A few days before Christmas I was driving between client offices and noticed a woman standing over a dog nearly in the middle of the street. I made a quick U-turn, parked in a no-parking zone, and asked “What can I do to help?” as I walked toward her and the dog. She had a blanket over him (a German Shepard). He had been hit by a truck that didn’t bother to stop. There was blood under his head and his breathing was labored. The woman said the owner was on the way. I knelt down and started petting him. Seconds later another person stopped and then another blocked the road with her car to keep us safe. Within about a minute the owner could be seen running toward the scene and then jumped in his car and parked as close as he could (about half a block away).
The small group of us had already determined that the best and closest place to go was Webster Groves Animal Hospital which I had been to for the first time just a few nights before due to an eye issue for our Golden Doodle (some eye drops quickly cleared it up). As the dog owner approached I said “Give me your car keys and I’ll back your car up”. Without hesitation he handed me (a perfect stranger to him) his car keys and said “Thanks”. I backed his car and got as close to the group as possible.
As the dog’s owner and I put him into the car one of the small group spread disposable medical scrubs onto the back seat. The owner drove away and I called the animal hospital to give them a heads up and returned to the group as a police officer was gathering facts for his report. As I put my hands in my pockets I realized I had the dog owner’s car keys which I must have placed there out of habit. I gave the officer my name and phone number in case the owner contacted the police department and then headed to the animal hospital where I thankfully found him in the parking lot. I apologized for “stealing” his car keys. He thanked me for bringing them and helping him. We shook hands (something people aren’t doing much these days). As I walked away, I turned to see his wife get out of her car and give him a hug.
I went about my work day but couldn’t get my mind off of the German Shepherd. At about 4 PM I called the animal hospital and left a message. To my surprise I got a call back about 20 minutes later. They were very concerned when the dog arrived but he got better throughout the day and thought he was going to be fine. Apparently, HIPPA privacy rules don’t apply to dogs!
So why is this story important? Well, maybe it’s not. But after just finishing a year that seemed to be filled with little other than the divisiveness, it was nice to see a group of strangers come together and focus on the immediate need of an animal in distress. No one asked about politics or worried about themselves. Instead, a small group put everything else aside.
There’s a lesson in this story for all of us. When people are focused on something more important on themselves they tend to work together. Give that some thought as you set your priorities throughout the year.
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