Sunday, December 30, 2012.
I woke up at 9am like most Sundays, walked the doggies, and started getting ready to go to church.
My church was not of an organized religion, but a circle of friends – young and old.
We would get together every Sunday, normally at Gary and Betty’s house, eat brunch, meditate, read inspirational works and discuss life.
During brunch, Gary and Betty shared with us the details of their Buddhist retreat trip in Hawaii and passed out some neat gifts they got each of us. They gave me a license plate frame that says, “I’d rather BE HERE,” from Ram Dass’ Be Here Now book and teaching.
After delighting with the company of good friends and before going home, Betty shared a poem from a book she read the night before, a poem by Hafiz, titled My Eyes So Soft.
Afterward I headed home, feeling a sense of peace and excited to install my new license plate frame.
I pulled into my col-de-sac and parked. I opened the garage door and as it rolled up, saw Floyd and EviePoe waiting for me in the house through the screen door, wagging their tails, excited to see me. I went to greet my Boxer and little Shorkie, and let them out of the house. We went to the side of the house searching through the toolbox so I could change my license plate frame.
As I was tightening the second bolt and beginning to feel good about my declaration, EviePoe started barking at a person in a wheelchair across the street. She began to run.
I yelled at her, calling for her to come back, but she was determined to bark face to face with the man in the wheelchair. Fear swelled through every part of my being, not wanting her to get hit by a car, and I started to run without thinking.
Being the obedient dog that followed me everywhere, Floyd ran too. He was a little ahead of me, about 2 feet, and as soon as we reached busy Parkside Avenue, I heard the screeching of rubber on tar and before a breath could come from my lungs, the bumper of a lifted Toyota Tacoma hit Floyd’s face and both the front and back tires ran over his body.
I never screamed and cried so hard in my life.
EviePoe was freaked out by the whole thing she was growling at the people that came near Floyd and me. Too afraid to move him, I placed my face on his and cried, asking him to let go and assuring him that I will be okay. I could hear the driver of the Tacoma apologizing and calling 911, asking what to do.
I couldn’t move away from Floyd, I couldn’t be apart from him for one second, I knew he was trying with all his might to hold on. Blood began to come from his nose and mouth, he kept gasping. He was drowning internally, and I couldn’t stop screaming.
Someone was shaking my shoulder and I looked up into the eyes of a woman. She told me her name is Camilla and she helped me snap out of my shock and get in action. She told me to get my car and take him to the nearest animal ER.
I grabbed EviePoe and ran to my house, quickly told my family of the situation as I ran back out. I hurriedly drove my car over to the middle of the street on Parkside Avenue, grabbed Floyd and carried him to the car. I placed 70 lbs of dead weight tenderly on the back seat, explaining to him what I was doing.
I can still feel the heat from his blood all over my shirt and neck.
I started to drive to the animal ER in Chula Vista, trying to see through my swollen, tear-filled eyes, keeping control of the wheel with my shaking, bloody hands. I reached my right hand to the back seat and held his paw.
“It’s okay Floyd,” I cried, “please boy, please let go.” At the top of my lungs, I kept begging him to stop suffering.
I got to East H Street in Chula Vista and I felt a calmness surround me. I stopped screaming and gained a composed breath.
Still squeezing his paw, I cried to him softly full of love and tears, “I am so sorry it’s all my fault. I should have known better. I should have been better. I love you. I am a better person having had you in my life. I know why you’re holding on, and I promise I’ll be okay, boy.”
I kept repeating, “I love you. I love you. I love you.”
His choking was ceasing, and even though I was only connected to him from my right hand to his paw, I felt his release. He left.
The sky was filled with a dark haze of clouds and it began to sprinkle.
I reached the ER, ran out of my car, open the back door and carefully took his body out. A lady with a gurney met me and I placed his bloody, lifeless body on the cold steel of the gurney, and as we went inside, the sprinkle began to transform to rain.
Inside the ER he was pronounced dead.
They let me have a room with him and told me I can stay as long as I wanted. Camila and Keith, the driver of the Tacoma, were there, making sure I was alright and apologizing for my loss.
Keith was so grief-stricken and a huge amount of guilt was on him. I looked him in the eye and said, “I don’t blame you, it’s not your fault.”
Moments later my mom came running in, crying hysterically, holding the dead body of the best dog in the world, while I was trying to deal with the reality of the situation. During the next hour, my family members came to the ER to say goodbye to Floyd. He touched the heart of every single person in my family – and I was appreciative to see that.
While I stayed in the ER, my mom’s friend cleaned my entire car in the parking lot, making sure there was no blood left. Apparently, I left my car running with the keys in it, doors open.
It took me three hours to leave Floyd. By then it was late at night and the rain had stopped. My mom drove me home in my car. I felt lifeless, with the dried blood of my dog all over me. As we approached home, I saw that the rain had cleared the blood from the street.
I thanked God, knowing that the sight of Floyd’s blood on the concrete would have pulled me further into the storming depression that was forming.
I cleaned up and got into bed with EviePoe. I watched videos of Floyd on my phone and I let the tears run from my eyes. I could hear the words of Hafiz, from the poem that Betty shared today speaking to me:
Don’t surrender your loneliness so quickly,
let it cut more deep.
Let it ferment and season you
as few human or even divine ingredients can.
Something missing in my heart tonight
has made my eyes so soft,
my voice so tender,
my need of God absolutely clear.
I let this experience season me – praying for the gift of time, knowing that our memories can fade.
I can still see everything replay through my mind, but as time passes, the details become less vivid and the sounds less sharp. The falling of my heart becomes less painful and my eyes become less cloudy.
I know that there was only a matter of feet between EviePoe, Floyd and me. It could have been any of us that reached that street at that same time. It could have been me. But it wasn’t, it was Floyd – and I know he saved me.