It’s been a serious minute since I’ve blogged; did I really only blog once in June?!?!
Part of the reason why I haven’t been around is because I was researching and preparing for presenting my research at the AIS (Association for Israel Studies) Conference, which I’ll probably recap in a post soon. This was my first conference, and it was on the campus of the University of California-Berkeley. I spent a whopping 12 days in the Bay Area, mostly due to getting a cheap flight on American Airlines, which included 4 days in San Francisco where I met up with Ciara and did quite a lot of uphill walking by my lonesome; 4 days in Berkeley where I finally saw the university’s campus for the first time, spoke and moderated a panel, and made a ton of new friends from around the world; and then 4 days on an island hotel in Burlingame where I attempted to have a work-ation, and was somewhat successful, but mostly ended up entertaining myself in Burlingame, San Mateo, and Palo Alto, where I paid a visit to Stanford University. I got back at about midnight last night.
Now back to today.
I guess everything happens for a reason. This afternoon, I went grocery shopping at the Pick ‘n Save on the West Side, a different Pick ‘n Save than the ones where I usually shop, either the one in Middleton or the one on University Avenue. I was feeling annoyed at having so many heavy groceries and at a mom in the store who couldn’t get her kids to stop crying for the entire 15 minutes I was inside. I had just responded to a text from a friend and was about to close the car door on my groceries, when I heard a giant BOOM.
At first I didn’t know what it was, because it didn’t quite sound like the impact of two cars crashing, but it didn’t sound normal, either. I turned around to face the street, and saw what looked like a brown lump in the middle of the road. I walked toward it, thinking it might be a dead animal…but it was actually two lumps, a large chocolate lab and a small terrier, lying on their sides in the road.
They were still alive and breathing, but they’d clearly just been hit by a car.
All of a sudden about eight other people descended on that spot in the road. For some reason, as people drew near, I decided to stand in the middle of the street and direct traffic as other people tended to the dogs, both of whom were wet and bleeding in the middle of the road. Quickly, two people (an older man in a blue shirt, and an Asian woman in a blue dress) carried them gently out of the street and laid them on the grass across the road from the supermarket. A young couple who were nearby with their own dog went to their car and brought out towels and water bottles, which, being dog owners, they fortunately had in their car. The Asian husband/boyfriend of the Asian woman took pictures and videos on his phone, while his wife/girlfriend held the smaller dog (the terrier) down. He was able to walk and was very jumpy, but was also wet and bleeding from his mouth. The man in the blue shirt was holding the larger dog, the chocolate lab, who was still very much breathing, but extremely bloody, with her front legs trembling. We looked at their collars, and upon learning that their names were Kassi and Oliver and they had the same phone number on them, we surmised they had the same owner. I was holding my phone, so I was the one who called the number and deliver the bad news. The phone rang three times, and just before rolling over to voicemail, a man picked up, and the conversation went like this:
ME: Hi, are you the owner of a dog named Kassi?
HIM: Yes, that’s my dog…
ME: My name is Jacob. I’m here with her, and she’s been hit by a car. She’s alive but badly hurt. Are you also the owner of a dog named Oliver?
ME: He is also here, he’s been hit too. They’re both ok, but bleeding a lot. We’re outside the Pick ‘n Save on Maple Grove, are you at home?
HIM: I’m at work right now.
ME: Okay, can you come here? There are about eight of us with your dogs right now, we are taking care of them. When can you be here?
HIM: Ten minutes…
ME: Okay, see you soon. Again, I’m Jacob, and I’m with your dogs and a bunch of people. I’m the one in the red shirt.
Down the road was the car that hit the dogs. Fortunately, the driver had indeed stopped, but didn’t get out right away as he was probably upset and scared that he’d killed the dogs. He was a young teenager, and as he came over to us, I made sure to ask if he and his car were okay, rather than point fingers. Another couple had shown up by this point, a couple who had been a few blocks down the road and called the police on the dogs because they had passed them running around in the street and narrowly avoided hitting them a few minutes earlier. Someone else called the police and an ambulance. Finally, after about fifteen minutes, a large black pickup with its hazards on pulled up next to us, and a police car right behind him. The owner, a tall Latino guy, got out of the pickup. I probably said something stupid, like “Hi, I’m Jacob, and these are your dogs (well, duh) and they’re hurt (again, duh)” and remarkably, the owner was not too upset, just a little dazed and sad but overall grateful that a bunch of strangers (six at this point: me, blue shirt, Asian couple, and down-the-road couple) were there. Another car pulled up, and it was the mom and grandma of the driver of the car. We gave the dogs back to their owner. Oliver sprung up and jumped into the truck, but it took some coaxing from the owner to get Kassi on her feet. Once she was upright, it was clear that all four of her legs were shaking, especially her front paws, and she half got into/half was lifted into the truck. Everyone else (couples, owner, driver, mom, grandma, and police) went across the street to the parking lot of the store to exchange information, and not knowing what to do, I stood beside the truck and watched the dogs to make sure they were OK in there (Oliver was jumping up and around; I didn’t see Kassi but she was probably lying down on the back seat). After a few minutes, everyone came back across the street and went their separate ways. I told the owner to call me if he needed me, since mine was the number he had, and that I hoped his dogs were OK. Fortunately, there is an emergency pet clinic a little farther down the street so I don’t think that they had to travel too far.
On the whole, it was a sad experience for the driver, owner, and dogs, but it was good that so many random people stopped to help them. It’s not really clear who’s to blame here; the driver was clearly not expecting two dogs to charge out of the bushes and in front of his car, and the owner was clearly unaware that his two dogs had gotten loose. Either way though, two dogs were hurt and a guy’s car was dented in the front. It could have been worse though, and I’m glad it wasn’t.
Two things to take from this experience.
People, drive safely, and make sure you know where your dogs are when you are not at home.