One Sunday morning, about a year ago, I found my dog panicked and shaking in a rarely used upstairs closet. He seemed terrified and helpless and I?d never seen him like this. Unable to encourage him out of the closet after countless soothing and persuasive words, I crawled into the closet corner with him and discovered he had a deep cut in his groin area. It was really clear he needed medical attention right away.
After much encouragement in my sweetest ?I love you, Mickey? voice, he hobbled out of the closet, slowly down the stairs and, with much effort, into the car. We headed to a nearby emergency veterinary clinic. On the way, so worried about my best friend, I fought back tears. What was to come of this, I thought. And, I was silently and selfishly concerned about the possible, impending vet bills.
We arrived at the vet clinic and found a full waiting room of injured and sick pets. After what seemed like a long wait, (five minutes would have seemed too long), we were taken to a patient room to wait some more. By the time a doctor saw Mickey, he was bleeding profusely. The doctor assured me that Mickey would be fine, but he needed a small surgical procedure. So, a nurse took Mickey down the hall, and I headed back to the waiting room, to wait. Within a couple of minutes, I could hear Mickey crying from somewhere in the clinic. Feeling helpless and worried, I took a look around the waiting room and noticed a black lab watching me, blood flowing from her nostrils, but sitting calmly next to her owner who was looking at the floor, holding his head in his hands. My heart went out to this pair. ?I can relate to this man?, I thought, ?He has a hurt dog like I do. He?s worried, like I am?.
Instead of sitting there, feeling sorry for myself and my dog, and letting it get the best of me, I walked over to them. This sweet hurt dog sniffed my hand and nuzzled me, while I noticed many more lacerations on her body. Her owner finally lifted his head.
After a few polite introductions, I asked, ?What happened to your dog??
?She was in a car accident last night,? he answered.
?A car accident??
?Yes. Last night in Fort Scott. About 1. With my son,? he said. ?The paramedics found her wandering around the scene of the accident, upset, despondent. They picked her up and put her in the cab of the ambulance.?
?I?m so sorry,? I said.
?My son didn?t make it.?
?Your son didn?t make it??
My heart stopped and I really wasn?t sure I heard his words correctly.
Undoubtedly numb from the immediate shock of losing his son, this man’s words were emotionless, as if he had just left his heart and soul in Fort Scott.
?My son was killed. I?ve been down there all night. I just drove into Kansas City and stopped here first. My son adopted this dog just a few months ago. She loved him and they went everywhere together. She just has to make it. She can help my sons and me remember him. She?ll be all we have to remind us of him.?
This man was in so much pain and suffering so greatly, I?m at a loss for words to honor him.
The trivial hurt and worry I held at the moment for Mickey?s and my small problems disappeared pretty quickly. I?ve thought about this man many times over the past year, concerned about his family and the loss of their son and brother. And the pretty black lab and the loss of her best friend.