Monday, November 30, 2009
It was dark already. T. was driving home from school, observing the speed limit as she always does since getting her first speeding ticket earlier in the year. Suddenly, Lucky dashed under her wheel and she could not stop in time to avoid hitting him. The people who belonged to Lucky do not speak English. Fortunately, a neighbor was there who was able to translate. T. called me, almost hysterical. My heart was in my throat when I heard her voice, but I was soon relieved when I heard she had hit a dog and had not been in some kind of terrible accident where she or any other people were hurt. I rushed to meet her. The family and neighbors were on the street. A young man was huddled over the body of the dog, sobbing. I took the dog and the mother in my car and drove to the veterinary hospital. The son, a young woman who at first I believed to be his sister, but later began to think was his girlfriend, and an older man followed in a separate car. The mother did not speak English. I have been to this partciular vet hospital a lot lately as my cat had an injury that required a number of visits. The lady at the front desk recognized me. She discussed treatment options with the family, including euthanasia. They called their father in Guatamala. They decided to treat the dog. The estimated cost was approximately $1000. The vet required a $500 deposit. They had no money. T. offered to pay, but as she does not have a checking account or her own credit card, of course, I paid the deposit. The young man, after ignoring us all evening, finally thanked us for our kindness. His gesture made T. well up, tears streaming down her face as she expressed how sorry she was for what happened. He could see that she is just a young girl, but did not have the grace or compassion to offer any words of comfort to her, or to even accept responsibility for the fact that his dog was let out, at night, on a busy street, without a leash. T. and I left, grateful to get home and into our pajamas, with our cats and our comfort. I called to follow up with the vet. I learned that Lucky did not make it. I became incredibly sad about the whole evening. I would not have minded spending $500 if Lucky lived, but somehow feel awful on so many levels that he died. In theory, I support being compassionate and strive to model that for my children; I thought nothing in the moment of trying to help. But now, I just feel irritable and depressed.