A garbage bag? A pile of clothes?
Oh. Shit. It was the dog.
I quickly pulled over to the side of the road, opened the sliding door of the minivan so I could keep an eye on the baby who finally stopped crying and stared at me. I rushed to the dog (he was a lot bigger that I thought) and tried to touch him, but he still had the sense to growl. No dog collar, no one searching for him. There was no comforting him with words, but I did it anyway because I didn’t know what else to do. He was visibly in pain, his breathing short and staggered. I started crying, There were no blankets in my car and of course, no room to put him (how many times had I promised myself I was finally going to take all that shit out of the car once and for all?). He wouldn’t even let me near him. He was at least 80 pounds. Our 7-year-old is almost 80 pounds. I could sort of lift him. I could lift this dog. Don’t people under extreme duress exhibit great physical strength? It was just 80 pounds, maybe 90. Did I remember to lock the front door of the house? My brain doesn’t do well under pressure.
I needed some help. I called Carl, but it went to voicemail. I checked on the baby – she was fine and had fallen asleep. Cars were headed towards me, that migraine that had threatened the previous day was starting to rear its head, the sun cast my shadow eerily against the pavement. I waved down the first car, but the car drove right by me. A second, third and fourth car passed me. The humidity made my hair frizzy, my arms flailed in every direction, I cursed everyone in Florida. EVERYONE.
A fifth car passed me, the driver courteously yelled out “Get out of the road!” Where was a bat when I needed it?
Fuck it. It didn’t matter anymore if the dog was going to bite my face off, I was going to somehow get him in my car, even if it meant leaving the baby’s over-priced stroller and the groceries in the middle of the road. As I knelt down to reassure him some more, he looked at me. I’m no dog whisperer, but I knew he was asking for help and didn’t want to be alone. For the first time, he let me pet him; he whimpered and I promised I would keep him safe. It was quiet. I tried lifting him, but almost fell.
I barely noticed a woman in a truck finally pull over. I couldn’t stop thanking them. Maybe not everyone in South Florida were asses. She and her son help me wrap the dog up in a blanket and they took him to a vet down the street. A day and several calls later, I found out the dog died of internal bleeding and irreversible damage to his organs.
A migraine wrapped its wretched arms around me all weekend and I welcomed it as my punishment for not doing enough for this dog that almost died all alone.
Fuck you teeneagers in that car with Bieber hair.
Image courtesy of cersseilanner