Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Early Morning Heroics

It was a cold chilly morning. My dog stared at me with singular purpose, which would not bug me so much if it were not seven in the morning and I were not trying to have my coffee and toast. So I grabbed a bunch of toys and played with him while trying to multitask my breakfast, email check, dress, go to the gym. Around eight he was feeling better and I was ready to get out the door. It was more than a little nippy, so I put on the heavy winter coat I finished three weeks ago, bundled against the wind, and started to walk.

The wind whipped down the streets as I walked toward the park. As I walked to the park I noticed across the street a dog that looked rather like my own little munchie monster, a Shih Tzu with long hair, who had very obviously gotten out of wherever his house was, or was possibly walking with an owner. I look around for an owner but the dog seemed to be very much on his own. I tried to call him, but he dashed away from me in the opposite direction. Which happened to be into traffic on a very busy street. My heart sank into my stomach, but I also knew better than to run into a busy Korean street. I held my breath and watched.

He ducked and dashed between cars. One car stopped short just short of him, but he made it to the other side. I started breathing again and praying for the light to change. Someone need to grab that puppy and fast. On the opposite side of the street I watched as he pawed a little place under a tree and looked to lay down. This was good, if he wanted to get to sleep that would be okay. I was popping up and down on the balls of my heels for the light to change, and it did. I started to cross the walk, the dog got up and walked into traffic on the other side, my heart started pounding again, and then a taxi clipped him. He was tossed into the air and landed flat unmoving.

My head just sank into my toes. I wanted to cry, I didn’t know what to do. At first, I thought to just go on, he’s dead, just move on, nothing you can do. I took two steps past, but I couldn’t do it. I ran into the street, the light was turning green and ran towards the puppy. He just looked at me, those big eyes saying “I just discovered cars and I don’t like them, also please don’t hurt me anymore.” I felt like I was miles away even though only steps. The light changed and a taxi going full speed runs straight at me and pulls up to stop, almost on the puppy. I screamed. The cab screeched to a halt. I scooped the puppy up into my arms and ran back to the sidewalk.

“You silly, stupid thing.” I told him. He just lay contently in my arms. I’m pretty sure he was in shock. At this point I wasn’t sure what to do. I was on my way to the gym so I just kept going that way. The puppy was heavy and obviously well cared for. First, he weighed at least fifteen pounds, and his hair was clean and combed. Shih Tzus have long human-like hair. His was straight, clean and unmated. He was not bleeding, but the way he was laying in the street, either playing dead or seriously stunned, I didn’t know. On the way to the gym was my vet, so we just kept walking.

I kept stroking him and talking to him and he mostly just laid there. I kept thinking that he doesn’t understand what I’m saying and I try to think of what to say in Korean to make him feel better, but my Korean has totally gone out the window. The Koreans I passed kept looking at me like I was crazy talking to a dog while walking down the street, but this morning I just didn’t care. I kept walking and got to the vet...who was closed.

“Now what?” I looked around in front of the vets and found some string to make a quick collar and leash out of. I tied him up and set him down. He started to shake almost immediately and I started dialing the friend I have who volunteers for the local animal shelter. It took two calls to get her on the line but as she answered I explained what had happened in rapid fire. I gave her the number to the vet and she called the Korean woman who runs the shelter to call the vet and explain what was going on. I stood over the dog. The dog shook. Kids were walking by on their way to school and taking an interest so I wanted to get him out of the way somehow. There is a little cubbie at the corner of the vets with leaves, out of the way of the wind. So I tied the dog up there, even though it seemed rather unlikely that he would try to move at this point, and called the friend back to tell her where the dog was. The good thing was the kids going to school couldn’t see him, which seemed very important. The bad was that it was only 8:20 and I still needed to go to the gym and work. I wanted to take the dog to the gym with me, but that wouldn’t help and I figured the vets would be in sometime before nine. In the end I went to the gym and just hoped for the best.

With all the adrenaline in my system the workout was fantastic, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the puppy. As soon as I was done, I showered and ran back to the vet. If they were still closed I was going to wait and take a cab to work. However the lights were on and puppy was gone. In the doors I went, to see the vet on the phone who saw me and relaxed. I explained in English and my poor Korean what had happened, and discovered that he had just been on the phone with the Korean woman who runs the animal shelter. They had only found the dog a few moments ago, apparently a little too well hidden, but she had conveyed the directions and they picked him up immediately. They said he looked to be mostly okay, but may have broken his leg. I signed a form and explained where I found the dog so they had all the information down in Korean, and with that I went to school.

I just keep seeing him flying through the air and laying there. I keep seeing the look on his face as I ran towards him, desperate and confused. The taxi cab almost stopping on him trying not to hit me. The Koreans walked by on the sidewalk, the cars kept moving, but I just couldn’t leave him there. I went back and grabbed him even though running into morning rush hour traffic is stupid. I just see that face and think of my poor Shih Tau, and how if it were my dog I’d hope someone would do the same thing.

My friend called a few minutes ago to say that aside from the shock the puppy appears to be fine. I hope his owners check with local vets to find him. If not I know that shelter is not ideal but at least he will be treated well until something can be worked out. I still feel very upset about it, but it was the right thing to do. Why do I feel so upset about it still? I’m working that out. In the meantime, I’m glad the little guy is going to be okay. Not a whole lot of Shih Tzus can take a taxi cab and live to tell about it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Sara, good on you! Those taxi drivers are INSANE!! There should be a law against them...oh wait, there are, they're just not enforced...grrrr...anyway, hope all's well otherwise! See you on the weekend!
Trainee