An act of kindness heals

Published 9:42pm Tuesday, August 12, 2014

To the editor:
This is the story of a dog named Jack and a young man named Heath.
Jack was my dog and I loved him. He was a big, black dog who was abused as puppy, dumped, adopted and returned to FHS where he stayed for many months. We started walking him, fell for him and brought him home. At first he was afraid of everything but he slowly grew more trusting and finally became the big sweet Labradane he was always meant to be. Jack loved four things more than anything else in the world. His family, his kibble, hunting mice and racing with his friend Muggsy, the feist mix who was also from FHS.
About three weeks ago I took our dogs out behind the house after breakfast; Jack usually hunted for mice in the bushes nearby. On this day, I was turning on a pump when I heard the dogs run behind the pump house. Moments later I heard the blare of a truck horn. I started calling the dogs right away. Muggsy raced back to me but not Jack. I kept calling until I heard my husband’s voice from the front yard, shouting “He’s dead!” The dogs had raced out onto Hwy 9 and Jack had been hit by a truck. I don’t remember running to the front yard but there a horrible sight met my eyes – the only consolation was that Jack never suffered. What happened next surprised us all.
I had wrapped Jack in a blanket and my husband had brought our tractor up to take him away to bury him when a log truck drove slowly up to the house and pulled over on the grass. “That’s the truck that hit him.” my daughter said. A young man got out of the truck and walked up to us.
My first thought was “That is a brave man.” There were three of us standing there as he approached. I was obviously distraught, my daughter and husband were in shock. He walked up to us and said he was very sorry, that he’d hit our dog and had returned to get him out of the road. I thanked him for coming back, said that it meant a lot to us and that we understood that there was no way he could have turned or stopped in time. We exchanged a brief hug and he left. There was nothing else to say. I knew I was at fault for not controlling the dogs.
Later that afternoon, I was planting a magnolia on Jack’s grave and was once again in tears when the young truck driver reappeared. He put a beautiful 2 ½ month old puppy in my arms. He knew it wouldn’t replace Jack, but he hated what had happened so much that he did the only thing he could think of to help. The puppy instantly started licking the tears off my face. The young man told me his own name was Heath and said he lived somewhere up the grade. Heath said “He’s had his first shots, his name is Dozer. I’m so sorry about your dog.” Then he left. As it turns out, Dozer is a gentle, loving, mannerly pup who was obviously raised with great kindness and attention.
I knew a lot about my dog Jack. Now there are also a few things that I know about Heath. He is brave and compassionate. He takes responsibility for his actions. He is an honorable man of integrity who tries to do the right thing. I feel so very fortunate to live in an area with many decent human beings who care for others. Thank you, Heath, if this reaches you. We appreciate your kindness and courage and we all love Dozer very much.

-Lee Barker
Tryon

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