This content also appears on my original blog.
Yesterday was so surreal. I woke up feeling hopeful that someone would find “Jonny” and we could welcome him into our home. My first thoughts, when I saw him run away, were of overwhelming dread, but so many people were sharing his picture and I read many hopeful stories of dogs who were reunited with their people. Of course, most of those stories involved dogs who were already bonded. Jonny didn’t know us. He never got the chance to even meet us.
Just after I published yesterday’s post, Bill called up to me and said, “It’s over. They found him on the Autobahn.”
Because he had a microchip, the police were able to call the rescue organization who had sent him to us, and the adoption coordinator was the one to let us know he died. I also got a Facebook message from a woman who is in a club that tracks dead animals (there seems to be a club for everything in Germany). She had a chip reader and reported Jonny’s death to Tasso. She also informed me of Jonny’s death, after we were given the news by the rescue. She said we should call the police to give them our side of the story, since a car was damaged from hitting the dog.
A representative from the rescue asked us if we have liability insurance, although she made it clear that we weren’t going to be blamed for this. We do have insurance— plain liability insurance and pet liability insurance– but we never had the chance to add Jonny to the pet policy. Bill signed the contract less than twelve hours before the dog got to Wiesbaden, and the whole incident happened before we would have been able to call the insurance company to update the policy. So far, the rescue says they will handle the claims resulting from the accident. I imagine they will also go after the pet taxi driver and her company for restitution, since the dog wasn’t yet in our care when he escaped.
All day yesterday, I got private messages from German strangers and a few friends. The vast majority of people were kind and understanding, although there were a few people who blamed us. I even got a message from the lady who did our homecheck, asking for an explanation, which I was happy to give her. When there were doubts about our ability to care for our dogs, I sent pictures of Bill with Arran, a picture of a plaque I had made of our five dogs, and even the memorial videos I made for Zane and MacGregor. Most people, when they see Zane’s video, tear up. It consists of four minutes of photos taken of him in almost ten years of life with us. It’s obvious how much he was loved. I would have liked to have given the same kind of life to Jonny, if we’d only managed to get him through the door.
Think I don’t take care of my dogs? Think again.
I haven’t been totally grief stricken. I didn’t know Jonny. I guess I could describe what happened as akin to watching someone jump off a building. He was still a stranger to us when we saw him take his devastating last run. I knew in my gut that he would inevitably end up getting killed if we couldn’t catch him. But I was powerless to do much more than spread the word and wait. Even if we’d searched for him, we didn’t have a connection to where he might be. We simply didn’t know him other than what we saw in pictures and read in the description from the rescue.
We discovered that Jonny’s foster mom had tried to give the driver his harness and collar. For some reason, the driver said she had all she needed and she did not take the harness and collar Jonny had been using. But then she said the harness she had was too small and she didn’t have an appropriate collar. I don’t understand why she wouldn’t have just taken the equipment he had been using, since it obviously fit him. But then we also remembered that she said she’d been driving since 10:00am on Thursday morning and she was meeting us at 7:00am on Friday. I’m sure if what she says is true, she was exhausted and her judgment was adversely affected. She seemed stunned when Jonny took off. Bill said she didn’t seem to have a clue what to do.
The rescue did tell us that they’d let us adopt again at a later date… if we still want to get another dog. I look at Arran and see how good he is now. Maybe it would be better not to get another dog for the time being. But then, there are so many that need good homes, and I know we can provide that. As long as we manage to get the dog into the house.
Yesterday, I told Bill that I pictured our four departed dogs– C.C., Flea, MacGregor, and Zane– all meeting Jonny at the Rainbow Bridge. I can just visualize Flea, our most alpha and outspoken dog, saying, “WTF, man? You really blew it. They would have given you a wonderful home and you would have had a beautiful life.” And they’d all shake their heads at Jonny as they trotted off to go play in the green, rainbow filled pastures and crystalline streams.
We’re tired and heartsick. Arran has an upset stomach this morning and Bill and I haven’t really eaten much. At least, so far, we don’t feel sick from COVID-19, although we don’t have the results of Bill’s test yet, so we’re still quarantined. This has just been a horrible weekend all the way around, and the news just keeps getting worse as people worry about how to survive during this pandemic.