My lingering guilt

It was December the 12th, last year. I was on my bike, riding Son Johnson Road, and this beautiful pup approached the blacktop from a fenced in pond to my right. I made a clicking sound, just to say hi. That’s all it took. The needy creature followed me almost a mile running along beside me at times until three dogs came running from a house and turned the skinny pup away. I continued.

Thoughts of the exposed-ribbed dog haunted me during the night and the next day. I returned to Son Johnson Road via car carrying an aluminum pie-pan and quart of dog food. Luckily I found him. He looked worse than the day before. From his looks, he was on the verge of starving. I made pictures, petted him, and shared loving thoughts as dog-lovers do. To my eternal regret, I left the precious pup, thinking ‘we don’t need another dog’ (I’d rescued Eddie, the black tornado, this past May, and there was Shadow, the graying ‘Heinz’ our oldest son had rescued in 2014). I returned home rationalizing, stupidly, “hopefully, somebody along this rode will take him in.”

I never saw the sad-eyed pup again. For two weeks, I returned via car with a quart or more of dog food hoping by chance I’d once again see this gorgeous creature. If I was so lucky, I would never leave him again. I’d carry him home and love and care for him like I/we do Eddie (and of course, Shadow). These trips were in addition to an almost-daily bike ride inclusive of Son Johnson Road.

After I stopped the daily trips via car, I opted to carry a pint of dog food on my bike. I continue to do that to this day.

I’ve spent a lot of time wishing I could go back and change what happened. I often brood over my failure to act when I had the perfect opportunity to relieve that precious being’s suffering. My thoughts have more than once contemplated what pain I could have stopped.

If I done what I should, he would now have a good home, with plenty of food, two playful canine friends, almost smothery attention from me, and hopefully many years of joy and happiness.

Now, all I can do is keep looking, and keep saying, “I’m sorry I let you down.”

Author: Richard L. Fricks

Former CPA, attorney, and lifelong wanderer. I'm now a full-time skeptic and part-time novelist. The rest of my time I spend biking, gardening, meditating, photographing, reading, writing, and encouraging others to adopt The Pencil Driven Life.

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