She didn’t have much of a chance for life. When I found her on the side of the road her bones jutted out in odd angles and her skin hung like loose drapes. A puppy, but months beyond fat and adorable.  She stood vigil in the same spot for three days, I hear, waiting for her owner to come back. But they had left her for dead on a mountain road. Fleas and ticks sucked her nearly dry.

I made Quinton stop. One look at this frail black wisp and my heart melted. Her distant eyes focused on me when I squatted down next to her. Her tail flopped once…twice, and light shone deep in her brown irises. I offered, ever so slowly, my hand for her to sniff. She licked it and her tail dusted the ground like a helicopter’s rotor-blade.

I turned, pleading to Quinton. I couldn’t leave. She would surely die if another hour went by. I knew he would say yes, not that I was really asking. It was more for confirmation of my decision. And so, I wrapped my arms around her, being careful not to apply too much pressure. It felt as if her bones were made of glass. I placed her in the back seat. I expected her to tremble in fear, but no, her tail waved hello and she viced my heart harder.

It was as if God had told this girl what I would look like, smell like, taste like. I was her new human and she knew it. Before we even made it a half-mile down the road, I knew her name was Raven. I asked her if she liked it and she wagged her tail harder.

The kids squealed when we brought her in. We bathed her and fed her. Eventually we taught her how to play fetch and go to the bathroom outside. She was so dang cute when she ran. She’d be going along when all of a sudden her legs would go out from beneath her, reminding me of a newborn calf.  It took Raven no time to fit into this crazy house.

She is by far the most loving and loyal dog we’ve ever had. Always ready to fetch a ball or snuggle a side. When we go for grocery day, she waits at the top of the road for our return, hours at a time, praying we won’t leave her like the people did before. Best riding dog ever.

So today, it grieves me more than you will ever know to say I killed her. I didn’t mean to and if I could go back a few short hours, I would make sure she was shut safely inside. But you can’t take it back once it’s done.

I was on my way out to go shopping with the girls. Raven followed us up the hill, wanting to go. But it’s hot and she wouldn’t be safe in the truck for all that time. So, I tried to outpace her on the road. She was closer than I thought and her legs tangled under the tire at 15 mph. I heard a yelp and stopped. Looking in the rear-view mirror I spotted her down and flailing. The girls were screaming and crying and all I could think was I am a murderer.

There wasn’t any blood but I could see she was hurt badly. And she looked at me with those always trusting eyes. I could almost hear an, “I love you”  as her tail flapped once…twice…then not at all. We shuffled her into the truck and hurried to the vet. She panted half the way and then a calm came over my Raven. My girls kept saying she must be fine because she wasn’t yelping. But I knew her eyes had told me good-bye.

I carried her limp body in to the vets, careful not to put any undo pressure on her shattered bones. She was alive, but just. Her neck was broken and she was paralyzed. Her hip was shattered and possibly more. She didn’t respond at all to pinch tests. I had to decide if I should let her suffer longer or put her to sleep.

I called Quinton and cried.  My girls sobbed. They couldn’t watch the shot that would stop her pain. I killed this beautiful creature that had only given love and joy. I owed her. I stroked her silky fur until her last breath. I am so sorry.

Thank you, God, for the love of a dog.

Peace, love and God’s will.

About Diane Graham

Diane Graham lives in the mountains of eastern Oklahoma with her husband, children and many dogs. She is an avid reader and lover of all art forms that encapsulate imagination and goodness. Her debut novel I Am Ocilla was released in March 2012.

50 comments on “Raven

  1. So so sorry for you loss!!! 😥 My heart is breaking for you and your family!

  2. Love and Grieving Hugs. I am so sorry. I understand.

    I believe Raven is at the Rainbow bridge playing with Akiko (one of my beloved dogs) until you come to be with her.


  3. Can;t type right now, there seems to be something in my eyes. sniff….

    • There is something in the air. I have had something in my eyes all day.

      • Now Charlotte has it…must be catching.

        (And I’m not making light of your terrible loss, it’s just my defense mechanism kicking in against the tears. You know how guys are.)

      • I am the type of person the laughs if at all possible over crying. I understand. Today, I couldn’t laugh until Quinton got home. He brought something to ease my pain. His name is Hershel. I will post pictures soon.

  4. There are no words to comfort you, but you’re not a murderer. It was an accident. I’m sorry it happened and I’m crying with you.

  5. My Dearest youngest Daughter,

    I have absolutely nothing to say. My heart is literally breaking for you, Quinton and all the kids. I have felt this pain before when you were too young to know but I will not take from your grief other than to say, you did not murder her and she will be in heaven when you get there.

  6. I’m so sorry. One of my fears has always been that we would run over one of our cats or our dog.
    Once again, I’m so sorry. 😦

  7. So sorry Diane. Crying, so sad ;(

  8. My Dearest Youngest Daughter,

    Might I add that you have written a beautiful epitaph for sweet Raven. She will now be remembered in many people’s hearts.

