To the Editor:
Once in a while in life, everything seems to be going fine, and a minute later your whole world has fallen in. That happened to me this week while I was watching a sweetheart of a dog named Pepe, that was left in my care while the owners were enjoying the warmth of Mexico.
Pepe loved to put his head in your lap, and he loved to let you know when you were not petting him enough. Pepe and I had gone through that routine several times Friday morning March 28, when around noon, Pepe took his head off my lap and went to the door to be let out for a pee in our fenced in yard. He must have caught a whiff of something interesting in the adjoining woods because in a heartbeat, he managed to push aside a heavy oak pallet and sneak under our chain link fence as I watched from inside. Unfortunately, beagles do not respond very well to banging on a window. On went my boots and jacket, and off I went.
There was just enough snow left that I was able to follow his tracks as they zig zagged through the neighbor’s yard then on into the Southern Woodlands. Uphill lay over 100 acres of conservation land where I had a pretty good chance to reel him in. However, my heart sank as the tracks turned downhill and led to Barnes Road. By the time I caught up with him he had made it just past the Barnes Road entrance to the Land Bank facility, toward Featherstone Farm and had dodged at least one pickup truck that I know of, but his luck ran out, and he did get hit by another vehicle. Time on the run: probably five or six minutes, max.
Thank you goes out to the driver who hit Pepe and was kind enough to stop, please remember that this was not your fault and that I am so sorry you were dragged into this ugly mess. (Note to the woman who hit Pepe: I know I said I would call you, but in the excitement I lost your phone number, my sincere apology.)
Thank yous also to the three Oak Bluffs police officers of the finest kind who quickly turned a chaotic scene into a professionally organized one during the half hour or so we were there. To Suzanne, the woman who was filling in for the animal control officer that day, you performed your duties with the utmost care and professionalism. And to all the staff at Animal Health Care who dropped whatever they were doing to give Pepe the best treatment. And a thank you to the people had scheduled appointments that day and had to wait with their pets as Pepe was worked on. Thankfully also, my dog, Wainwright, was with me. Wainwright has been Pepe’s buddy since he was a puppy, and Wain licked and comforted Pepe, who was still alert, until the animal ambulance picked him up. I know that Drs. Ross and Atwood gave Pepe their finest care, but a broken spine is almost as hard to mend as a broken heart. Finally, thanks to my wife, Jill, who not only was with Pepe the night he was born nine years ago, but who also held his paw when he was finally set free.
So, so sorry Janet, Tristan and Lina. Your loss is our loss too.
PS: To all friends of Janet and Tristan, I published this account for your information and as part of my way of dealing with the loss of Pepe. Please give Janet and Tristan the space they will need to grieve upon their return, I’m sure they will reach out to all of you when they are ready.