On Friday evening mom was out walking Lego, Alfie and Yoshi. They had been walking for 2 hours straight, making only a couple of pee-stops on the way. It was extremely foggy outside, but that hadn’t stopped my brothers from doing exceptionally well! They had walked by her side the whole time, not paying attention to anything or anyone but her. They had passed several dogs on the way, all of them lunging towards them, without giving any reaction - not even Alfie! Mom had her music on since it helps getting her in the right mood, and she didn’t look down at the dogs once – it was all about moving forward.
After one last left turn, they were finally getting close to home. Now it was just straight forward, crossing the road, up a slope, and they’d be back on our street. As soon as they got on that straight path, mom kept visualizing where they would cross the road. Lego was wearing his usual lead; a simple rope with a loop on it. Alfie was walking on the right side of mom, which was beside the road. She kept Lego and Yoshi on her left – away from the road – because Lego’s not a fan of fast-moving cars… He always keeps a good distance from roads, he’s always known they’re dangerous.
Ironically, it was the fact that he was walking so good that ultimately led to the accident. See, when he’s walking beside you and there’s no strain on the lead, the loop gets bigger and hangs loosely around the neck. This isn’t new to my folks, but they never worried because Lego would never stray. If he gets loose, he simply keeps walking beside them anyway. This time, however, something went very wrong.
There were no cars on the road, and mom knew exactly where she was going to cross it. They only had a few meters to go, when all of a sudden she turns her head and sees Lego standing in the middle of the road! He wasn’t doing anything, just standing there, like he was waiting for something. A few seconds went by because mom couldn’t believe her eyes. What she was seeing didn’t add up with what she knew – that Lego would N-E-V-E-R walk out into a road. And by the way, how could he be standing there if he was walking right next to her? She glanced at his lead as to affirm that he was there, only to see that of course he was not.
The second she called him in, a car came out of nowhere – fast - and hit him. It was going way faster than allowed, and it hit the front half of him, continuing several meters with him pressed against the bumper before he was tossed to the side. The crash was loud, very loud. But Lego didn’t start screaming until afterwards. Mom rushed over and then he started screaming at the top of his lungs – it was a dreadful scream of sheer pain and fear. It was awful. Mom was of course in shock, but somehow she didn’t act on it. As soon as Lego looked at her she knew what she had to do. He had the look of asking her to help him, DO SOMETHING, PLEASE! Before she had reached him she had seen him pushing himself forward with the help of his back legs. He was lying on his stomach and his front legs looked deformed and lame. She pulled him up on the sidewalk and held him in her arms. She took out her cell phone and called Suzanne. They needed a ride to the vet and fortunately they were very close to home (Suzanne lives there too, remember?). When they hung up a woman came running. She had heard the crash (and the screams) from her house, and asked if mom needed some help. Mom told her she was already waiting for a ride, and thanked the lady so much for coming. The lady then asked where the driver was, and as soon as mom answered “well, don’t think he stopped!”, she looked up and saw him standing there… He was in shock, so mom had to calm him down, too! She said it was her fault since Lego shouldn’t have been there in the first place, but when she asked him how fast he was driving, he didn’t want to answer. The truth is that he probably would have been able to stop the car in time if he had gone the right speed… Still, there were no hard feelings between them. All that mattered was Lego. The man left his card with mom and went on his way.
The amazing thing is that Alfie and Yoshi were there all along, but kept out of the way the whole time. They just sat there, completely still until Suzanne arrived and got them all in the car. Mom had already called our vet, but that hospital was full that evening. They stopped by another place where they were also shown the door, before they headed off to the biggest animal hospital in town. It was farther away, but they were the only ones who could take him in at that hour. Strangely, Lego was sitting up, using both his front legs! Mom kept her cool, only because she had gone into some kind of protector mode. Lego was quiet, and seemingly calm, when mom carried him in to the hospital. And surprise! When she let him down on the floor, he was walking around like nothing had happened! Mom told the whole story, but the vet was confused. “You say he just got hit by a car? At at least 70 km/hour (43 mph)??”, she asked. She just couldn’t make sense of it, no one could. There he was, as agile as ever, with only a scratch on his head! Sure, he was a bit subdued, but that didn’t stop him from wagging his tail!
Mom had also called dad of course, and after no more than 15 minutes he was in there with them. He had left work to come and be with his baby, and he was obviously shaken to the core by this whole ordeal. You don’t get a call like that and pretend like nothing, do you? The vet did a thorough check-up on Lego and found nothing, he was free to go home. My folks were ecstatic! Suzanne kept Alfie in her car and Yoshi and Lego came home with my folks. They met up outside our building and mom finally got a chance to thank Suzanne for her input.
Back home I waited for them impatiently with Ev and Addy. We had sensed something wrong and all that worrying had made us thirsty. We drank our whole water bowl (which consists of several liters of water) and peed inside… This just doesn’t happen otherwise (and I didn’t even know the 3 of us could drink that much!), but we knew that something had happened to our brother, we could feel it. We sniffed him all over and then we left him alone all night. Even though he was moving alright, we could sense he was still in a lot of pain. My folks agreed not to feel sorry for him, since pity only leaves us stuck in a bad state of mind. No, everything was fine now. There was no reason to go over it again and again. Instead we popped in a movie and started watching. But half way through it, mom cracked. Everything she’d been holding back all evening burst out at once. She went into the bathroom because there was no need for Lego to be around her energy at that time. Dad had to console her for a long time, she was so sick with guilt. “What if I had used another lead? What if I had gone another way? What if I had turned off my music, then maybe I would have heard it coming? What if…”… There were endless questions desperately seeking a comforting answer.
Then dad thought of something. “You said you had visualized where you were going to cross the road for some time before the accident happened”, he said. “And that when you only had meters to go, you saw Lego out there. Then it took you a while to realize what you were seeing, didn’t it?”, he asked. “That may have given you just the right amount of time to let the car pass by… What if Lego knew that the car was going to hit YOU? What if he saw the picture you were projecting in your mind, the spot where you were going to cross the road? What if he wanted to prevent you guys from getting hurt, or killed? You know Yoshi would have died in an instant!”. Mom was confused, so he continued. “First of all, we both know Lego is a very sensitive dog. He’s always been able to sense things before we see them coming, you know that. And he’s afraid of cars, afraid of roads! So why would he just walk into one and stay there?! It doesn’t make any sense!”. He was right, it didn’t. What if Lego did save my mom and brothers from getting hurt? The vet had said that even though it’s a miracle, only a solid, robust dog like Lego would have survived a hit like that.
Mom chose to hang on to that theory. After all, stranger things have happened. For instance, we’ve all heard many stories before about how dogs have barked incessantly when their owners get up to leave the house, only to appear in an accident moments later. And what about all the animals that left for safer ground long before the tsunami hit in 2004? They could sense the danger. Sure, they left the scene, but they also didn’t have something to protect! Anyway, it’s something to consider. Us dogs know way more than you humans give us credit for. And don’t forget who’s your best friend!
Bruised, but alright.
And he’s got a new title! “Guardian Angel”… Hm, that’s pretty sweet!