Sue would later comment on how I knew something was wrong right away…

It was similar for me.

Halloween 2017, and I had just gotten back from an academic (read: nerd) party on campus. I don’t usually go to parties, but I had made some friends for once over the course of that year, and I decided to get out and make an effort.

I had been gone all day, and no one from my family had let the dogs out while I was gone. So I let them out to go do their business as soon as I got in the door. I frequently let them out unsupervised, without worry. They both knew to stay out of the road. They were both afraid of cars.

I walked straight to my bedroom and started getting undressed. Outside the window, I heard the throaty roar of a large truck. It stopped outside the house and idled for a moment or two.

And that’s when I had the moment of premonition. I knew one of my dogs was gone. The only question was which one.

I was already headed back up the hall when I heard the horn honking outside. I went to the door and a man yelled out his window, confirming my fear. He’d just hit one of my dogs.

What was she doing in the road? I wondered. The man answered as if he’d heard my thoughts. They’d been chasing a rabbit. He’d seen both dogs dart in front of his truck and was afraid he had hit both of them.

The guy’s truck was a monster. The biggest model Ford makes, jacked up on huge tires, big rumbling diesel motor. I was dreading seeing what that behemoth had done to my poor dog.

Thankfully, like your Nahanzee, there were only internal injuries. Recently, a deer was hit in front of our house, in near the same spot. That was a mess. It’s chest cavity split open and there was gore everywhere. I’m thankful I didn’t have to see Penny like that. I think it would have broken something inside me, even more than I already was.

I dragged Penny out of the road and onto the grass, and went looking for Sophie. I was shaking from the adrenaline and from what was probably a panic attack. I was terrified I would find her lying in the ditch on the other side of the road with a shattered pelvis. But I couldn’t find her anywhere.

I went back to the house to get a blanket to wrap Penny in, and there was Sophie, cowering on the front porch. It had happened in a split second, but still she knew. She was shaking, head lowered, tail tucked, traumatized.

The next few days were filled with ifs. If I hadn’t gone to the party. If someone had let the dogs out earlier in the evening. If the guy hadn’t been speeding.

That last one is what my family focused on. They were angry. I wasn’t angry — I was hollow.

And speeding or not, I was thankful that the guy stopped and let me know what had happened. It might seem like nothing, but it gave me a few seconds to prepare myself. That matters.

It took some time, but Sophie is okay now. She still has mild panic attacks around cars, but that might actually be a good thing.

Nahanzee sounds like a great dog. I can tell you loved her very much. My condolences.

Writer.

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