A journalist observes life in the far north.
There are bits of Monique in my driveway. I’m sorry to be so graphic but it’s true. Monique is my 15-year-old lab mix and my companion since she was small enough to curl up in my lap. Alec, my human companion and the father of my child, hit Monique with his Toyota Tundra this morning. I heard the crying from my bed as Al left for work, but I thought it was his bull terriers fighting. Or maybe I hoped it was his bull terriers fighting because I knew the crying didn’t sound quite right. Next came Alec’s shouting. “Honey, get down here. I just hit your dog.” The shouting continued until Al managed to get her in the back seat of his truck so he could run her to the vet.
A wave of nausea came over me when I saw Monique cowering under the truck. The bloody, torn skin of her abdomen was dragging on the ground. I don’t know why, but I got it in my head that all of her insides probably fell out and that she was going to die. I remember telling Alec to stop shouting because my dog was dying. I told Alec to have her put down right away. The two days that Lighting, Al’s dog that was hit by a truck a few months ago, suffered before dying was fresh on my mind.
I called the vet, told them that Al was on his way and to put down Monique. Then I lied down on the bed, trying to sort out what had just happened. I suddenly realized, what do I know about whether she can survive this? Why did I tell them to put her down? I called the vet back and asked them to examine her and give me an opinion.
Al called later. He had evolved from yelling to sadness and contrition. He was sorry he hit my dog. He was so very sorry. I accepted his apology, which for me means that I won’t use this to torment him for the duration of our relationship. Who am I to judge? I bear some responsibility for Lightning’s death. I was the one who let him outside and then lost track of him, allowing him to meander out into the road, where he was hit by a family on their way to a dinner party.
The vet called this afternoon. Mo has a broken tail and a cracked pelvis but her insides seem OK. They didn’t fall out. Her liver was shot before this happened, and of course she has arthritis and hip dysplasia. Her bladder seems OK, the vet said. Time will tell how she gets through this. There’s severe bruising. Pain was already a part of Mo’s daily life, and it will probably be worse now.
I hate that I am leaving town tomorrow for a week in the Midwest. I want to nurse Monique. But I am too deep into this trip to turn back. Plenty of people have made arrangements to accommodate me.
Now that I have this off my chest, maybe I can pack.