Acquired: Rescue / shelter organization
Training: Attended conferences / shows
Posted March 18, 2015
If anything can be called a 'miracle', what I am about to tell you would fit the bill. So many things had to go exactly right, conditions no less than perfect, for this not to end in disaster. You may think it is silly, but this event actually made me question my faith, or lack of.
Let me begin with my dog, Loki. Less than a year old at the time, and weighing perhaps 15 lbs, give or take a pound, he was a recent rescue. Back then, we were staying with a friend, in a relatively small property on the edge of a rather large, and busy, freeway.
Raising a terrier breed, especially a Jack Russell, near a busy road can easily end in disaster (and it certainly has, many times). Not only did we live off a busy road, but they don't get a lot busier than this. However, I didn't have much of a choice as far as locations at the time, and there was no one who would look after my beloved pet.
I am sure you can see where this is going.
Even though I was always very diligent with his training and whereabouts, one can't alter instinct. In any case, 'one faithful day', my friend was in a rush and must have forgot to shut the front door. Of course, where do you think the first place was Loki headed for? Well, as I am sure you guessed, it wasn't anywhere inside the house.
That being said, I promptly raced for the front yard, preying he didn't head for the road. Well, of course that wasn't the case- it took maybe a second for me to spot him, pacing back and forth, sniffing the ground at the other side of this wide road. My first thought was 'How the hell did he get there so fast', promptly followed by 'what do I do now?' Calling him to me, from the other side of a currently very large and busy road, wasn't an option. Crossing, during those few seconds, wasn't either. My buddy put an end to that question for me.
Well, he called out. This would be the only time in my life when I questioned my training methods; of course Loki was great with his recall, and knew exactly what to do. Living so near this deadly road, I made sure there was no question.
Now, the Border Collie is a sheep herding breed, believed to be the smartest dog breed in the world today- displaying a unique set of instincts finely tuned over generations for very specific purposes. All sheep herding breeds display a surprising intelligence, but Border Collies- with their intense focus, the 'crouch' they are known for, their natural ability to integrate as a unit to complete a task with little instruction- their simply is no equal. When it comes to their intended purpose, they are un-matched.
However, Loki is still just a dog. Parents possess a deathly fear their children will get hit by a car- they run out in front of them more often than not. Hell, even I did once. And they are humans, possessing the advanced capability of intellectual thought and reasoning. Though a titan among dogs, Loki lacked the tools to ask himself "Is this really the best thing to do"? He wanted that treat.
Victims involved in car accidents often speak of those last few seconds in terms of 'slow motion'. Believe it or not, this is very true; I can't fully explain it from a scientific standpoint, but those seconds seem to slow. Events become clearer, more focused. As far as I can explain, your mind has gone into 'fight or flight' mode. It can only be a survival mechanism, evolved into us through countless years. Anyway, things seemed to slow for me; colors perhaps seemed more intense, sounds sharper. It was agonizing, because there was absolutely nothing I could do.
The guy didn't even seem to slow down; stopping certainly didn't cross his mind. At maybe 70 mph, he made contact, and then he was gone. There was only my baby, lieing on his back, with his little legs pointed rigidly toward the sky.
Here comes the unbelievable part. A set of factors that had to occur exactly as they did, or he, a 15 lb. puppy, would not have been so fortunate. Honestly, what animal his size suffers a direct hit from a rapidly moving object hundreds of times it's body mass, and comes out of it with mere scratches? My Loki does.
So, upon inspection (after I had moved him from the middle of the road), he was a mess. Bleeding out of both eye sockets, a gradual but steady flow from his nose, and a nice gash on his left forelimb, appearing very disoriented, he was in a sorry state. Thinking it merciful, my buddy suggested going for the shovel, and told me to go inside.
I wasn't about to let that happen. We contacted the emergency vet, and took him in.
In any case, he wound up to have ruptured blood vessels near his eyes, a rather nasty, but otherwise minor, gash on one of his legs, and a muzzle the size of a Bull Terrier's (no joke; I have never seen swelling that bad before) for a week- but that was it. According to the vet, there was no fractures at all. He did develop a minor infection from licking at his stitches, but the help of an E-collar and antibiotics cured that.
Later on, I found the partial remains of a plastic hub-cap and half of perhaps a side flasher further down the road. The only way I can explain it- the vehicle must have swerved a tiny bit at the second of impact. The passenger side wheel must have struck him just right, tossing my little puppy off to the side. Even so, such a small animal taking out the thick plastic of a light housing with it's face... How did he manage to damage both the light housing, and the hub cap? Did his nose ricochet off one to the other? Had he been hit from a slightly different angle, either his head would have been smashed, or his neck broken. If those hub caps had been metal wheels, or even chrome... If I hadn't stopped my buddy from putting him down... As it stands, Loki still carries a shallow scar from that wound on his leg, but that is it.