The Dog Who Crossed the Road

October 14, 2011 | By | Comments (8)

Last weekend, I saw something that scared and then angered me. An adorable dog had wandered out of his house and onto a country road. A car had nearly hit him, and had we been driving more quickly, we might have done the same.

We stopped the car and I did something out of the ordinary for me. I walked up a stranger’s driveway, calling, “Hello? Anyone home?” (I meant this in a straightforward sense, though in retrospect, this had a double meaning.) The front door of the house was completely ajar, and just beyond it, I saw a man, two young children, and a second small dog. The man seemed rather blasé to me. “Oh, did he run out of the house again?” he asked. Indignantly I responded, “Yes, and he could have been hit by a car! Please. Make sure he comes inside and that this doesn’t happen.” He thanked me and I walked away, muttering under my breath about his inexcusable behavior.

Countless cats and dogs are killed each year, for the simple reason that they have wandered onto the road. This is just heartbreaking when you realize how easily it might have been avoided.

Acquaintances have told me that their dog doesn’t need a leash, that their dog would never leave their side. What a gamble to take. I can’t say the same. All our dog would need to spot would be his neighborhood nemesis or a deer in the country, and he wouldn’t hesitate to sprint across the road. Of this I have no doubt.

CBS video of dog risking life to rescue another dog

CBS video of a hero dog in Santiago, Chile

On a more heartwarming note, sometimes an animal who has landed in a dangerous place can benefit from “the kindness of strangers.” I am as suspicious of the ubiquitous forward or YouTube video as the next person — can it be so? could the camera lie? — but I feel I must share this extraordinary video that has been making the rounds of cyberspace once more. It takes place in Santiago, Chile, several years ago, where a dog gets hit by a car, and is dragged to safety by…another dog. Unfortunately, according to the Associated Press, the dog who had been hit on the highway did not survive, nor was the apparently homeless hero dog located, though that doesn’t make the rescue any less amazing.

What do you think of this video? And what steps do you take to ensure that your pets don’t run away and into harm’s way?

P.S. Halloween’s around the corner, and that means you’ll be opening and closing your front door to welcome trick-or-treaters. So stay extra attentive and make sure there is no chance for your pet to escape. Visit the website of the North Shore Animal League America for more Halloween pet safety tips.