A dog died in my car today

I was driving out to Botany to help Amy pick a new mobile phone. I have no idea why I even went back onto the Pakuranga Highway because it was definately taking the longest way possible. I'd been enjoying my day; one project finished, another on it's last few edits, a successful meeting and an invitation to coffee with my daughter.

The dog was a blur of cream shorthaired speed in front of my car. Ridge Road into Howick is busy at the best of times but at 3:30pm with all the schools let out and parents picking up, the traffic on the four lanes was getting heavy. The red van traveling in the opposite direction had breaked in the neighbouring lane - but not in time. The medium sized dog's hind quarters went under his front wheel.

The driver stopped but the dog yelped and kept moving, his back legs not working very well but continued at quite some speed along the footpath and disappeared into a driveway. I'm sure the driver couldn't see which driveway - he'd stopped, maybe looking in his rear mirror but wouldn't have seen where the dog went. Watching the whole thing, I didn't know what to do, thinking maybe the guy in the red van might get out and look for the dog. But when I checked my rear mirror, the van had gone.

I did a U-turn at the traffic lights and drove into the driveway I'd seen the dog disappear into. There were no signs of life in the house, the owners were obviously not home. I found the dog around the side of the house at the front step; she was obviously hurt. Her back legs facing one way, body twisted and front legs facing the other way. She was whimpering and was lying in a puddle of her own urine.

I really didn't know what to do. First thought I had was to leave a note for the owners saying I'd taken their dog. Going back to my car i abandoned that idea and spread a towel on the back seat so I could take her to the vet. She was a medium sized dog but I could only just lift her weight. I was really worried my moving her would cause her more pain. I actually expected her to make sounds, or struggle; growl at me mabye, or bare her teeth. But she didn't - I suppose she was in shock - her eyes looked glazed, she was panting and had a cut on her cheekbone - if dog's have cheekbones.

I lay her on the back seat. Her head lolled a little and I worried that I'd catch it when I shut the door but I didn't. She was panting, and making slight sounds. I figured that was a good sign, right? and she was warm - warm is good. I was talking to her, calling her "darling" and "sweetheart" and assuring her she was going to be all right. I jumped back into my car and went to the St Johns Lane Vet Clinic. Of course, every traffic light was red and the traffic was really heavy. It took about 10 minutes or so. I kept looking back to check she was still there, still breathing. I pulled up at the front door of the clinic and checked her before going inside for help carrying her in. She didn't look like she was breathing any more.

The Vet's nurse came straight out and worried for the first few moments that it was a dog she knew well. On closer inspection she was slightly relieved it wasn't. With that inspection came the news that the dog looked like it had died just a few minutes before.

We carried her inside using the towel as a sling and onto the Vet's table in the surgery. Yes, they said, she was definately dead. Checking her collar she had all the right registration tags and numbers, along with a silver disk with the name Whisky engraved in italics. They took my details, they asked me about the accident. I hoped they didn't think I'd done it and was making up a story - I don't even know why I thought that at the time. I asked if I could wash my hands - she was a very stinky dog and her smell was on my hands and arms, my clothes. I had a few smudges of blood on my shirt.

They entered her details in their computer for other clinics to see if and when someone phoned about the dog. I'd made note of the address I'd found her and they would deal with that. They thanked me and I inturn thanked them because I really hadn't known what to do. I went back to my car.

I can still smell her though I've showered and changed. I guess it's in my memory.