Running over the family dog, not a good scene

Filed under: Development/Milestones: Babies

Last Friday I was driving home with my younger two children, Cassidy and Devon, in the car. My daughter was out of school on a half day and my youngest was off for the entire day. We were doing what we always do in the car: I was driving while half listening to the two of them exchange banter and the like. As we approached the house and turned in to the winding driveway I slowed to a 15 MPH speed and approached the spot where I always park my small VW bug. As we drove up I saw my mother working in the yard and it appeared as though she was waving and saying something to us. I started to wave back when I felt a thu-thunk at the back of the car and then watched as my mother collapsed in screams.

It turns out my mother was not simply waving a welcome hello but telling us the dog was running towards the car. She was coming from a direction she never comes from and I never saw her. I sat in the car for what seemed like minutes but was really only seconds as I prepared myself for what I would find behind the car. My kids were confused and starting to fret as I opened the door. I opened the car door to the wailing of my mother, the shrieks of the dog and the feeling of my stomach falling out of my body. I didn't know what to do: by now both Cassidy and Devon were crying, the dog was hurt and my mom was a mess. I ordered the kids to remain in the car as I ran to my mom. I told her I was sorry and that I had to tend to the dog. The dog, Kaitlyn, was hopping in circles with her left rear leg at a perpendicular angle to her stout body. Grateful to see no blood I herded her towards the house so I could call the vet. That done, I got the kids in the house, who by this time were hysterically screaming, and told them to sit tight while I took care of my mother. After about 20 minutes my mother was able to pull herself together and get the dog to the vet while I tried to pull my kids back together.

After Kaitlyn and my mother left I was able to soothe both my children though Devon was confused and thought I had gotten hurt. Once he inspected my limbs and understood I was not bleeding, I held him in my lap while he calmed down. Cass snuggled up to my side and simply breathed in and out. After two surgeries and two nights at the hospital Kaitlyn is again home and heeling. She sports a bight pink splint on her leg and is subdued with painkillers. Her vet bill is staggering.

My mother has recovered, she is deeply attached to the dog and watching her roll under the car was obviously devastating. After the initial shock Cass and Devon are fine, though Devon does say to me at night when I tuck him in, "You squish Katilyn with car, Mai-Mai? She hurt. You no hurt." It is as though he has to reassure himself that something bad happened but we are mostly all right now. I will never forget the sound of the dog going under my rear tire, I wake up at night hearing that awful thu-thunk and imagine all the things it could have been: my kids' other dog, the cat or one of the kids. It will be a very long time before I can drive into the driveway and not remember that sound or the anguish on my mother's face. It is a healthy reminder that 15 MPH is still fast and a car, no matter how small, is still heavy.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.