Monday, April 27, 2009

R.I.P. Billy

Our dog Billy died a couple of month's ago; she got hit by a car.

It was horrible, I was right there and I couldn't stop it.

Ever since I had surgery on my eye, a driver has been taking me to and from work. On the morning it happened, my driver was late, and I was standing outside the gate waiting for her with my two ton computer bag, purse and lunch. Billy was always hyper in the morning. She was just a baby so she had a lot of energy; as usual she was running around in the courtyard excitedly knowing that Salman would come out to walk her in a few minutes.

The street we live on is usually pretty quiet and empty. It is only a bit busy in the morning, because we live just down from the English Speaking School so there are parents and buses going to and fro dropping kids. Every morning, I was very careful to close the gate behind me if Billy was not on her walk yet, to make sure she didn't get out. But that morning, my lazy maid, who had just woken up and called the grocery to bring her a phone card, opened the ,after I was already outside. She asked me if the grocery had come and told her no and to please be careful because Billy was behind her and I didn't want her to get out. At the same time my driver showed up - 15 minutes late - so I rushed to get in the car. As I was about to close the door, I saw that, instead of doing as I asked, she had stepped through the gate and left it wide open. Billy shot out past her and into the sand lot next to our house. "Ashari!" I said. "I am late for work, please grab her before she goes far and put her back inside." Ashari, who pretty much considered herself too good for most work, laughed and waved her hand lazily and said "oh she will come back." "No!" I told her, "You know she is not supposed to be let out, especially not in the morning; you see this traffic? She will go into the road and she will get hit by a car!" Just as I said that, little Billy shot into the road, and headed towards our car. My driver, seeing this opened her door to try to grab her as she passed. But, this freaked Billy out and she turned and ran into the middle of the road where she was immediately hit by an oncoming car.

I heard the sickening thud as she bounced off the car. My heart started to pound, and I felt like crying. There was silence for a few seconds, and then the howling started. I jumped out of the passenger seat of the car and ran to look in the road. I saw her dragging herself in circles crying and trying to bite her own backside. I was afraid another car would hit her, but luckily, the next driver saw her and stopped so that none of the cars coming behind her could run over Billy. I stepped towards Billy thinking to try (as gently as possible) to move her to the shoulder of the road. But she was wild with pain and bared her teeth and growled at me menacingly, when I approached , so I stepped back. I tried again, and again she growled at me and I knew she would bite me if I touched her.

At this point the driver, a Filipina, tried walking towards Billy, but she got the same response. I told her "don't touch her, if she is threatening to bite me and she knows me, she will bite you for sure." I ran into the house to get Salman. Billy always loved Salman the most, and I wanted to see what her reaction to him would be. She let him get closer, but when his hand was almost close enough to touch her, she suddenly snapped at him and tried to bite him. I told him to go back to the side of the road and ran back into the courtyard to look for something that I could use to pick her up that would shield me from her bites.

When I came back out, the driver was now sitting down on the curb with her pant leg rolled up going on about how she was going to die. She had done exactly what I had instructed her not to do and had approached Billy and had been bitten. She must have gone very close, because Billy appeared to be paralyzed from her middle down and couldn't walk or jump.

Then, driver started insisting that she had to get to a doctor right that moment before she died. I told her "you don't die on the spot from a dog bite, in fact you don't die from them at all unless they have rabies and that only after a long time if you haven't bothered to get the shots."

But she started getting dramatic and saying she could feel herself getting sick and feeling faint, which was kind of annoying, but after a few minutes she got up again and found a long plank and pushed Billy out of the road over to the shoulder. We put a couple big rocks around her so she couldn't squirm back into the road. Then I called "A", since he was the one who bought her in the first place and asked him to come quickly and take her to a vet.

