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License pet *OWNERS*! - One person's lack of compassion does not equal another's comfort.
One person's lack of comprehension does not equal another's consent.
License pet *OWNERS*!
Today I had two traumatic experiences behind the wheel of my car and neither of them directly involved other drivers.

Just minutes before I got home I'd just turned onto a tight section of a 25mph road where people commonly speed often striking and often total parked cars. Laying across the dividing line I saw something that at first I would have thought was a small deer but as I slowed I realized it was even smaller dog. That really lovable looking curly haired kind, the sort you see in Disney films as the scrappy and loyal hero dog. Perhaps just like the little dog in the movie "Michael" http://movies.msn.com/movies/movie.aspx?m=23277&mp=c This link has links to photos of all actors and even the film crew and not a single photo of the dog!

[injured pet story behind cut]

As I approached, driving still slower, I veered the car further from him and noticed he was on his side. Having already had one panic attack behind the wheel that nearly caused me to lose control of the car I was afraid to take a direct look, and was diverting my eyes while at the same time thinking I should pull off and call one of those "injured animal" numbers I try to keep current in my PDA (they keep changing the numbers unfortunately. If anyone reading has a number they think are particularly good, please inform me, NOW)

I gather my nerve and look at the dog, who just then raises his head from the puddle of blood on the asphalt and either barks or at least tries to. He looked so good natured even with his bloodied and ragged ear. I'm not even a dog person and I wanted to take him home.

I immediately pull onto a side street, parking illegally way too close to the corner and dart back to the dog's location to direct cars which often cross over the line NOT to hit this dog (again). As I'm approaching I see a couple loading or unloading their minivan in their driveway and they guy carrying a phone. Thinking my efforts may be redundant I call over to him to ask if he's already called someone, the police, whatever.

This is where the story gets stupid. From this moment on they guy and are approaching each other both walking in the general direction of the dog he a GREAT DEAL SLOWER than myself. The guy replies, [this section in dialog format Guy and Me]

Guy "Its my dog," and he mumbled something about hitting his dog
me "I didn't hit your dog, I just pulled over to direct traffic and call for help"
Guy "It's ok, he's dead." (the guy called over to me WAY too calmly for my taste. Like what's OK about this, I mean even aside from the fact that he's wrong, how is it "OK" to leave his dead dog in the middle of the street)
me "No he's NOT!"
guy "He's dead! His head is smashed!" (the guy whined in a sarcastic tone that reminded me of Seinfeld. I've seen enough smashed cat and dog heads to make me never want to look at another one but this dogs head didn't look at all smashed. Actually, looked JUST looked like a torn ear)
me "His head may be smashed, but he sure isn't dead. You may have hope with a vet but you have to protect your dog from getting hit again."
guy, (looks doubtfully at the dog, again reminding me of Seinfeld, clearly in disbelief
me, "He may be in shock but I saw him lift his head and gesture or try to bark and I pulled right over. I didn't imagine it.
guy, (looks doubtfully at me, then the dog.. You'd think I was asking him to pray or something)
[edit: me, "unless he died between the time I saw him move less than 2 minutes ago, he's not dead"]
guy, (approaches the dog and begins stroking him, maybe talking to him a little. He then said more loudly and in a manner that suggested this was more for his wife than it was for me,) "He's Alive, He's Breathing, but he's not moving"
guy, finally picks up the dog and carries him out of the street across his driveway and last I saw he appeared to be going into the house.

Here's my take on this. I know that if it were my pet I'd have feared the worst too, BUT I wouldn't have ASSUMED the worst! I wouldn't assume that my cat (I don't have a dog) was DEAD because I saw blood. I certainly wouldn't have left my cat in the street unguarded, even if I did not myself have the nerve to pick her up.

Looking back on this experience I think I behaved pretty much exactly the same way as I would have had it been a cat, human child, adult, whatever, although maybe I would have stopped my car beside a human to reduce the chance of anyone re-striking the body, but until I'm actually in that situation I really don't know for sure.

I came away from this feeling that pet owners really ought to be trained in advance for what to do in such a situation so that they don't act like as big a dufus as this guy did. Fact, pets do get out. Fact cars hit pets or swerve to avoid hitting pets. We license drivers, we license pets. Maybe we need to license pet owners themselves. It doesn't have to be much some sort of course, perhaps a 30 minute video and 20 question exam, "what to do if" before being permitted to take care of a pet.

