Things That Tick Me Off: The Guy Who Hit My Dog

img_0415This weekend, my dog Molly was hit by a car in McLean, Virginia. Molly (shown here after teaching one of my classes) is still in intensive care but is expected to survive. However, it will take a while for me to get over my anger toward the driver who left my son on the side of the road after hitting our dog.

Molly got off the leash while being walked by Benjamin down Westermoreland Avenue in McLean. She was hit by a large SUV and collapsed in the street. The man driving the SUV stopped and expressed concern to Benjamin and then left my son with his dog. Fortunately, a nurse with an animal welfare hospital was driving by and stopped to assist Ben as I rushed to the scene. I could not be more thankful to the nurse. (A second man who just also happened to work at an animal hospital lived in the house next to the accident and also came out and was wonderful). However, when I arrived on the scene (dragging my own broken foot from an accident the day before), the driver had long ago left the scene.  A shocked witness said he checked his car for damage and expressed concern before taking off.  He gave no explanation and just left the accident scene without leaving his name or number.

There was never any question in our minds of suing. Our dog got off her leash. It was our fault. However, I cannot imagine any man leaving a boy on the side of the road with a dog that he hit, even if another man had come to assist. It was a disgraceful act, particularly since the driver did not know if the other man would stay with Benjamin. He just got in his jumbo SUV and carried on with his day. This is someone who desperately needs to look at his priorities and consider the lack of humanity shown in leaving a terrified 13-year-old boy cradling his seriously injured dog on the side of the road. Since I arrived within minutes, he could not have lingered long at the scene. His departure also prevented us from knowing the speed of the accident or any other details — information that the hospital wanted to have.

My faith in humanity however was restored by the two men who stayed with Benjamin. We put Molly in my car and rushed to the hospital. She was in shock and her breathing was beginning to fail. Sean, the nurse from McLean Animal Hospital, caught up to me in his truck and told me to follow him to the hospital to be sure that I did not get lost. I would have gotten lost without him. The other man from the house was equally kind and helpful. They both helped carry Molly to my car. I am in their debt.

We have been visiting Molly in the Hope Animal Hospital, which has 24-hour care. She is now standing for short periods. She has serious bruising and some bleeding internally as well as a torn up side. She also has four fractured ribs. She still is unable to breath on her own without the help of an oxygen tank. However, she is showing improvement and was able to stand and walk this morning. She is one tough dog. She did not cry once through this whole ordeal. We hope to have her home in a couple of days once she is breathing on her own.

56 thoughts on “Things That Tick Me Off: The Guy Who Hit My Dog

  1. No, I can’t imagine this either. But then some people don’t care — or have so much that’s important to them they disregard others’ feelings.. Most of all, here’s to Molly’s full recovery, and to Benjamin again finding faith in humanity.

  2. When I was about your son’s age, I watched a school bus hit my sweet dog. She recovered 100%, thankfully. I hope the same is true for Molly!

  3. Wow, that must be a rough time for you & the family. I appreciate getting to ‘meet’ you on this blog. The blogs are excellent, particularly in relation to our rapid loss of freedoms these days.

  4. JT —

    She’s in good hands, and it sounds like she is doing well.

    Coincidentally, about 20 years ago our Labrador retriever, also named Molly, was struck by a car after the UPS guy left our gate open. Some good samaritans stopped to help; the driver didn’t. In our case that included two nurses leaving work at the nearby hospital, who applied their human medical skills to keep her alive, and a local businessman who stopped and pulled a blanket for her out of the back of his SUV. She ended up in the same 24-hour facility. She was with us for another ten years. I hope you have at least that good a result.

    I guess the lesson from all of this is that there are two kinds of people in the world, the ones who will stop for a dog and the ones who won’t.

  5. Best wishes for a full and speedy recovery for Molly. I hope this doesn’t damage Benjamin’s faith in humanity. I wish there were more people like the two men who helped.

  6. @ Porkchop,

    ” I guess the lesson from all of this is that there are two kinds of people in the world, the ones who will stop for a dog and the ones who won’t.”

    X 1010

    The goodness of people, and kindness of strangers, are not traded on the stock markets, nor a currency recognized by banks.
    Kudos to the ones that helped JT. You and your son (and dog) were helped by them. I imagine these samaritans were also raised and lightened in their day by their acts.
    The guy that left….. not so much.

  7. First. Let us know if ya get an address for the guy who hit the dog. We have a dogpac in that town.
    Second. Rest assured that when that guy’s time comes and he goes to meet his maker at the Pearly Gates, it will be one of those days when Saint Peter is out playing golf and has a stand-in. It will be a dog. This guy is going to hell. No probation, no limbo for a fat slob in an an SUV who runs over a dog and flees.

  8. What a terrible thing to do to a child! It must have been a traumatic experience for Benjamin. I hope Molly has a quick recovery. Our pets are part of our families.