  9. Hey, you. You know how I’m feeling. Wishing I could hug you!!!!!


    • Thanks for talking me down earlier and catching a few of my tears. I am taking some pictures. I will post Hershel on facebook shortly.

  10. Oh Di…. deepest, strongest hugs to you from over here. I don’t really have words at a time like this, and I’m kind of amazed you do. Look here ^^ – you are upheld in a strong circle of hands. We’re with you.

  11. Di…my heart aches for all of you. I am so sorry you lost that family member. I am praying…not feeling so silly tonight, love.

  12. Diane, I want to offer comfort and I’m not sure how. But I do know how this loss feels.
    Growing up we had a number of pets…and my mother accidentally killed quite of few.
    I remember the kitten crushed by a chair she’d had to stand on, I remember the puppy she forgot to bring for the night in the desert and it got eaten by a sidewinder. Beloved hamsters, silly mice and even a goldfish weren’t safe from my poor mother’s effort to take care of everything. We understood the cost of loving an animal.
    I’m sure the animal understood that as well.
    And with each tragic loss, God would bring another special pet into our family. My mom didn’t give up trying to find them for us…and now we have so much more to look forward to in Heaven.
    Raven was beautiful. I’m so glad you shared her life, her loyalty and your love.
    Prayers for healing and new beginnings.

  13. I’m so sorry. I know how hard it is to lose a pet.

  14. Weeping with you. I’m so sorry. Romans 8:21. she’s no longer subject to futility, but has been released into God’s glory. She’s waiting for you on the hill just over this mortal pass. ((hugs))

    • Thank you, Kathy. This weekend she was bit by a snake under the house. It was a non-venomous snake but Raven took the strike. If not, Quinton would have taken it moments later. She will be missed.

  15. I’m sure Raven thanks you for the time you gave her in rescuing her from the roadside. Hang onto those memories of her while she was part of your clan. Your story about her was a blessing.

  16. I wish I could hold you, Lady Di…I know…I do know…how you feel. God will wash it away.

    I read a story by Ted Buss , one of our local writers for Times Record News (my favorite). He had a puppy that he loved so much…and as he was gardening he threw a large bag of soil over to where he wanted to spread it…it landed on his dear dog, killing him instantly. He poured his heart in a article, much like yours. I wrote to him about when I ran the animal shelter for three counties. It was large, I was the animal warden. I had employees that cleaned out the cages, the dog pens etc. I had a mamma cat and her babies in one of the dog pens because I had ran out of room in the cat area. She was a beautiful calico and her babies were each unique. So, a new girl that I hired for the county , was supposed to move all the animals so I could hose down the cages. She left the drain off from the hole. I came in with the power hoses, as I usually do. I came in there with the powerhose…she had failed to remove the kittens, only the mama cat. before I knew it , a few of the kittens were washed down the drain. What is worse is that I had no way to retrieve them. I brought in some city workers and the way that the shelter was built , it was impossible to get the kittens out. I heard them wimper for several days, just helpless to do anything but pray. I was devastated, heartsick. I could barely function. Yes, it was an accident. But there were all these “what ifs” . It was God that washed me clean like only He could . It made me want to rescue animals ten fold after that. I have two cats that were throwaways and have found homes for many more. And that is what God does, He turns it around for good.

    I just love you, Di…whenever the devil comes against you…you tell him that he is a liar. Raven is running with angels because all dogs go to heaven. And cats too! Love you much

  17. Di, please consider posting your story on Mark Levin’s site . I think it would help many people. He will post I am sure.

  18. Diane Im so sorry about your dog. Dogs are animals that truly love us unconditionally, and we feel that so much from them. It will take you awhile to get over it, accident or not, it hurts so bad.Love you Di Thinking about you, praying for you granny t

  19. I’m really sorry. 😦 That was beautiful. I’m crying with you. I’m sorry. Words aren’t enough. 😦

  20. So sorry Diane. Losing a dog is always heart-breaking because their love is unconditional.You brought back so many memories for me because I lost my first dog in a similar sort of way. He was from an abusive home and we persuaded the owner to let us take him. For the next six months he was like my shadow. We went everywhere together. He was more like a buddy than a pet. One day we were on the beach and he swallowed a fish hook which pierced an artery. He died a few days later. It took me a long time to get over that dog and I’ll never forget him. If Raven meets him in Heaven, I bet they’ll be pals. 🙂

  21. Diane, I don’t think I can add much to what’s already been said. Bless you for sharing your tragedy so we can support you in it. I’d say, “May God be with you,” except I know He always is.

  22. The strength to write during this time can only come from God and loved ones.

    Coming from a family that loves animals as well…I am sorry.

    Be blessed.

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