Billy stayed with us about a week after that, but she stopped eating like she did before and she made a terrible mess every time she went to the toilet because she couldn't lift her hind legs. We had to give her a bath every day. Meanwhile Ashari, who was responsible for the whole accident, refused to help clean up after her at all. But I was determined to take care of her. The vet had said her hip was broken and maybe if we took her to Dubai she could get surgery to help her. But I didn't have the money for the surgery, so he said to try to keep her from moving, and once the bones were healed she might be able to walk again, but with a bad limp. To me it seemed like she was paralyzed, but even then I thought that maybe I could do like my uncle did for his dog after it got paralyzed in its hind quarters. He made a little cart for it that he would strap it to so that it could run around using its front legs and the wheels of the cart. I had already started eyeing Salman's skateboard with a design in mind.

Unfortunately, she refused to sit still and seemed to be making her condition worse by insisting on dragging herself all over the place. On her last morning with us, I went out to find her sitting in the little cage we had put her in, in a last ditch attempt to try to make her stay still. Only to discover that she had eaten off one of her own legs. The kids saw it and started to cry.

That morning I made the difficult decision to have her put to sleep. With one leg now missing and no idea why she ate it or if she would try to eat more of her body, I didn't have any hope for her recovery anymore. The vet said it was probably a good decision.

I cried a lot that day. I felt so bad and guilty. She was just a baby, and she should have had so many more years to run, jump and play ahead of her. I don't know what happens to dogs after they die, but I hope she is at peace now and maybe even running free like she always tried to do at every chance she got. Whenever I take a walk in our neighborhood up the hill behind our house. I remember her running as fast her little legs would carry her in front of us up that hill, and I feel sad.

After she died, I took the kids to see Marley and Me. I didn't expect it to move me so much. I was teary eyed by the end of the movie, which almost never happens to me, the only other time I can remember tearing up like that in a movie was at the end of Titanic when they showed the old couple hugging each other in the bed as the waters swallowed them up, and the children being put to bed for the last time in their soon to be flooded room and the dead woman floating in the water with her frozen lifeless infant in her arms.

Salman was silent after the movie, but half way home he started bawling his eyes out. He didn't cry when Billy died. He was quiet and I didn't understand why I appeared to be the only one upset when he had spent the most time with her. But whatever he was feeling from that time that he had bottled up inside came pouring out with the emotions triggered by Marley and Me.

A week or so after that I went back on my "No more dogs rule" and we got Max a fully grown, very well behaved beautiful dog. He seems to be a cross between something like a chow - with very thick golden fur and something with a more "wolf - like face" . Everywhere we take him for a walk people stop and ask about him. I put his picture on my Facebook, and I got more comments for that than any other picture I have ever put there.


Jaz said...

That is so sad! My dog got hit by a car and died instantly when I was about 12 years old and it broke my heart. It's funny how a dog can be like a best friend to a kid. It's funny how you feel like you KNOW them (despite the obvious language barrier lol).
I've never got a dog since, I just don't feel like it's worth it. It's good that you've managed to get another one though. I think it's kind of a rite of passage to have a dog and learn to love it and look after it, especially for children.
I love your blog btw! Interesting read.

Ahavah said...

You are much kinder than me... the maid would have been sacked instantly.

And as for the driver well - she would have got even shorter shrift!

Grief you ARE having a tough time of late aren't you?

Guess you can see..... (points to self) 'animal lover'.

I guess to me this all seems so horribly callus.

Lisa said...

Oh wow, to eat her own leg like that! Sister, she truly is much better off now. I can't even imagine what was going through her mind, and what kind of pain was involved. You did what you had to do.

I would be so mad at the maid, I really would! You are strong, just be brave for the kids, it must have been really hard for them to se her this way.

I think I'd find it hard to get another pet for a long time after seeing something like that! I love you, we're always here.

Pu├ža said...

I'm still crying when writting this. I loved my dog, but hopefully she lived up to 17 years old.

Last holidays in Marbella I went to watch Marley and me with my mother, and happened the same to us, we thought it was a happy movie, and although my yorkie passed away last summer, we both left the cinema crying.

It is just amazing the special relationship of a person with a dog. I use to call her my little sister, and the last years my baby (size)- grandma (age).

I have to do the second step, buying a new one. That shall help.

Is really hard loosing them. But they are worth every minute of their lives and that's why I know that although the pain I still feel sometimes, I'll have another one soon.

I still miss her a lot.