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09/13/2003 Archived Entry: "Dead dogs"

THE BIG YELLOW LABRADOR RETRIEVER WAS TROTTING DOWN THE MEDIAN STRIP. Wearing a collar and tags, he looked placidly determined to get somewhere -- home, maybe -- as the freeway traffic roared past him on all sides. I couldn't stop without causing an accident. Five miles later, I reached an overpass, swung around, and headed back down the less franticly trafficked side of the highway. I feared I'd see the dog dead in the road.

I didn't. Exactly.

I saw a scrap of yellow fur, about a foot square. It was attached to something vaguely identifiable as a rib cage. The rest was just lumps of shining red meat, scattered over two lanes and about 100 feet of freeway. There wasn't even anything left identifiable as "dog." No head. No legs. No tail that might have been wagging in the back of somebody's pickup truck 15 minutes earlier. Just widely scattered lumps of pulp.

A mile further, another dog lay dead next to the median. A pit bull mix, his body intact and not even visibly injured. But just as dead.

A mile furthur along I was passed by a pickup truck. One of those where somebody has removed the tailgate to reduce drag and hasn't even replaced it with a span of decorative netting. A chow chow mix slipped and slid on the bare metal of the truck bed, looking utterly terrified as his master whizzed along at 70 mph.

No doubt the owners of all these dogs would swear they loved them dearly. But somehow I was the one who felt guilty and inadequate for not being able to save them.

Posted by Claire @ 10:22 AM CST

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