Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Daytime

Perhaps it was because of the wind: I'm not sure.

At eight o'clock this morning I was driving up the street where I live, on my way to a roleplay with the early and very precise arrival time of 8.25am.

The road splits into two about a three-quarters of a mile from our house, by a parade of shops (yes, I still call it "a parade"), and each side is quite narrow: there are trees down the middle.

Just after the road split, I saw a man ahead of me in the middle of the road, so I stopped. He was bending over, with his back to me, and it took a while for me to work out what he was doing.

He seemed to be holding some kind of floppy toy. Then I noticed that his hands were covered in blood. Then - rather belatedly - I saw that there was a car just past him, stopped in the middle of the road, with its driver's door open.

It was like watching a film - I could see it all unfolding before me and yet, because I had the car windows closed, it was all in silence.

I realised that the lady on the pavement looking very upset had to be the driver of the car. I noticed that one of the shopkeepers had come out and was appeared to be asking what had happened.

And, finally, I understood what I was looking at. A dog - a brown, brindled dog, like a cross between a terrier and a pug - had been tied to a kind of plastic bollard, with the dog lead, presumably while its owner, an elderly man, wearing those kind of old-man tweeds the same colour as his dog, went into a shop.

Somehow - - and the wind was very strong, so perhaps it blew, taking the dog with it - the bollard, and the dog, had ended up in the middle of the road, and the dog had been hit on its head by the car, and was completely motionless, clearly dead.

After what seemed an eternity, the man managed to disentangle the dog and its lead from the bollard. Blood dripped everywhere. The man started shouting at the driver of the car, who was trying to explain that it wasn't her fault. I couldn't hear any of it, but I could understand everything.

I thought of opening my car window and offering to help - - but the shopkeeper was trying to help, and I didn't think there was anything I could do. I couldn't get past the woman's car which was exactly positioned in the middle of the road, with high kerbs on either side. By now a queue of about fifteen cars had built up behind me. Strangely, they didn't honk their horns - perhaps they could tell that there was something going on.

After what seemed forever, but which was actually ten minutes, the man carried his dead dog into the shop. The car driver got back into her car and, after a few moments to gather herself together, drove off, and I did too.

Then, as I drove off, I saw the man come out of the shop, carrying his dead dog in a cardboad box, in his blood-covered hands. Somehow they had cut a hole for its head, which drooped through the hole, its tongue lolling out, blood still dripping.

The whole image looked slightly comical and yet I felt so sorry for the man - all he had done was take his dog to the shop, and now here he was, slowly making his way home again, his life suddenly changed.

I wanted to stop and say something - - but what? And I had a queue of cars behind me, and I didn't want to be late for my roleplay. So I didn't stop, but all day I've wished I had. If I'd set off a few seconds earlier, of course, it could have been my car that hit the dog.

I keep thinking of the image of the man trudging home, with his dead dog in a cardboard box, and I can't get it out of my head. And now I've put it in yours.


Blogger Yorkshire Pudding said...

Well I hope the lady's car was not damaged in the collision with the dog or the old man will find himself with a bill to pay as well as a dead dog to inter.

12:14 am  
Blogger Helsie said...

You have indeed. A very vivid one too. Poor dog, poor man, POOR WOMAN !!

4:49 am  
Blogger Daphne said...

YP - do try not to let your compassionate streak run unchecked! I'm surprised you haven't already given away all your possessions to the Dogs' Trust.
Helsie - - yes, exactly! And thank you for reading my blog - it's always great to find a new reader.

7:34 am  
Blogger rhymeswithplague said...

It's always great to see that the old readers have returned as well, compassionate streak or not.

I will remember this post for a very long time. I cannot bring myself to thank you for writing it, but it was very well done. (I'm a doggie person.)

1:18 pm  

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