One Floppy Ear
I saw him come onto my side of the street across five lanes of traffic, momentarily and thankfully empty, as I walked towards my bus stop. He couldn’t be more than six months old, big feet, on ear still floppy, the other perked up, tongue lolling out. He looked like a German Shepard, but in this neighborhood, who knows. No collar, of course. Such a beautiful puppy, I was thinking. Then he turned around.
“NO!” I screamed, covering my mouth with my hands, squeezing my eyes shut, but only after I’d seem him get hit by the little red pickup truck. What a sickening thunk. Totally different from hitting a garbage can or a curb.
I heard the squealing, pain-filled yelps and opened my eyes again quickly, searching.
The truck hadn’t stopped and at first I looked there, but no, he was limping quickly to the other side of the road between the slowed traffic. He made it to the other side and lay down in the drive of the trailer park, looking so sad and hurt. A loose Rottweiler sniffed him, but otherwise left him alone. Maybe that’s where he’d come from and for a moment I was very mad at those people.
The Asian man walking towards me on the same sidewalk shook his head sadly and kept walking. Traffic continued. No one stopped.
I pulled out my phone and called the San Gabriel Humane Society, whose prerecorded message told me to call the police. I kept walking slowly, reluctantly, in the direction of my bus stop as I looked up the number. South El Monte doesn’t have police, so I called the Los Angeles County Sheriff. The lady there directed me to the Temple City Police. I sat on a stoop to write the number on my hand. After a few brief questions, Temple City said they’d send animal control to the address I gave for the trailer park. It makes me even sadder to think that means the poor puppy will probably be picked up and euthanized. I picked myself up heavily and kept walking.
Did I do the right thing? I don’t think so. Did I do the smart thing? Probably. If I’d had a car and any money at all, I’d have gone straight after the little guy and took him to the vet myself. And after they’d put him back together, if they could, I’d either have a dog or move heaven and high water to find him a good home. That was the right thing to do. But I didn’t do it.
Such a beautiful puppy. One floppy ear.
I’m sad and angry and sick.
The people in my neighborhood aren’t the most well off, but why do they have to be so irresponsible? I see strays every single day, most of them too wary and afraid to approach. Dogs and cats, old and brand new, beautiful and filthy. I see them dead by the side of the road, in the road. I honked at two dogs in the middle of the Rio Hondo bridge the other day, trying with my little moped’s horn (which sounds like a strangled duck) to scare them off. They made it back to the sidewalk in time.
This one didn’t. I’m so sad. So sad. I keep picturing that one floppy ear.