Blueberry died today. She was our dog, just over a year old, we adopted her in September. She worked her way into the family, becoming a fixture in the house, with the usual dog adventures of accidental poops in the hall, eating Henry's unattended hamburger, Geneva's entire birthday cake and annoying the cat. We got used to each other and she was one of us. We are generally responsible pet owners, keeping her shots current, feeding her decent food and walking her on a six foot leash. Today, though, she got out, chasing after some bunnies and squirrels. Karla went out after her, but Blueberry on the loose can be elusive. Karla was behind the house when she heard the skid and the Yipe! from out front. Karla ran out there; the car had left, but Blueberry was on the curb. She was badly hurt, and snarled when Karla touched her hindquarters. Her tongue was bleeding. A policewoman showed up, and she and the mailman and Karla got Blueberry on a blanket and into the car; to the vet, fortunately close by; it was morphine and a muzzle and xrays; a tearful phone message on my voicemail while I was at lunch; a broken left rear femur, collapsed lung, perforated organs, internal bleeding, air and blood bloating her abdomen; off to get Henry from school; me back from lunch and off to the vet; the dog, sleek and clean after the bath Geneva and I gave her last night, a mask on, asleep on her side, with labored breathing; a sombre talk with the vet; Henry and Karla tearfully out of the room; stroking Blueberry gently as she got the shot; twenty seconds and the breathing just stopped; a brief search for a heartbeat; Blueberry was gone. I went to get Geneva from school as well, plucked her from class for a tearful ride home, all Kleenex and remorse about having been annoyed about having to help with the bath, home for hugs and tears and tea.
And so tonight we find ourselves missing her presence already, no excited dog tumbling down the stairs to greet us, no hesitation before getting up from the recliner to allow Blueberry to leap out of the way, no "Walkies!" with her tail wagging so hard her whole back end goes back and forth. Her sudden departure has left us with the towel still damp from last night's bath, some fur from the bathtub a forlorn reminder in the garbage.
Blueberry at the farm at Thanksgiving. She was about 50 pounds, mostly Lab, who knows what else, with striking pale blue eyes and delightful ears.
Does this have anything to do with cycling? No, not really, other than to remind us how quickly things can change, to remind us that too many motorists will just drive off, maybe it was just a dog this time, but a couple of years ago a couple of blocks away it was an older gentleman, he was dead too, and that motorist didn't stop either, and they still haven't found him. It could be any of us. Be careful out there.