New Piece and a Sad Story

The Coheed and Cambria show was great, and I wrote a review, with some narrative elements, which you can find here: Coheed and Cambria Concert Review.  There were a couple of moments I didn’t put in the piece. For instance, when Heron and I were sitting up on the loft, waiting for the show to begin, Coheed and Cambria were waiting in the room next to us.  They were banging on a tambourine, rapping, and repeating “Waka Flocka.”  At least, that’s what it sounded like.  They were just having a good time, and it’s cool to know that a band who has been around forever are still enjoying their lives.

But so onto the sad story.  Here’s your last chance to walk away.  I’m warning you.

Photo Taken By Denise Lanier

My friend, Denise Lanier, who writes at Wonky Woman on a Bent Bike about her adventures with a recumbent bike, stopped by with her dog Luke.  So we went down to Rosie’s Dog Beach, and we were throwing the ball into the ocean, and Luke was lunging out into the waves, as if nothing was going to stop him.  Hendrix, my dog, is still a bit nervous of the waves, so he just kind of watched.

So we played for a few hours, and as the sun set over the Port of Long Beach, the Queen Mary became nothing but a shadow.  We walked towards our car with two soaking wet dogs.

That’s when we heard the crash.  It sounded like two cars colliding into each other.  (This is really your last chance…)
I imagined the bursting of plastic and aluminum.  So I looked at Heron, and she gave me the nod, and I ran across the parking lot to the wall overlooking the street, and I expected to see two cars smashed up and two frustrated drivers scratching their heads and exchanging insurance information.

But over the wall, I saw a black great Dane laying on the ground.  A group of people were standing around the dog, and a woman was stepping out of a beige Mini Cooper.  Her bumper was on the ground in front of the car.

“Heron,” I yelled back towards the car.  “It’s a dog.”

So Heron put Hendrix in the car, and she ran over.   We booked it down the stairs and ran into the road.  The group of people were just standing around the dog — even the owner — staring as if the dog was a television playing some horrendously mind numbing show.

Heron, having medical experience, ran up to the dog and asked what happened.

“He was hit from the side,” a woman said.

“What do we do?” I asked.

Heron sat down and started to compress the dog’s chest on the side of his ribs.

“Should we give mouth-to-mouth?” a woman asked.

Heron nodded as she compressed the dog’s chest.

“He’s going to be okay,” I said.  “Let’s do something.”

The dog’s owner, a quiet and surprisingly calm man, opened up the dog’s mouth.  His gums were blue, and his tongue was limp.

“He’s going to make it,” I said.

“I can feel a pulse,” Heron said.

I took over for Heron, and I started to compress the chest, refusing to give up.  The owner was cupping his hands over the dog’s nose and blowing into his mouth.  A woman stopped in her car and asked us if we needed her to call an ambulance.

Instinctively, I told her somebody had already called.  I asked one of the members of the group when they called the ambulance, and no one had even called yet.  I yelled at them to make the call.  Then Denise, from the parking lot, said she was on the phone, too.

I couldn’t believe no one from the group had even called an ambulance.  I wouldn’t give up on that dog; I thought for sure he was going to make it.  I thought for sure he was going to wake up.

That’s when the dog’s owner opened his mouth again.  The lips were still blue, the tongue limp, the eyes glazed.  The owner wanted to give up.

“He’s going to make,” I said.

I continued to compress.  Heron switched to take the dog’s pulse, and she realized he was dead.

“Are you sure?” I said.  “We can’t give up.”

The dog’s owner had already quit.  In fact, he looked like he had given up as soon as I had arrived.  I just couldn’t understand that.  If that dog on the road was Hendrix, the paramedics would have had to drag me off of my dog.  But I guess it’s important to keep in my mind that everyone reacts differently to death.  I just can’t imagine giving in without a tremendous fight.  If I’m ever dying and you’re around, don’t quit on me.  Go until you can’t go no more.

So we walked away and headed back towards our car in the parking lot.  Heron kind of pushed me along, because it was getting obvious, even to me, that the owner was just ready to move on.  Ready to accept the reality of the situation.

I watched the paramedics arrive, and they were in no hurry to help.  I thought maybe they would help, but they seemed to know the dog was dead, too.  I watched the owner pick up his dog.  A blanket covering his body, and the dog was limp.

I walked back to the car, where Denise, Luke, and Hendrix were waiting, and I just kept staring off into the horizon.  The Port of Long Beach, the cranes, the waves, the pier.  Time passing.

2 thoughts on “New Piece and a Sad Story”

  1. That evening at the beach was so wonderful, and then so awful. I keep wondering if the dog who died was there romping on the sand with our dogs earlier, further down the beach, and we just didn’t notice him. I keep wondering what the dog’s name was; it really bothers me that his owner never said his name.

    Like you, Joe, if I’m ever slipping away from this life I want to be fought for. I also want those who love me to say my name. I think a name being voiced by someone who loves that person (or creature) can be like a live wire, a connection, a current of energy that flows both ways. If it had been Luke lying on the ground I would’ve said his name. ” Luke, come on, boy. Luke!” I would’ve whispered it and hollered it, over and over – commanding, pleading. I would’ve thrown his name out like a lifeline, praying he’d grab on. I want to believe he could’ve followed the love in my voice all the way back to me.

  2. Hi Denise,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the incident. I didn’t think about whether he was at the beach or not. That’s a sad thought to think he was playing with Hendrix and Luke. From the way he was heading, it’s safe to think, maybe, he was walking towards the beach. Maybe that makes us feel better. I don’t know. And you know, I never thought about the dog’s name. That’s really interesting that he never even said his name. I didn’t even think about it.

    You’re right; I hope someone says my name, too. There is something to that. Almost like something out of a great drama. Or a great revenge tragedy. Thanks for reading and commenting.


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