June 06, 2012

A Very Sad Day in Our Neck of the Woods

I had a post almost ready to put up yesterday, I was in the final editing and tweaking process... and then something terrible happened - our beloved family dog, Jack, was struck and killed by a vehicle outside our yard yesterday afternoon.

The kids and I were getting ready to go for a walk, and I had just ran inside the house for a minute to grab our sunscreen, when I heard my neighbour shouting for me.  When I got outside, the poor guy had been struck, and had managed to crawl about 10 feet back to our lawn before collapsing.  I immediately called my husband at work, and he left right away to come home.  I stayed by Jack's side until he passed... unfortunately Mike didn't make it in time.

The woman who hit him was driving up our road, preparing to pick her grandson up from school (the elementary school is right across the street from us), and - I'm assuming - my daughter threw his ball and it bounced into the road, at just the wrong moment.  The ball was on the other side of the road when I got outside.

Gratefully, since Ruby is only just 3 years old, she doesn't really comprehend what she saw.  My neighbours were awesome enough to take her inside and away from the scene.  She has been asking questions since, which we have been answering honestly (though painfully!) and she seems to be taking things well, though, as her first experience with death, I imagine she just doesn't understand the whole concept of it. 

Jack was a gift to me from my hubby on my 25th birthday, exactly three months before we got married.  I always joked that it was a birthday present to himself, because I'd never mentioned wanting a dog, and it was pretty clear right from the beginning that they were two peas in a pod.  Jack was a Border Collie mix, and was just four months old when we got him.  Everywhere Mike went, Jack went. 

Jack was a total frisbee dog.  He'd chase frisbees all day, doing flips and backflips in the air, showing off.  And he'd chase balls, sticks, you name it.  He was so focused on his 'catching mission' that he'd literally make himself sick before he stopped for a rest!

Shortly after we got married, Mike got really sick and had to take almost a full year off work to recover.  I had to take over all the financial burden of the house, which meant working looooots of long hours and really late nights (I was the manager of a Bar and Pool Hall at the time), and of course, I was constantly worried about leaving Mike alone.  Emotionally, Mike was a wreck.  But after I left for work, Jack would jump on our bed, and literally not leave Mike's side the entire day... not even to eat or go pee.  He'd wait until I got home, and then he knew he was off the clock and I would take over.  That's when the two of them really bonded. 

Then along came Ruby... when I was pregnant we were naturally concerned about how Jack would react to the new baby.  We really shouldn't have worried at all - he welcomed that baby like it was his own.  As soon as Ruby could start moving and interacting with him, they were best pals.  He was incredibly protective of her.   And her first word, after Mama and Dada, was 'Dog.'

Jack was the type of dog that all the neighbourhood kids just loved.  Because he knew all the tricks - shake a paw, roll over, high five, etc - and he would chase a ball/frisbee/stick and return it right to their feet, and also because he was just so gentle and smart. 

We're still reeling from it... honestly I never thought I'd be so emotional over losing a dog.  I grew up on a farm, where I loved and appreciated animals, but didn't get so emotionally attached to them.  But after living with this guy for over 6 years, and going through all the ups and downs we've experienced since we got him, he was really like one of the family.  As Mike put it, "he was the one constant thing we had through all the crap."

I'm not going to go into detail, but the extent of his injuries are a pretty strong indication that the driver was speeding.  Which upsets me in a whole other way, because like I mentioned at the beginning, we live across the street from an elementary school - which means the speed limit should be a maximum of 30 km/hr.  This happened just after school had let out, and there were children all over the sides of the street, walking home from school.  I just thank God that luckily it wasn't a child that was injured.

We did make a statement to the police, more for them to be aware of the incident and to report the speeding (this has been a problem on our road for a while). 

Even though his death was totally unexpected and senseless, we're not angry.  We are upset, but not mad.  I know the driver didn't intend to kill our dog, and I know that without his ball bouncing out of the yard, he never would have gone onto the road.  It was just one of those freak accidents.  One that may have been avoided if the driver had been driving more slowly, or if I had been outside at that split second to watch where he was or where he was going... but really, it's not a 'what-if' game.  

Mike took him and buried him in a special spot - a secluded little place at the end of a rural road, where the two of them would drive to, alone, to have a swim, chase frisbees, and just chill out, when Mike would get stressed from work. 

We've already decided that we're going to get another dog, after we wait long enough to get over Jackie's death.  Mike wants to get another pup from the woman who bred Jack's litter.  Though we're going to be hard-pressed to find another dog with the same amazing temperament!

So, goodbye old pal!  You will be missed greatly, loved dearly, and remembered very very fondly.


  1. Aw, Kristy, I'm SO sorry to hear about this. It sounds like you are taking is as best as you can, but I'm still sending you my very best wishes and warm thoughts that your hearts will heal very quickly.

  2. I am so sorry. We always had border collies as pets, and they really are a special breed. Jack was obviously very special. My condolences...

  3. I am so very sorry!! It is never easy to lose a pet. It is like losing a family member.

  4. This was a lovely tribute to Jack. Our whole family misses him. If I can help out in any way, I will

  5. This was a lovely tribute to Jack. Our whole family misses him. If I can help out in any way, I will

  6. Lovely tribute Kristy. Jack was a fine dog because he had a fine family that loved and appreciated him for exactly who he was.

  7. Oh, I'm so sorry! I'm not even an animal person and I'm crying just reading about what an integral part of your life, your family, he was.


  8. I just read your post on this and I am so sorry to read this awful news. I am heartsick for you and your family.

    He was an awesome dog and his regular patrols of the Kagawong beach kept the birds away and the beach clean for all the people who used it. What was the lady thinking of speeding in a school zone. I was always paranoid driving on that street with all the kids around. I hope this fall the police will patrol it a little bit more to keep it safe.



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