I love my dog. Just love her. And because I love her so much, I'm pretty fanatical about keeping her on her leash and in my direct control at all times. Of course, when she was a puppy, she sometimes got out of the yard by squeezing her fat little body under my fence. It obviously freaked me out because I lived on a busy street in Seattle. Once, when I was on vacation, her sitter left their back gate open and she escaped. Luckily, they found her rather quickly, but I'll never forget the phone call when I was told. I was sitting in my rental car, in Hawaii. It was warm, and peaceful and beautiful. And I was so upset that I nearly threw up.
Today, I decided to commute to/from work on my bike. The ride in was miserable. Cold, damp, foggy. I didn't warm up until lunchtime. I figured the ride home would be better. The sun had come out, blue sky, no fog. But it was cold as sh*t. On "Bike Boulevard" in Palo Alto (Bryant St.) I was nearly hit by 2 cars and 2 cyclists (one weaved in front of me, the other rounde the corner on the wrong side of the road - dumbasses.). This was my sign.
As I turned off of Middlefield Road onto Ringwood, it seemed like it would be a nice ride. Light traffic, a slight tailwind. I was running out of daylight, so I was motoring, trying to get back to my car at the Redwood City Caltrain station. Up the road, near a school, I saw a person standing in the bike lane. I thought it was a kid. The figure looked small and childlike, and it was near the school. As I got closer, I saw that the figure was bent down, I assumed messing with their skateboard or scooter, and partially in the road AND the bike lane. I was annoyed. I hoped that I could get around them and not get pegged by a car. As I passed by, I realized what had happened and it both sickened me and broke my heart. The figure was an older women. She was crouched down, trying to turn her small dog over, to possibly get some life back into it. I saw the small, light brown body. The stiff legs. The small pool of blood. And then I heard her sobbing. 2 children were across the street, a little further down, watching.
I was running out of daylight and couldn't stop, although it took everything I had in me to not turn around and go back and try to comfort her. But what could I do? I cried. All the way back to my car. I cried because I was sad for this poor woman, who's best friend had somehow gotten out and into the path of a car. I cried because I realized how lucky I was that nothing ever happened to my dog. All the times she got out of my yard, she was spared. And I cried because I was annoyed at her. How utterly selfish of me. I'm ashamed that I was annoyed, and I hope it makes me more patient with people. You just never know what someone is going through, why they're doing what they're doing at that particular moment in time.
Once I got into my car, I cried some more. And I came home and hugged and hugged and hugged my dog. And I hope all of my friends with pets keep them safe and hold them next to your hearts, because I never want anyone I care about to go through what that poor woman was going through tonight.