Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Hard Lesson To Learn

As I was driving home from the dog groomers on Saturday morning, I witnessed a horrible sight that I hope I never see again.

As I passed an intersection, there was a pickup truck at the stop sign waiting to turn left. Hanging from the side of the pickup truck's bed was a dog strangling to death with a leash around its neck.

The dog, a springer spaniel, had either jumped or fallen from the bed of the truck. The owners had apparently attached a leash to the collars of their two dogs in the back of the truck in an effort to keep them restrained.

As I passed the interesection, a man in a car behind the pickup raced over and lifted up the dog. He had apparently been trying to get the owners' attention for two miles.

I immediately turned around and parked at a nearby conveinience store. My veterinarian lived only a short distance away and, as a large animal vet, is willing to make some housecalls. I thought if there was any hope of saving this dog, he may be willing to come to the scene.

Fortunately, the woman who owned the dog is a nurse and was giving her dog CPR as I arrived. The dog began breathing on his own and regained consciousness.

The poor thing had some very serious scrapes and lacerations on his flanks from being dragged, and brain damage is certainly a possibility from being oxygen-deprived. But the ending of this story could be much worse.

It took me hours to get the image of that poor dog hanging by its neck out of my mind. I was actually shaking when I got home with my own beloved dog.

I always cringe at the sight of dogs in the back of pickup trucks. If the driver slams on the brakes, those poor animals will go flying out of the back. I have always said I would never put a dog any place in a vehicle I would not put a child.

Although these people made some attempt to make sure their dogs were safe, these efforts were obviously misguided by having too long a leash and restraining them around the neck. Even if the dog had been in a harness, he probably still would have suffered road rash.

I hope that anyone who witnessed that awful incident or reads this will think twice before placing a dog in the back of a pickup truck. It is a harsh way to learn a lesson, for both the owner and the dog.

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