On my way down the two lane mountain road from Estes Park, Colorado yesterday I came upon a figure in the middle of the road. I slowed down and as I drew closer I saw it was a dog who had been hit and she was still alive. I pulled over and grabbed my phone and a blanket and ran out to stop traffic. She was a large dog and it was clear I needed help. There was no signal on my phone and as the cars started piling up, I knew people would not wait forever. Then 2 men stopped and got out and helped me get her to the side of the road. She took her last breath and passed there. Surrounded by 3 people who cared enough to stop and get out and get involved in saving a life. Yes she did die, and, she died with us around her, working to save her from further injury and with dignity as she crossed.
Then another man stopped and said she was his neighbors dog and she always got on his property which was on the other side of the road and he would take her to them. I got back in my car and wept for a few minutes before I continued down the road, one of the men who helped stopped, rolled down his window, and asked if I was ok before I left. There are good people all around us.
Driving down the road my emotions quickly turned to anger, if this dog kept getting out, why did the owner not do more to keep her safe? Why had the person who hit her not stopped (this was no small accident), Why were people driving so crazily past me and obviously speeding?
I was able to come home and hug my dog and tell my story to my friend and release some of the emotions I was feeling and take a look at the good I had been part of.
The next morning I was on a group Zoom with my coaching peers and was able to share my story in this safe place. I had been beating myself up because I didn’t do enough, or could have done it different. I was upset with the circumstances that got the dog in that position in the first place. Everyone on the call was so happy, I didn’t want to bring the call down, and then I spoke up. They listened with open hearts and at the end pointed out some things that I was not seeing though the pain I felt over the incident. Not only were they there to hear my pain, they were moved by my story, there is borrowed benefit from experiencing this together. They were inspired and uplifted by my story. They were not bothered by me telling them what happened they were engaged with me. That feeling of truly having other humans hear what you have to say is very healing.
This is my truth, that I have taken away from this:
I did something. I acted. My actions brought two men to help me get this dog safely out of the road. Those two mem assisted me and they were part of it now and carry this story with them. They acted and helped to keep that dog from suffering more injury. That dog did not cross alone. I came together with other humans to help each other and that dog. I also realized I needed help yesterday, and I have been very resistant to that in the past. I asked for and received help in the form of the two men who stopped. I can not do it all on my own, sometimes I need help.
Is this a familiar situation for you?
As I am distilling this event I am aware that this is what First Responders experience on a daily basis. And in many cases, have no means to release it, in my former life in Corporate Security and involvement with the LAPD, DART program I had to be strong, and suck it up. I didn’t have a pressure release valve, and all that helped me grow a hard shell, a wall to keep others away.
Would having a safe place to let out these experiences help you?
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“Even the smallest act of caring for another person is like a drop of water -it will make ripples throughout the entire pond.”
– Jessy and Bryan Matteo