I came by my love of animals naturally. No one in my family has ever been able to say "no" to an animal in need. This story is not about me though. It's about my mother and a dog named Buddy. I don't have a picture to show you so just know that he was a big, fluffy, cream and white mutt with the sweetest brown eyes you've ever seen.
One crisp morning in 1987 as my mom was taking the freeway to work with her friend, Gretchen, she noticed a car on the shoulder of the fast lane. As they passed by, she looked into the rearview mirror just in time to see two big golden brown eyes staring back at her. Quickly, she pulled over onto the shoulder and ran back to the car. There she found a big, fluffy, cream and white dog laying underneath the front of it. He had wounds on his hip and scrapes on his elbows. As she approached, the dog didn't growl or bark as stray animals will do when wounded. He simply raised his head to gaze at her. She crouched down to get a better look and noticed that his left front paw was stuck inside the bottom of the engine and he began thrashing to get it free. This must have happened on the impact somehow. There was no driver in the car and she couldn't see anyone on foot nearby. She motioned to Gretchen and asked her to take the car and go find a vet. Then, without another thought, crawled underneath the car in her white uniform to get a better look. She felt around but couldn't figure out a way to remove the paw so she began to gently pet the dog and talk to him. At least, she could comfort him. Every few minutes he would start to panic and every few minutes she would say "It's okay, buddy. We are going to get you out of this."
She waited and waited. Her hip was growing numb from laying on the pavement and her arm was completely asleep from cradling the dog's head. Then she heard a truck pull up behind the car. Finally, help had arrived. A man made his way to her and asked her about the dog. He was from Animal Control and upon hearing of the situation told my mother that he was going to have to remove the dog's leg and then "take him away." My mother wrapped her body around the dog, looked at the man and said " You are not TAKING this dog." The man, irritated, walked away for a few minutes and then returned to try to coax her into moving. My mother turned away from the man and said "Well, then you'll have to take me too." The dog, now quiet, was going into shock and she wrapped herself more tightly around him to keep him warm. Again the man approached, this time threatening her with legal action. Again, she turned the man away. The Animal Control officer went back to his car and waited. More minutes ticked by. She couldn't feel her legs anymore. Another car pulled up and she heard the short whistle of a police siren. She thought "This is it. I'm going to have to give him up." Two policemen approached and again she relayed dog's condition and Gretchen's impending arrival with a veterinarian. The police stepped back to talk more privately. She couldn't hear what was being said over the cars roaring by next to her. Then, one of the policemen came forward and knelt down. "Ma'am, I have two dogs at home. I'm an animal lover too. We'll try to find a way to get him out safely." As the policeman and his partner were discussing the situation, Mom continued to talk and sing to the dog. At this point she couldn't tell which parts of her were numb and which were normal. She just knew she was aching all over. Just when she thought she couldn't bear it anymore, all of a sudden, unceremoniously, the dog gently removed his own paw out of the engine. She yelled to the policeman "He's out! He's out!" By petting and soothing him, he relaxed enough to free himself. She carefully picked up the dog and attempted to stand but immediately her legs buckled. She had been under the car for two hours. The policeman grabbed her by the arm. "Let's just stand here a moment until you get your balance. His partner, anxious to get all of them off the freeway , stopped traffic and then took her other arm. They held onto her and she held onto the dog as they crossed the four lanes of traffic. On the other side, Gretchen was waiting with the car. "I couldn't get a vet to come here but they are waiting for us to take him in." Mom and Gretchen rushed the dog to the vet where he was admitted straight away as promised. After a couple of days at the vet and many many stitches, we picked the dog up and brought him to my grandparents to live. Buddy, as he came to be known, stayed there for the rest of his natural life and we would go visit him on weekends. He was a friendly dog and loved everyone he met but there was always a very special bond between him and my mom.