Once in awhile in life everything seems to be going fine and a minute later your whole world has fallen in. This happened to me this week while I was watching a sweetheart of a dog named Pepe, who was left in my care while the owners were enjoying the warmth of Mexico.

Pepe loved to put his head in your lap, and he loved to let you know when you were not petting him enough. Pepe and I had gone through that routine several times Friday morning (March 28) when around noon Pepe took his head off my lap and went to the door to be let out in our fenced-in yard. He must have caught a whiff of something interesting in the adjoining woods because in a heartbeat he managed to push aside a heavy oak pallet and sneak under our chain link fence as I watched from inside. Unfortunately, beagles do not respond very well to banging on a window. On went my boots and jacket and off I went.

There was just enough snow left that I was able to follow his tracks as they zig-zagged through the neighbor’s yard then on into the Southern Woodlands. Uphill lay over 100 acres of conservation land where I had a pretty good chance to reel him in. However, my heart sank as the tracks turned downhill and led to Barnes Road. By the time I caught up with him he had made it just past the Barnes Road entrance to the land bank facility, toward Featherstone Farm, and had dodged at least one pickup truck that I know of. But his luck ran out and he did get hit by another vehicle. Time on the run was probably five to six minutes max.

Thanks goes out to the driver who hit Pepe and was kind enough to stop. Please remember that this was not your fault and that I am so sorry you were dragged into this ugly mess. Note to the woman who hit Pepe: I know I said I would call you but in the excitement I lost your phone number; my sincere apology.

Thanks also to the three Oak Bluffs police officers of the finest kind who quickly turned a chaotic scene into a professionally organized one during the half hour or so we were there: To Suzanne, the woman who was filling in for the animal control officer that day: you performed your duties with the utmost care and professionalism; and to all the staff at Animal Health Care who dropped whatever they were doing to give Pepe the best treatment. And thanks to the people who had scheduled appointments that day and had to wait with their pets as Pepe was worked on. Thankfully, my dog, Wainwright, was with me. Wainwright has been Pepe’s buddy since he was a puppy and Wain licked and comforted Pepe, who was still alert, until the animal ambulance picked him up. I know that Drs. Ross and Atwood gave Pepe their finest care, but a broken spine is almost as hard to mend as a broken heart. Finally, thanks to my wife Jill who not only was with Pepe the night he was born nine years ago, but who also held his paw when he was finally set free.

So, so sorry Janet, Tristan and Lina, your loss is our loss, too. With deepest, heartfelt sympathy,

Bob Lane
Oak Bluffs