  9. Cowards come in all shapes and sizes and I suppose it shouldn’t surprise any of us that a man who could not bring his intellect to bear on his own fear could also not set that fear aside to comfort a young boy in distress. Perhaps, upon reflection, he will come forward for no other reason than to find out if the boy and his dog are alright. If not, then cowardice is stamped on his soul and the hallmark of his character. (Not to mention that his SUV will stick out like a sore thumb should he drive through the neighborhood again)

    On the other-hand, one knave was offset by two good knights and a father in pain who literally came running to the scene. That should help Benjamin in coming to terms with the reality of human nature.

    Blessings on Molly and Benjamin and all those who helped them in their time of need.

  10. Our pets are part of our families as Elaine said. One of our dogs got out the another night and took off running. Fortunately, I can still run pretty fast and was able to catch up with her before she was injured. Hope Molly has a speedy recovery.

  11. Back in the early 70’s I lived in Manhattan. Coming home one night, about 7:00pm, a large mongrel dog ran into the street and I couldn’t avoid hitting it. I got out and with the dog was a disheveled and dirty young man in tears over the injury to his dog. I put them both in my car and drove them uptown to the famed Animal Medical Center. This animal hospital located in the tony East Side of Manhattan was quite expensive so I stayed with the boy because I knew he couldn’t pay the bill and also would have no way to get home. Luckily the dog had a minor fracture to its right front leg and they put it into a cast.

    Finally, the dog was returned to us about 3:00 am and I drove the boy and his dog back to their tenement on the Lower East Side. The bill came to about $400, which I of course paid. What I did was not a heroic act, or even one I should be praised for, it was merely what a human being should do if they even accidentally cause pain to another leaving them in distress. Some humans, like the man who drove away leaving your dog and your son, simply do not seem capable of developing much empathy for other humans, or animals. Nor do the seem capable of accepting even a modicum of personal responsibility.

  12. I would be less quick to judge. He did stop, and stayed until someone else was present. We cannot know why he left. Do you know for a fact that he had not just received a call that his child had been taken to the hospital? Or some similar emergency? Do you know for a fact that if he had satyed he would not have missed a business appointment that would result in him being fired from a job that he just got two weeks ago after being jobless for eighteen months? But we are quick to call him a coward and curse him for leaving.

  13. I’m very sorry for Molly and that Benjamin had to experience. As a bike commuter I can attest that drivers are too inattentive on Westmoreland for kind of road and neighborhood it is. Leaving Ben and Molly without helping is just unconsionable.

  14. Bill H makes a good point. Perhaps the driver feared a lawsuit.

    We should also be concerned with Ben. He may feel he’s to blame because Molly slipped off her leash/collar. Molly’s a big dog and may be difficult to control. Some Dog Whisperer videos and a choke chain collar may be helpful.

  15. I’m so sorry…. Glad people stayed with your son….and that Molly is in good hands…..

    I just had a pet die this morning….

  16. AY:

    cat or dog? both my cat and dog are old-80 to 90 in human years.

    I know I am going to cry like a baby when the dog goes.

  17. What a relief that Molly is recovering.

    I was about Ben’s age when my dog got loose and was hit by a car right in front of me. The car didn’t stop. The dog died immediately. So many years later I can still see the scene – and the tail lights of the car as it drove away.

  18. AY:

    sorry to hear that, is it a cat or is it a cat-dog?

    I had a male orange cat once, that was the best cat I ever head. He was better than a dog if that is possible. He got hit by some redneck jack*ss running his car up and down our street.

    I think the little p*ssant killed him on purpose. The look on the cats face was shear terror, we buried him next to our golden retriever, Abbey.

  19. As someone who grew up in Mclean and had our dog treated at the Hope Center, all of this hits so close to home. Mclean used to be a sleepy southern town populated mostly by government workers and their families. Now, it’s power-broker central…thousands of lobbyists running around like they’re the only ones who matter in this world…and driving accordingly.

  20. AY I am so sorry.
    That guy’s a pig.
    (Years ago I was hit by a car, threw me up in the air but thankfully it was winter and I had on a very heavy coat and only got bruising and soreness in my hip. The person who hit me stopped, came over to me, as I lay in the street, asked “are you OK?. I said, angrily I admit, “YOu hit me!” And she walked away got back in her car and left. I got up and started to walk when a stranger stopped her car and asked if I was okay. The kindness of strangers, the piggery of those who should be better then that.

  21. In L.A. they hit mostly pedistrians and leave them by the side of the road due to their lack of car insurance. Let’s hope for a complete recovery, A pet is one of the family.

  22. Pretty apparent this was a hit and run. Hopefully someone was able to get a license plate. I would file a criminal charge against the person who did this. It is obvious the dog was owned by a particular person so it had, sorry to sound calous, property value so there would be standing to file a cimrinal or civil action just based on the action of the driver to avoid a cost of caring for the dog or its lost value.

    In our state, the fleeing party in a hit and run can be per se judged to be at fault even if the dog had wandered into traffic.

    It is something to be said of a dog owner who attends to the care of a pet needing this much medial attention. I’m sorry your our professor’s family had to go through this.

