There are some moments when being a dog owner is the hardest thing in the world. Where everything goes in slow motion. When you realise that as an owner of another being, you made a terrible mistake.
All these thoughts and more went through my head when Houdini was hit by a car a few days ago.
What started off as a normal (yet frantic) day with a lot of errands and back and forth ended up with an Emergency Vets appointment and a costly vets bill.
Houdini and Jester had appointments with the groomer for a quick wash and tidy up in an area I was unfamiliar with. I hate being late so was getting frantic that I couldn’t find a nearby parking space. My mother was in the car with me so the dogs were not in the footwell where they sometimes go. My sister had taken the crate out of the car so the dogs were not in the crate in the back. Instead in my (unwise) wisdom, the dogs were on the back seat on their dog beds.
I am a behaviourist by trade and like to think that my dogs are pretty well trained (they are by no means perfect). However on this instance, my own confidence in my training vs my dogs natural instinct to be a dog were not in alignment.
Having double parked outside the dog groomers, I opened the back door where the dogs were in order to put on their leads, and Houdini just jumped out of the car and straight onto the road and under a car. The car didn’t stop and Houdini didn’t make a sound but rolled under the car. When he finally got himself upright, he hopped towards me and I scooped him up, put him straight in the car and sped to the vets.
The vets saw us straight away to examine him and thankfully nothing was broken. He did need to stay for a few hours to have some stitches done but nothing that a little rest (and some stitches) can’t fix.
Still 10 days on and I am still wrapped in guilt that I made a mistake and opened the wrong side of the car. That I hadn’t reaffirmed Houdini’s wait command better. That I couldn’t be bothered to get the crate out of the garage. That I wasn’t in a rush, etc, etc. I could blame myself forever and it probably wouldn’t have stopped the accident. I jsut have to treat this as a lesson to make sure my dogs are never hurt again.
Have you ever blamed yourself for something that happened to your dog?