Happy New Year!

Roo.

If only to send a message to the remainder of the country, California should vote to secede from the Union. Not that it could ever happen–and its certainly not something I would ever truly wish for–but this would be a shot across the bow of the 49 other states: California is rowing an aircraft carrier called The Future. And we are tired of dragging your obstinate posterior into it. We are weary of being hard at the oars while you try to relitigate or repeal settled law.

Oh, I had a fine tirade all lined up–and was practically licking my lips at its prospect over this keyboard.

And then in broad daylight some poor deformity of a human being hit our son’s dog on Road 216 in Exeter, knocking the stuffing out of me. Because–without so much as stopping to check–he killed the dog.

The dog’s name was Roo. When our son found him outside his door one morning last year, the dog was rail thin, all eyes, terrified–and jumpy as a kangaroo.

We gave him a family, and he knew he was loved.

More accurately, the driver of the white work truck did not actually kill Roo. We did. We had to put him down. The driver of the white work truck, who resides on the west side of Road 216–and I’m tempted to publish his address here as a public safety precaution–merely crushed Roo’s chest cavity.

I wonder where he was going in such a hurry on New Year’s Eve, long before any festivities began.

I’ve run over a dog before. It’s a terrifying experience–you certainly know when you’ve done it–and I can never be convinced that the driver was unaware of what he had done. When you know kids and/or dogs are in the road, you decelerate. It seems to me that in some crotchety fit of pique this “man” ran Roo down. Why else not stop to check on his condition?

I say a “fit of pique” because this “man,” this work truck driving resident of Road 216 in Exeter, knew Roo. Not only that, he knew Roo was there. He saw my wife and knew she was there walking Roo. But Roo was incredibly irritating. He was a Shepherd mix, a huge dog wont to leaping affectionately into everyone’s arms, and still much of a puppy at approximately two years old.

His crime was that he was too friendly–exuberantly so–and his sentence was a mashed thoracic cavity beneath a set of rear wheels.

Happy New Year!

What this “person” took from our Earth was a terrifically sweet-natured creature. I can’t say he was good with people because he would bowl everyone over–even toddlers–in his eagerness to show his affection. He could not contain himself.

He didn’t bark, and he didn’t bite. He wagged his tail. A lot. And he was said to smile. He had a very expressive face. It’s true he was too rambunctious, that he would jump the backyard fence and torpedo through the neighborhood. It’s true, too, that he was often underfoot.

But it’s also true that he didn’t deserve such a grisly demise in what seems to me an act of depraved indifference.

I will always remember his kindly furrowed brow, his embrace and exuberance. These are good qualities in a dog. Good qualities in a human, too.

If you can find them.

Use your voice

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