On Sunday afternoons, as long as it wasn't raining too hard, we would take Babe and Mercedez up the mountain for their afternoon run. They would get so excited when we opened the back of the Jeep and told them to jump inside. They knew exactly where we were going.
We would drive for about one and a half miles up the mountain road and then open the back door and let them run free. It would be extremely rare to see any other people up there. If we ever saw anyone, they would be in a vehicle - always. The road is an old logging road and pretty rough with pot holes and large rocks.
When I let the dogs out of the truck, they start to run. Mercedez was younger and liked to run around and sniff things. She didn't have a method to her madness. But Babe never deviated from her routine. She stayed close to the driver's door and ran alongside the truck, so proud of herself for keeping up.
As I came around a bend, three people were walking. It shocked all of us and Mercedez smelled a 'rat.' She knew they were up to no good; what that was, we will never know. She began to bark and run circles around them. I was driving and kept my eyes on her because this was out of character and I was not sure what she was going to do.
What happened next was unbelievable
Even though the road was rocky and bumpy, when we hit that huge bump in the road, not once but twice....I knew exactly what happened. I turned to my husband and calmly said "I just ran over Babe!"
He replied, "Don't be ridiculous -- just let me out so I can get Mercedez."
We got out of the truck and there was Babe, lying behind the truck, barely breathing. I could hardly get my breath myself as I realized what I had done. My husband said "I am sure she will be fine, let's get her into the back quickly."
We lifted her limp 75 pound body and the gravity of the situation started to manifest. We drove as fast as we could back to town and called the vet clinic. They were not open but a doctor would be there ASAP.
Time to say your good-byes
He left the room and I hugged and kissed Babe's gentle face. Tears were running down my husband's cheeks as she had been his father's dog and he and Babe were exceptionally close. Babe never left my hubby out of her sight. If he went to any room in the house, Babe was there. Babe slept beside him and stayed with him every moment he was home. Now, she was....... gone.
The vet returned and said "It is time....she is suffering. Do you want me to keep her here?"
"NO! I will bury her on the mountain where she loved to run."
He asked my husband if he could help him carry her to the car and he almost shouted "Don't touch her. I will do it." I knew he was in shock.
I became hysterical
We called my son to come over and help bury her and I went into the house to tell my daughter. Please realize that I have not had an easy life, but have almost always remained calm and strong. Something snapped in me that day and I became hysterical. I don't ever remember crying so hard. I know a lot of it was from guilt, but all I would keep saying over and over was..."I killed Babe. Dad loved her so much and I killed her."
By the time my husband and son got back, I had calmed down but began to weep, asking for forgiveness. He assured me it was not my fault and comforted me instead of it being the other way around.
How is it possible that Mercedez knew how to comfort us?