Well. Such a day. I hit a dog on the way home from the Rescue Ranch; that is about all that’s sticking in my mind at the moment. I have NO idea why they [my Guides] needed to hit me over the head with a two-by-four; what am I missing? I’ll have to wait a day or two to write about this, I think…too upsetting right now, and I can’t “hear” when I’m this upset. ….
What happened, as nearly as I can remember it:
I left the Rescue Ranch around three that afternoon, after a good day with horses and friends. It had started to rain slightly as I drove off, but I ran out from under the rain shortly after leaving.
A mile or two further, I saw a white dog—some bully breed mix, running down a long driveway toward the road. It looked to me like it was planning on chasing my car, so I slowed down from about 45 to around 40 mph, in order to give it lots of time to swerve and avoid me. But it got closer and closer without swerving, though it was looking right at me. I finally realized it was not going to stop, so I braked hard. There was virtually no shoulder—maybe a car-width—between the road and the ditch, so I couldn’t swerve to avoid the dog.
The damn thing, running full tilt and with its tongue lolling happily and LOOKING AT ME, ran right under my car. I heard and felt the breaking of its bones, the heavy thud of its body.
I was stunned. That innocent creature was alive one instant, dead the next, and I was responsible. Shock and disbelief rocketed through my brain. How could that have happened?! I killed a dog.
For an instant, I considered just driving away to avoid confronting a devastated owner. But I couldn’t do that, so I pulled off the road and stopped. I ran back to the dog, though it was obvious that it was quite, quite dead.
When I got there (avoiding getting hit myself!), I picked the creature up and half carried, half dragged it off the road and into the grass at the edge of the driveway. It was heavy—maybe 40 pounds or so, too heavy for me to carry up the long hill to the house and buildings at the top of the drive. The only visible marks on its body were a long smudge of road dirt and a trickle of blood from its mouth, but it was lifeless in my arms, its neck obviously broken and untold damage done to its body.
I left it there and ran up to the house.
A man was standing on the porch watching me. I was crying, saying, “I’m so sorry!” over and over.
“There was nothing you could have done,” he said. “My wife and I saw it happen. The dog doesn’t belong around here.”
“I’m so sorry! It ran right under my car!”
“There was nothing you could have done. Now go on back to your car. You’ve been upset enough.” He was matter-of-fact, not unkind at all, but without any emotion I could sense. That didn’t seem odd at the time, though it does, a little bit, looking back on it.
I walked back down the hill, drenched in tears, and stopped for a minute to kneel beside the dog’s body. It was a young female—not a puppy, but a young dog, well fed and fit. The pink plaid collar she was wearing indicated that she was someone’s pet. I thanked her for her short life, and promised to try to understand the lesson…whatever the lesson was. I certainly had no idea what this encounter could possibly signify.
Driving slowly away, I tried to understand. It wasn’t the dog’s death in itself that bothered me. The dog had died instantly, I have no doubt, thank God! My sense of it is that the dog was dead even before its brain had time to register anything but surprise. I feel like it bounced once in this world, bounced again on the Other Side, and got up still running happily. My Guides are precise. It wasn’t guilt they were trying to instill, but some other meaning. Or so I imagine, though I still do not fully understand—and it’s my lack of understanding that haunts me.
What bothered me then, and still bothers me now, is why was such a violent, shocking event necessary? What am I missing? What have I missed so consistently that this was necessary?
Some might ask why I assume it “meant” anything at all. Every driver hits something or other during her or his driving lifetime. Birds, squirrels, turtles, deer, snakes, whatever—we’ve ALL perpetrated that kind of carnage. But I live my life in the knowledge that we are all intimately connected, and that every event in our lives is resonant and interconnected. In my worldview, there is meaning in everything that happens. So it’s not that I’m suggesting this event was orchestrated for my benefit. Rather, in my worldview, there is/was a resonance that “attracted” the beings who were involved: the dog, the man on the porch, me, the dog’s owners…. There is meaning for all of us, though that meaning will be different for each one.
I wept and puzzled all the way home. “There was nothing you could have done.” The owners of that white dog failed in their responsibility to her by letting her get loose; I was also responsible, to some extent, for failing to anticipate that the dog might not stop in time. But the message to me at that point—I kept hearing it in my head—seemed to be that some things cannot be prevented. Choices are made by all of us, and the result of that constellation of choices becomes reality. There was nothing anyone could have done.
I stopped at a convenience store on the way home to recover a little and get something to drink. I walked into the store and was trying to decide if I needed something to eat—if I could keep anything down…. Behind me, someone said, loudly and clearly, “I have your dog.” I nearly jumped out of my skin. No, wait: HOT dog. I turned around to see that the woman was talking to her husband. “I’ve got your HOT dog.”
Then when I got back to my car, an SUV had parked next to me, on the driver’s side. And there, eyeball-to-eyeball, was…you guessed it, a dog, happily panting and watching for its owner to return. Thank goodness it was a retriever of some sort. If it had been a pit bull, I might have passed out. As I said, my Guides are precise.
So the rest of the drive home, I pondered and cried and pondered some more. “Why was such a violent, shocking event necessary? What am I missing? What have I missed so consistently that this was necessary?”
Over the past decade or so, I’ve gotten pretty darn good about finding the meaning in events, or if not “the” meaning, then at least meaning enough to help me along my path. More recently, I’ve really taken to heart the fact that I can’t “fix” a lot of things that I’d really like to be able to. I thought about a lot of examples as I drove.
Before going home, I stopped at the barn to feed my horses. Their energy helped me calm down, but got me no closer to an understanding. That night I didn’t sleep much, but nothing emerged from my frantic questioning or from my dreams once I finally drifted off.
The question still reverberates in my head: “Why was such a violent, shocking event necessary? What am I missing? What have I missed so consistently that this was necessary for me to experience?”
Two years later, after much soul-searching, I’m finally beginning to understand at least part of the message; I’ll explain that in another post.