Weekly Post Challenge: “Broken”

Dogs in street photography

The Old Dog

They were slowly crossing the street, and just as they were about to get to the other side, the girl’s little buddy just collapsed there and refused to go any further. She coaxed and pleaded but it was to no avail.

The amount of grey in the poor thing’s hair told the tale. The dog was far from being a pup, and the girl was destined to continue the journey without her lifelong friend being able to by its own steam. This was apparently the last walk they were taking together.

I know what it’s like to lose a dog. It’s one of the saddest moments in life, and seeing the life drama of this broken pair, broke my heart.

27 thoughts on “Weekly Post Challenge: “Broken”

  1. Oh this brings back so many tough moments and reminds me why I resisted getting a new dog for so many years… I hope their time together was filled with wonderful walks and plenty of love.

  2. Oh heavens, yes, I know too…it is like losing a close loved one…after my last animals died I decided not to go through this again..no more animals for me..the pain is too great upon their loss.

    • I was bullied terribly in school as an adolescent, so one day my mum went to an animal shelter and saw a dog that she immediately took to, and thought it would be good for me. When I got home from school mum took me there, didn’t say which dog but told me to pick one out. I saw Kootenay, and he saw me, and it was as if we were meant to find each other. Kootenay was the dog that she was also drawn to when she first went to the kennel. We brought Kootenay home, and for years he was the best friend I ever had.

      One evening when I was 17, I put Kootenay on his leash and took him out for his last walk of the day. It was dark. The last house I lived at in Prince George, BC was on the corner of 8th Avenue and Carney. Our driveway came out on 8th. Kootenay and I got to the end by the street when I heard a car screeching to halt. It didn’t stop before hitting a large brown stray dog that was crossing Carney. With my own eyes, I saw that dog get struck, and in the car’s headlight beams slide on its side for approximately 30 feet along Carney. It did not yelp or whimper like a dog typically does, it moaned loudly like a human.

      I was frozen in shock. I couldn’t move. Kootenay too. I had never seen anything like that before. After sitting still for what seemed like an eternity, the driver steered around the animal lying in the street and took off. Eventually, I saw the silhouette of the wounded dog struggle to its paws and begin to quiver. That’s when I finally decided to do something.

      I immediately marched Kootenay back into the house and go help that other dog. When I got back out there, it was gone. I searched the neighbourhood as best I could but I never found it. I know that the dog crawled off somewhere to die.

      That experience still haunts me. I blame myself for not reacting sooner. I may have been able to help that animal.

      By the following year, I graduated from high school and returned to Hamilton, Ontario to start college. It was hard leaving Kootenay behind with my mum. I’d always ask about Kootnay when I’d speak to her on the phone. She’d always tell me he was fine.

      About a year later, she called to talk to me and as usual, I’d ask about Kootenay. She couldn’t hide it anymore. She told me that a couple of months after I left home, Kootenay got out of the house and was struck and killed by a car (now I’m tearing up as I’m writing this). I was devastated.

      More years went by, and I started dating Kim, my future wife. She drew up in a family with 3 dogs but after being on her own, she acquired a German Shepherd named Syd from her previous boyfriend.

      Kim’s ex-boyfriend was Portuguese, and his mother insisted that he marry a Portuguese girl. Kim is Dutch-Canadian descent. This guy’s mother was a momster who hated Kim so much that she did things to spite Kim even long after she succeeded in splitting her son and Kim apart for good. One of her many diabolical misdeeds was throwing poisoned buns over the fence into Kim’s yard for Syd to eat. On numerous occasions, Kim had wrestled these buns from Syd’s jaws on the occasions that she was there to see him eating them. You couldn’t see through the tall wooden fence so we can’t prove who repeatedly threw the buns in but it was proven that the buns were laced with poison. Because they were always Portuguese buns, Kim has always suspected that it was her ex-boyfriend’s mother who would repeatedly toss them in.

      When I took up with Kim, naturally Syd and I became attached to each other and after a while I became concerned about his rapidly deteriorating health. At night, he would come into the bedroom and wake me up by whimpering and nudging me with his nose. He had difficulty walking. His hind legs too weak to continue supporting himself.

      At first I suspected that it was the dog disease parvo but after we had to put Syd down, the vet confirmed that Syd had taken in far too much poison. Putting him down was absolutely agonizing (I’m crying again). I told Kim that I won’t have any more animals in my life.

      Kim’s had betta fish since then, and she tried on a daily basis to get me to talk to them and love them as she did but I wouldn’t submit. She was crushed when each fish died, and I am crushed for her. We are still animal lovers but we can’t handle the pain of seeing the ones we become attached to suffer and die.

    • Of all the portraits I’ve done, people don’t hire me to do animal portraits much. When I do get the opportunity, I put everything into making that assignment top notch and expressive because I understand the relationships that people have with their pets. I want my clients to be forever proud of the portraits, even long after their pets are gone.

  3. Such a haunting, bittersweet shot, Mofman. The girl certainly is hoping for the best, but the dog really doesn’t want to walk on anymore. It might have even been struggling to take a breath at a time as it lay there on the road. Saw your long comment above. Sorry to hear that you’ve been through many sad moments with dogs you’ve encountered. I’ve never experienced anything like that, but to me it sounds like someone’s losing something. A life, a dog has just left the world and all he or she ever wanted was to be happy and make those around it happy.

  4. Pingback: Broken | My Own Champion

  5. It is a powerfully evocative and heart-breaking photo and story. I remember my dog’s last walk – she stopped every few steps to look around as though she knew it would be the last time she had to view everything on her familiar route. She taught me many valuable lessons, but this final one is perhaps the most important – take time to be present in the moment and savor the beauty of everything around you..

    • That’s like Syd. Barely able to walk on his own, he literally stopped and smelled flowers in our yard and that of the vet the day we had to put him down.

      I bawled an ocean that day. It still ranks up there as one of the hardest things I ever had to do, and I got the same lesson you did from both him and Kootenay. I miss them both tremendously.

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