  23. What an horrific situation for Molly and your son to experience. I can only hope the kindness and compassion of those who aided them both can supersede the accident and the driver leaving the scene in their memories. Perhaps the goodness of these strangers can be used as a lesson about what is important. And,no, we don’t know why the driver left so maybe there could be a lesson in that too about not making assumptions and converting that understandable anger into even greater attention to Molly. I’m thrilled to hear that Molly is making progress. Even my cats are crossing their paws for her full and rapid recovery. I hope your son can focus on her survival rather than on the accident. That’s a hard lesson at his age.

  24. Prof.,

    I’m glad Molly is going to be okay. Please do keep us posted. At least good Samaritans were there for her and Benjamin until Molly could get to care.


    Sorry about your cat. Cats are good people.

  25. Hope indeed that all will go well with Molly. How upsetting an event. It is my hope that the driver will have second thoughts and will seek to contact you. Sometimes people don’t do the right thing right away and think better of it later. Considering that as a possibility–also that the man in question may have had other pressing issues that interfered with his doing the right thing–will, if nothing else, possibly make it easier for you to temper your understandable anger.

  26. My best wishes to you and your family. I hope Molly makes a full recovery.

    It is sad that our society in many regards, has decayed to this level of selfishness. While we can point out the good in the people who stopped to help, one has to wonder how many would have reacted the same as the person who hit the dog if it had been them.

    It is time to drop Political Correctness and instead just teach plain old compassion

  27. People either have a heart and empathy or they don’t. It can’t be teached. Having suffered merely bruised ribs playing football my heart goes out to Molly. “When it rains it pours.” You need a PI to track down this b@stard if no other reason than to vent your anger @ him.

  28. The first thing to check is for any public or private surveillance cameras in the area. The video experts w/ Target often offer their enhancement services gratis in cases like this.

  29. “public or private surveillance cameras”

    Jesus Christ. This nation has become brainwashed.
    At some point people are going to start destroying public cameras and rightfully so.
    I have no qualms with private cameras

  30. Years ago our dog, Felicia, got out and was hit by a truck a couple miles from our house- the driver didn’t stop but a law student who had worked for a vet took her to the vet, and called us (from the number on her tag.) Felicia survived but lost her leg – she wouldn’t have made it if it wasn’t for that young woman. I wish Molly a full recovery!

  31. Professor,
    I was hesitant to mention this earlier, but a couple of years ago, I witnessed a dog getting run over by a county sheriff’s deputy who, initially kept on going. I was coming from the opposite direction and saw the entire accident. I pulled over because the sheriff deputy did not stop right away. The dog looked dead with his legs straight up in the air. A few minutes later the deputy came back and took over. As it turned out the dog was just knocked out and had a few scrapes and bruises. It was near the home of an attorney that I know and when I saw him a few weeks later, I asked him if any of his neighbor’s dog had been hit. He said it was his dog and that is how I found out that he survived!

  32. It’s good to hear that Molly is doing better and should recover. Sorry to hear about your broken foot too.

  33. The shoe could very easily have been put on the other foot.

    A dog gets off his leash and runs out into the road. Some hapless bicyclist out for some exercise hits the dog goes head over heals breaks his neck and is paralyzed from his neck down.

    I know I am off point here; I’m comparing apples to oranges, but still it could’ve been much worse.

    Anyways, I am glad things are okay.

  34. Jonathan
    Was Scalia, Boehner, McConnell or Chamber of Commerce CEO riding in the back seat of that SUV? Best wishes to Molly and yours. Sugarplum, our beagle mix wasn’t so lucky when some teenagers missed a curve and hit her on our lawn in Fort Washington several years ago. They kept going and witness said they were laughing. My four dogs wish Molly their best too.

  35. I hope your dog recovers. My own dogs Hershey and Rosie are sending massive tail wags Molly’s way.

    The guy who left your son and injured dog is a jerk. The others who came to aid however help me to maintain some faith in humanity. There are good people out there.

    Keep us up to date on Molly, please.

  36. When it comes to emergancy care, HOPE is one of the best in the area. Good luck, Molly is in great hands.

  37. professor, i know this may sound strange but whoever in your family the dog is closest to may want to take a used/worn t-shirt for the dog to lie on while she is at the vets. it helps with separation anxiety.

  38. Darren,

    Pete’s right. It does wonders. I’ve been doing that for years with pets that have had to go spend time at the vet or kennelled. Works great with the cats too.

    Fish? Not so much.

  39. Those things have your scent on it that the dogs and cats can smell.

    Cayenne pepper is really good for shock from accidents like this. (People and animals.) Also for heart attacks or heart problems (I use it for palpitations, takes them away in a few minutes). A lady stopped once for a puppy that had gotten hit and put red pepper in it’s mouth. It got up a couple minutes later and walked away. Is always a great idea to keep some on you, and to read up on it.

    Hope Molly and Benjamin and your whole family are doing okay. This kind of shock is so horrible! Love to all of you!!!

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