We had a difficult afternoon today. It was my last “Summer Day” for the year, so Jay & I went to a late lunch. As we were leaving lunch, a dog got hit by a car crossing the exit ramp off of the highway. Another woman, Tuesdey, also saw it happen. She stopped and parked just before we did. She said that she was pretty sure that the woman who hit the dog saw it happen.
Who the fuck hits a dog on an exit ramp and doesn’t even stop?
The three of us decided that to call a local animal hospital. While I was one the phone with one, Jay & Tuesdey were able to get close enough to the dog to get the number of a vet’s office off of its rabies collar. We called that office, who identified the dog as “Harvey,” (based off of its tag) and put us in contact with the owner. The owner told us that she was actually a foster parent. The dog had been adopted by a family after she fostered it. She said she’d try to contact the owner.
Meanwhile, Tuesdey, Jay & I brought Harvey to an emergency veterinary clinic in Cary, NC. Jay & I stayed to find out what was wrong with him. We soon learned that Harvey was actually a female! Then, we learned that not-Harvey was misidentified by her vet’s office. Soon after she went back, we heard back from Harvey’s supposed foster mom (who was linked to her collar). She told us that she had spoken with the actual Harvey’s family, and they were looking at him as they spoke with her. So, we were back to the drawing board. No one knew who this dog was. The woman that they had listed as her foster mother had no idea who she was.
Obviously, this was really starting to get disconcerting. Jay & I agreed to pay for her exam and morphine. However, since we had arrived at the ER thinking that Harvey was actually Harvey and had a home, we did not want to make any decisions out of respect for her owners. We sent the (not-) foster mom pictures of the dog and her tags. The vet listed on the tags was actually out of town this weekend, so they could not be reached to identify the dog by recognition. We spent a lot of time trying to sort things out with the vet from the collar, the (not-)foster mother, and the animal ER we took her too.
After nearly 2 hours at the vet, the doctor told us that not-Harvey was not doing well. She was urinating blood, had fractured ribs, a bruised lung, and would need a blood transfusion and at least $8,000 or $9,000 of surgery…with no guarantee that it would save her life. The vet compassionately told us that we had to either begin aggressive treatment or let her go. She said that even with surgery and a blood transfusion, there was no guarantee that she would be okay. At the very least, she had broken ribs, a minimum of bruised lungs, and internal bleeding. We waited a little while longer in the hopes of getting in touch with her owners, but in the end, we did the humane thing and let her go.
We cried a lot. It was horrible, and we had only known her for a few hours. The vet let us kiss her, pet her, hug her, and say goodbye. We went back there and tried to assure her that it was going to be okay. We just wanted to be able to tell her owner (if found) that she did not die in pain or alone on the side of the road. She deserved some dignity.
We did all that we could do, but I still feel horrible. I hope that someone can locate her owner. The vet and animal shelter she came from was in Sanford (Lee County, NC), so hopefully the woman who had been mistakenly ID’d as her foster mom can help us. I really hope we can get some closure on her story.
We all know that life is precious, but, there is something about not being able to save a life that resonates with you and changes you. Seeing how fragile life is and how easily it can end really reaffirms how precious life actually is.
Rest in peace, not-Harvey. I am so sorry that we could not help you more. Sleep well, sweet girl.