The following story was sent to me from my friend and business partner, Mark Graydon:
On Wednesday evening around 6.30pm, I was driving home from a bar tending shift at Wolff’s Biergarten. My Mum and Dad are visiting from England to meet their new Grandchildren (my Twin boys Leo & Charlie), and my wife Greta and I thought it was time to introduce them to Stewarts ice cream, so I planned to pick some up before heading home.
I took the Slingerlands exit off I-90 and took the exit up to the Campus Access Circle around the Harriman State Office buildings. It’s a 40 mph zone and I was driving about 35 mph coming around the first corner. Out of the small, grass and tree area on the left, a dog ran straight into the road. I broke hard and swerved from the left lane into the center lane but devastatingly still hit the dog.
I almost burst into tears, as the realization of what had happened flooded over me instantly, and I turned into the car park on the right, jumped out of my car and sprinted over to the road. I saw an older gentlemen crouching over the motionless dog and all I could say was “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry”. The older gentlemen stood up and very quietly, and obviously devastated just said “No, I’m sorry, I only let him off his leash for a moment and he chased a squirrel, I can’t believe this happened. I shouted for him to stop………” and he started apologizing to the dog, which was a Yellow Labrador Pup of about 1 year or younger, who had died instantly on impact. I was crying uncontrollably now because I have a 12 year old Yellow Lab myself, and seeing this man apologizing to the Pup was just too much to take in.
I ran back to my car to see if I had a blanket or sheet, but didn’t, and when I ran back to the man he was still crouching over the dog apologizing. It was so heartfelt and the man was in shock so I just tried to sort myself out for him and said we have to get your dog out of the road, and we carried him over to the grassy area on the left, under the trees. And this is really the first time that I have properly looked at the dog, and he was so peaceful, but that just made my heart break even more knowing that this terrible situation didn’t have to happen and this dog could live a long happy life. I offered to stay with the man, but he said he will call his family and it just felt like he just wanted to have these last moment with his dog alone.
I wish now that I had asked the man his name and especially the name of his dog as I don’t like just referring to him as simply “dog” or “pup”, as he wasn’t just a “dog” or “pup”, so I apologize for doing his memory a disservice here. This is without doubt one of the saddest moments of my life and it wasn’t my dog and I don’t know this man at all, but I have had both cats or dog in my family for as long as I can remember and they ARE family, not just ‘pets’, so this incident will always live with me. I know the man felt inconsolable and my thoughts are with him and his family.
I feel obligated to tell this story as it might make us all think when we let our dogs off the leash. I am certainly not here to preach or judge, as everyday I walk my dog, Honey Graydon, and she will start pulling when we near our house, so I let her off the leash to run past the last couple of houses to ours, where she stands proud at the front door waiting for me. I will not do this again.
This accident is a terrible reminder of how easy it is for something so tragic to happen.