The one time I helped a stray dog
And how it still crushes me inside when I think about him
I remember this one time I was coming back home from university and I saw this dog by the side of the road. A little past a gated housing community that came on the way. Anyway, on the other side of the road was a garbage mound. The dog was trying to cross the road to get to the mound — because that was the only place of comfort left for him, perhaps? — but it couldn’t because nobody would stop for it. Cars would come zooming by and the dog couldn’t cross the road in time.
Because it had no hind legs. They had been crushed. He was dragging his body onto the road and then dragging it back off once a car came.
I saw that poor thing on the side of the road and my heart sank a little. I stopped the car, got out of it and debated with myself about what I should do. So in the end, I picked it up behind its front legs, and carried him across the road (and it was a big sort of four lane road) and deposited him on the other side. The dog tried turning its head around to see what was happening but he calmed down once he figured out what I was trying to do.
I don’t know where that dog is today. Maybe he’s dead. He’s most likely dead. This country is very unkind to living, breathing, properly functioning humans, so it’s hard to imagine that anybody would’ve cared for that broken stray dog.
I mention this story because just now I went outside to get some crisps. On my way back I saw this white dog. It was pretty dark so I couldn’t see whether it was a stray dog or not, but it looked stray to me. I once read somewhere that if a dog is trying to make itself small, or is trying to look small and insignificant, it’s had a hard and brutal life.
As I walked by the dog I stopped, and so did the dog. He too stopped. For a moment we both stared at each other. The dog looked so weak — so tiny, so miserable. As if it couldn’t even stand. And we just stared at each other. And then I walked away.
Because what else could I have done? There’s no dog helpline to call. There’s no animal society to call for help. And I couldn’t possibly have helped it myself, could I?
This dog too will die. Somebody will run it over, or it will lay down with exhaustion somewhere and not be able to wake up, or somebody will abuse it more.
Sometimes I wonder how my heart doesn’t explode with pain. I have had people take massive advantage of me by exploiting my sympathy and empathy. But the poor things that do need help, they can’t even speak up and ask for it.
It’s just sad is all. It’s all just really sad.