And to think the last time I made essentially this SAME suggestion it was to train parents in the basics of first aid before caring for a newborn (most parents get 7-9 months notice right?) Questions like: You have just found your child eating liquid dishwasher detergent, what do you do? should raise an alarm if the essay answer is "invert child over toilet and squeeze until stuff comes out" a TRUE story of one stupid parent's response to a similar child poisoning situation.
12 Rubber Duckies or Leave a Rubber Ducky
liatha From: liatha Date: May 13th, 2005 02:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm on the "madatory reversible sterilization" bandwagon when it comes to parenting, personally. I feel all children should undergo mandatory reversible sterilization at the onset of puberty, and then have to earn the right to have the situation reversed. This should involve tests for common sense, classes in child care, anger management, first aid, and cooking, and possibly extensive therapy. No one who is not mentally, emotionally and/or financially capable of taking care of THEMSELVES should be permitted to have a child.

As far as pet ownership is concerned, I think that breeders should take up the same practices that humane societies now use... screening potential pet owners, home visits, etc. I wouldn't necessarily argue against common sense tests and first aid classes for pet owners either.
vvalkyri From: vvalkyri Date: May 13th, 2005 03:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think some breeders do...
fixx, you might want to label the cut - I can think of a couple of your more sensitively constituted readers who might not be up for unexpected descriptions of badly injured animals.
vvalkyri From: vvalkyri Date: May 13th, 2005 03:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
oh, wait, nevermind- you do warn in the first paragraph.
fixx From: fixx Date: May 13th, 2005 03:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
Corrected anyway

Whether or not I succeeded in "warning" anyone in the first paragraph depends on whether or not they have more "clue" than the owner of the dog. From what I actually wrote you could assume either that the dog was merely sunning himself or you could assume the dog was dead. I wasn't particularly specific in part because at that point that was all I knew.
vvalkyri From: vvalkyri Date: May 13th, 2005 03:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
Good idea. Did you knwo you can put text in the lj cut instead of "read more"?

Instead of < lj-cut> blah blah blah </lj-cut>
< lj-cut text="label of cut"> blah blah blah </lj-cut>
bittercat From: bittercat Date: May 20th, 2005 03:06 am (UTC) (Link)


On both counts.
ksatyr From: ksatyr Date: May 13th, 2005 03:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
Surreal and disturbing. One does not leave a loved pet in the road whether dead or otherwise. I suppose speculating on their true feelings for the injured dog would be presumptuous of me, though I have to wonder whether it was a true member of their family.

In England the owner could be reported to the RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) who might want to get an injunction preventing them from owning another animal.
From: arctafire Date: May 14th, 2005 12:20 am (UTC) (Link)
Sounds like the "pet owner" was massively conflicted about "owning" a pet. Poor dog! With luck, he'll get to try again for a better place to live!
From: arctafire Date: May 14th, 2005 12:25 am (UTC) (Link)
And I'm suddenly reminded of a high school date (many, many years ago) who parked across the street one night, so that when the headlights turned on again they illuminated a stricken cat. I knew the cat so I carried him gently to his humans - not a good outcome on that one. I suspected, and still do, that the date struck the cat on the way in, and didn't have the nerve to mention it.
bittercat From: bittercat Date: May 20th, 2005 03:05 am (UTC) (Link)

Holy crap, people are stupid!

What an asshole! I'd have asked him if I could take the dog to the vet myself. He probably just took it in and let it die.

Stupid fucker.
fixx From: fixx Date: May 20th, 2005 05:59 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Holy crap, people are stupid!

That he was taking the dog into the house to let it die and simply remove his embarrassment from public view had simply not occurred to me. I was not emotionally up to trying to rescue the dog myself, but it could have been a good idea had I.
bittercat From: bittercat Date: May 20th, 2005 08:53 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Holy crap, people are stupid!

It's not your responsibility. The act of stepping in and taking an animal to the vet on one's own is a choice, and a risky one at that. (Who knows how the family would have reacted?) I have never intervened on behalf of a family pet--other than to turn someone in for animal cruelty and neglect--but I think I might. Don't feel badly. You did a good thing, just trying to preserve the dog's dignity and get it to safety.

I think the notion of his intentions occurred to me, because I'm cynical. Particularly so now, considering my current situation at home. It's perfectly possible they took the dog to the vet, after all.
12 Rubber Duckies or Leave a Rubber Ducky