feeling a heart stop beating
driving home on MLK blvd in seattle last night (busy street) i saw something odd. there was a cone in the median, a small orange blob next to it and a group of people looking at it from the side of the road. as i drove closer i saw the orange blob was a dog. this little guy had been hit by a car and people were watching.
i pulled over ran into the median and asked the crowd ‘is this anyone’s dog?’ everyone shook their head mumbled, looked shocked, sad confused, overwhelmed, paralyzed.
i crouched down, threw my coat to the side and pet the little guy. he was still alive and breathing strangely. occasionally and mechanically it looked like he was trying to vomit, release something very painful from inside. i pet him, stroked his soft sweet orange fur and called 911. they told me to call some animal hot line number. i called the number, went though about 7 automated prompt numbers, listening for an option for an emergency. all i heard was how to pay for a license… how to turn in a stray dog… not dial 8 for ‘how to save one’. tried to override by pressing 0, back to ‘for licensing dial 1’ (something like that).
i called 911 back again. ‘ please help me.’ i told her do not tell me to call that number.
‘this dog is dying and i think we can save him if we just knew where to go.’
i was put on hold, she came back ‘are you still there?’
my hand was on his heart, i felt it beating but slowly. he was is shock and i guessed going into a coma.
‘yes i am still here, the dogs heart is till beating but slowly’…
‘hold on… ‘ back on hold.
i was petting the dog telling him its ok. someone else came by and covered him with a sweatshirt to keep him warm. i was telling the doggie ‘it’s ok.’ i tried.. i tried so hard to concentrate, breath deeply and send life energy into this little critter. i tried so hard… ‘it’s ok to die’….
‘are you still there?’
‘the dogs heart just stopped beating. he just died… now, can you help me. now what do i do with this dead dog?’
her voice became very soft and slow. ‘take him to the side of the road.’
‘i can’t just leave a dog on the side of the road. where do i take this dog? what do i do with this dead dog?’
‘take him to the side of the road.’
‘ok. thank you.’
i know she was trying to help. how frustrating. this little guy. now dead. i have never felt a heart stop beating before. just naturally watch and feel life leave a body and go somewhere else. leaving this shell, this body behind. leaving behind memories, soft sweet orange fur, cute little paws, a fresh, deep gash across his head, sadness and then stillness. i was so glad he was warm and receiving love from me and a guy that also stopped to help. at least this cute little amber furball wasn’t alone when he died. (ozzie, we found out his name. the owners roommate came out when the police finally showed up, the roommate saw the flashing police lights).
stopping to help. seeing something is wrong, stopping what one is doing and trying to help. I was not able to save ozzie’s life. He didn’t have any dog tags, was hit by a car and injured badly, ready to to. It breaks me heart that whoever hit him didn’t stop to help. it breaks my heart that a crowd of people just watched… on cell phones (who were they calling?), not calling the 911 (i asked) just unable to act. it’s not a blame thing or a wrong thing, its a collective conscious thing. why, when i called the animal-whatever-number given to me by 911 was there no option for emergency, just options to collect money for pet license, ways to report and turn in stray dogs, bureaucracy and logistics. no service for this animal, this situation. why couldn’t there be an option for an emergency? maybe ozzie’s heart would still be beating.
why as a culture don’t more people stop and help? why are people afraid to get involved? was is the fear? how did that start? why do we separate ourselves from life itself? where does it come from? I was about the 12th person on the scene, so 11 people were watching in disbelieve, sad, scared, but not doing anything. not calling the police. why?
feeling a heart stop beating is something one does not forget. it is startling, very sad and a wake up call once again for me, of how precious and fragile life is. How it is a gift and totally interdependent. I tried to help him and i realized halfway though this experience that all i could do was be with ozzie. be with him as he died. hold him, pet him, tell him it’s ok. it’s ok to die. all i could do was love this beautiful precious little creature and help him realize that he is not alone. none of us are alone, and we really do need each other to help… and be… with us.