This time last year on a summer-like June morning, my then 10.5 year old lab mix decided to go out for her morning, to-do. Suddenly the humidity went wild and the clouds starting rolling in. The sun hid from the earthlings and the clouds thickened and turned black. In a mere instant the sky fell dark, the wind picked up and it started hailing. It looked like a F4 was about to touch the ground.
I seriously felt like Dorothy in the Wizard of OZ and instead of looking for Toto, I was looking for Holly. My then three-year old, shouted from the front door, “Mommy, Holly is on the porch!” So I ran through the garage to go grab her from the elements. She is a rescue dog and doesn’t fair well with loud noise, like fireworks and thunder. As I was opening the front door to let her in, her tail gently brushed my leg and then she made a bolt out into the yard towards the driveway.
My mom used to babysit for us. So as she was pulling in with her wipers on full blast, the hail and rain pelting down and daytime turned to night, Holly was also battling the elements. My mom could barely see and Holly could barely see and suddenly the black car hit my black pup. I couldn’t see either but the sound alone was enough to bring chills up and down my spine. I ran to the car and there lay my dog, motionless, peaceful and dead.
I started screaming and my mom had no idea what she hit and she was screaming. I was soaked and getting beat on with hail and I lost my mind. I immediately called my husband to come home from work because I couldn’t react. I couldn’t move her away from the car. She was my baby and now she was dead.
I rescued her from a shelter when I was in my twenties. Before my first house, my husband and any of the kids, I had Holly. It was just her and I and still to that day she would protect me from anyone and anything! Every night, in sickness and in health, she laid at the foot of my bed only waking when I woke. And in an instant, she was gone!
Literally gone, because when my husband came home, he asked, “Where is the dog?” I was crying and told him by my mom’s car. He said, “No, she is not there! Are you sure your mom hit her?” In synch, my mom and I both sniffled, “Yes!” We spent the next six hours tearing up the neighborhood looking for her. We had neighbors on four wheelers, people searching under decks and there was even a moment when my mom looked up to the sky. Where in the world was Holly-girl? I think at some point, we even popped the hood to my mom’s car as if the 45 pound dog might have gotten sucked up into the engine. I couldn’t bear the thought that she was out there alone, hurting!
Then to our complete surprise, six hours later, Holly came running out of our back woods. Beat up and tethered, but ALIVE! What in the world? I was in complete shock but now it all makes sense. Only “my” dog could come back from the dead! I just remember, getting the call from my friend who spent her work day searching for Holly, asking me where my vet was?
Holly survived the impact. When I thought she was dead, she was probably just knocked out. She was badly injured but no broken bones. Most of the injuries were to her upper extremities and head. She is going to make it! On the anniversary of her death and reincarnation, she is still with me side by side! Which brings me to what you’ll learn if your dog ever comes back from the dead.
What You’ll Learn if Your Dog Ever Comes Back from the Dead
There is a reason for everything! We were just thinking to ourselves that mom should really be less of a nanny and more of a grandmother. We just didn’t have that push necessary to find a daycare for the little guys. When Holly was hit by the car, I knew it was time to start searching for a daycare. Sometimes, we need a little push to get us to act. Finding a daycare was a blessing in disguise! One month after the collision, my grandmother fell ill and we didn’t have mom to help babysit the kids, as she was spending time with her mother.
Have that one person you will call when the $hit hits the fan. Fortunately I had that one friend who just listened. I was screaming and crying and talking through snot and she just listened. She also spent her entire work day looking for my Holly when I couldn’t bear it anymore. She ultimately rattled her in the woods to bring her back to life. She transported her to the vet and stayed by my side while we waited for the results. She not only saved my dog that day, but saved me from a broken heart. Thank you Melanie!
Remain calm. Good luck with this one. I now know that I am a complete wreck when it comes to trauma. I would have never thought I would leave my baby there in the rain, helpless, because I just couldn’t handle it. I am a very strong woman and when it came to trauma, I caved. So kudos to my husband who is a Firefighter and to all first responders, you are in a class of your own. Yep, you won’t see me working in an ER or as a medic. I am better when all the dust falls! Detective perhaps?
Don’t punish. Even though it was entirely not her fault, I still was very disappointed with my mom. I was trying not to be but couldn’t let the thought go that she was the one who collided with my pooch. She told me after the dog came running out of the woods, while on the way to the vet, “Your dog better survive because I cannot be the mom who killed her daughter’s dog!” Phew, we dodged a bullet there! I am also sorry mom, for being upset with you as it was not your fault. Mother nature was to blame!
Have a plan to explain loss to your children. I wasn’t prepared to explain to the boys that Holly died. They saw me scared for the first time in their lives. They didn’t understand what was happening to their very strong mommy. They thought Holly was struck by lightning and by the request of my mom, we rolled with that. For six hours, I had to explain loss to them and how to properly deal with grief. God works in mysterious ways. Because when my Nonna passed away earlier this year, I was prepared to explain death to them and help them deal with the loss of their great-grandmother.
Live each moment to the fullest. As stated, in an instant, your whole world could change. I never want to have any regrets. We get one shot at this thing called life, so why ponder the moment. Act now or forever hold your dreams!
When in doubt, cry it out! I am very strong for my family and children! I try to be equally strong for my friends. Yet, sometimes, we just have to belt it out! Let the tears flow, it makes you even stronger!
If given a second chance, use it wisely! I realized during the six hours my dog was dead that I missed her immensely. But not so much the past six hours but the past eight years. She remained faithful and took the back burner for my husband and three children. Of course she still got attention, but not like before when it was just Holly and I. The past 365 days I am grateful for our second chance and the reminder that life is not forever.
So, on the anniversary of the resurrection of my pup, I hold a dog bone and Salute to her! She is a Fighter! I dedicate this song to her and to all of you! Don’t give up, until the ref rings the bell! Live life until your dead! Give ’em hell guys and kiss your animals today!
“…because what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger!”