Listening For His FootstepsIt is now 3 days since I accidentally killed my beloved dog. It is 2:50 a.m. and I can't sleep. I keep getting images of how I found him in the car. It is the details and the imagined experience of what he went through as he frantically tried to escape from the superheated back area of our SUV on that hot day, as we sat inside unknowing just 30 feet away. Godalmighty!
I took him for our morning run at 7:30 a.m. I was preoccupied a bit as I am working on a deadline. Even as we ran I found that I was not giving him as much time as he would have liked to sniff, pee, and then go through his whole ritual of scratching the earth with front and back paws. Once before, years ago, I had accidentally left him in the car, he got through that, but that was far from my mind as I was intent on getting back to work at home. You can't see the far back of our SUV where he usually rides for short trips. I got home, and zipped into the house and started to work. It was not till 6 hours later that I went out to the car, to make a trip to Kinkos. I opened the car door and felt the heat come out of the black car, and then I noticed the smell... I recognized the animal smell from the time before. I screamed "oh no!" and ran to the back. I opened up the back hatch and saw him lying there on his side, already stiff with eyes glazed. I cried out and ran him to the little fountain in our front area and called my son... Hoping against my knowing that he was dead, I submerged his body in the cool water and looked for any signs of movement. My son came out and I started yelling "No!" "oh God!" as I gave him to my son and started to wail as I walked through the house, around and around. I called my wife and sobbed that I had killed _______.
My work has helped me but my mind keeps going back to what I saw and what I imagine. He had a piece of rope, from the back car area, jammed in his clamped jaws and he had bit through his protruding tongue. I can only guess that he went into convulsions towards the end. There was tattered pieces of cardboard as, I am guessing, he scrabbled for anything in his panic. Not one to bark, he initially waited patiently for his trusted master, then went into a frenzy as the heat started to cook him. Oh my god, his pain and confusion and panic! Oh my good boy did not deserve this! Help me. My family does not blame me but I know it was my negligence that caused this horror. I can't get the pictures out of my mind, along side his trusting and loving countenance.
I keep looking for him, at the window, in his bed by the window of our bedroom, at the front door... listening for his stirring and snoring during the night. He was a good boy. We had found him in the canyon by our house and put up signs but no one came forward to claim him. So we kept him. That was over 9 years ago. He was part of the family. Always game, always happy to see us. And so adorable and wacky.
My best path forward will involve working for the prevention of cruelty to animals. Though I did not mean to, I caused him great pain and an untimely death. I will work to help other animals who are at risk. I am sorry. And we are afraid to tell people how he really died for fear of their judgement. I am sorry. He is buried in our back now. I need to wait to put up pictures of him because it feels too bad still. I am sorry, my good boy, you deserved better and more.