This evening after a lovely dinner at my sister and brother-in-law’s house, we were making our way home along a windy back road when we came across a mid sized dog named Diesel lying in the middle of the road.
My wife ran out and it was obvious that Diesel had been hit by a car and was in great distress. She picked her up and moved him to the side of the road. In the next couple of minutes, people came running from a neighbouring house realizing that their family pet had been hit.
The owner of the dog, a long haired very granola hippie guy was very distraught, and was crying. It was very sad. My wife was very sad too.
In the next few minutes the dog began bleeding out her mouth and nose, and shortly after she died.
What happened next really got me mad. The lady that lives across the road from the hippies came over without talking to them and started venting to us (quite loudly) about these people and their dog and how she had made calls to the SPCA etc to complain about it.
I understand the lady’s point of view. She was angry that the owners let the dog run free and that they were perhaps irresponsible. She made comments to us and anyone else within earshot like “I don’t know why some people are allowed to own dogs.” and “My dog would never run out onto the road”.
This really pissed me off. I wanted to tell her to fuck off. It didn’t seem right. The poor owner was on his knees next to his dying/dead dog and here is the un-sympathetic and obviously bitter next door neighbour spewing her anger about this dog and it’s owners to us, essentially pointing her finger and saying “see, I told you so”.
It was the wrong time to do this. Let the man grieve and cry about his pet. He is probably at fault for letting her run free on a busy road, but at this moment, show some class and empathy. Sure, you could write him a letter or call him later once the shock has worn off. But even then, I think he learned a hard lesson today.
Have you been witness to behaviour like this before? Someone that was correct about something but didn’t have any empathy, and let someone have it at the most inopportune moment?
- Soft-wired for empathy – Rifkin on the Empathic Society (godspace.wordpress.com)
- How the brain generates empathy for someone else’s pain (news.bioscholar.com)
- Source of empathy in the brain? (sciencedaily.com)