How to Avoid a Trip to the Emergency Vet

I have always worried far too much about what other people think. These anxieties have gotten me involved in some difficult situations. Until yesterday, however, they never threatened physical harm. Last night I learned a brutal lesson about trusting my instincts and putting myself first.

Walking in the winter is dangerous. It’s dark, it’s icy, and visibility is reduced. As someone who walks a lot, I consider myself to be an excellent pedestrian. I follow all traffic laws, keep my phone in my pocket, and never jaywalk unless the road is absolutely clear. Considering the amount of intersections I have crossed in my thirty years, it’s pretty amazing I have never been involved in a single altercation. It scares me how close I came to breaking this streak less than twenty-four hours ago.

There is a cross-walk just a few blocks from my house that is fairly tricky. We live on a busy road and cars tend to drive faster than laws dictate. Unless there is a stop sign, they probably won’t stop. Most of the time I don’t cross at the above-mentioned cross-walk because there is no such sign and I’ll end up standing at the corner waiting for hours.

I’m sure you’ve been there.

Shiva and I had just left the house for our evening walk and I’d spotted a slow-moving small dog ahead. I didn’t particularly feel like going through the stress of passing the dog, nor did I feel like waiting around until the dog and handler either turned a corner or got farther away.

The other option? Cross the street. The nearest corner? The dicey one.

This is the point I chuck common sense aside and put fear of what strangers will think of me ahead of my own safety.

I hate standing at corners. I feel like everyone is staring at me. Is that totally weird? Ah well, at this point you already know I am full of strange issues. Street corners make me nervous. I worry drivers will be annoyed at having to stop or that I won’t move fast enough and drivers will start honking their horns. When I have Shiva with me, I will typically turn my back to the road and work on some basic tricks with her. I feel this makes it obvious I am not going to cross in the hope that drivers will just keep going. Usually I never cross until every car is long gone.

Usually.

 Last night I guess I was in a hurry or I just decided not to wait. I looked to my left and the road was clear. I looked to my right and saw a car approaching from a decent distance away, with more than enough time to stop for me. At least, there would have been enough time if the car wasn’t speeding.

I didn’t realize how fast the car was going until I was in the middle of the cross-walk with Shiva out ahead of me. Her head was down and her eyes were fixed on the grass at the other side of the road. Shiva was in the perfect place at the perfect time to get hit by the speeding vehicle.

Don’t worry. I yanked her back in time. Shiva is fine. If she wasn’t I would be writing a completely different post. However, she came very close to not being fine and it’s a fact that still has me a little shaken. I don’t think the driver behind the wheel even slowed down.

Then, if that wasn’t terrifying enough, as I stepped back to prevent our bodies from getting in the way of the racing car, another car was sped up to the intersectio on my opposite side. The driver of this car was slightly more observant and did manage to stop with the car’s bumper a milimetre away from my leg, but for several seconds, I was too stunned to move. I stood there staring at the windshield. The proverbial deer in the proverbial headlights.

Awful, awful, awful.

Eventually I did manage to scramble back on to the curb and let the cars continue on their way. Funnily enough, for the first time, as I stood on corner and caught my breath, I no longer cared what others were thinking. I should have felt like a moron for making a mistake in public, but I didn’t.

When it comes to the safety of myself and my dog it doesn’t matter who has the right of way. Sure, those vehicles should have stopped. It’s the law. The point is they didn’t. If Shiva had been injured (or worse), being in the right would have meant very little. Knowing I didn’t look ridiculous waiting by the side of the road would have been even less comforting.

It doesn’t matter how confident you look if you’re dead.

I am vowing to take this important lesson to heart. It probably won’t change everything – worrying about others’ opinions of me is something I will probably always do – but in instances where it’s better to be safe than cool, I hope I will err on the side of safe. Besides, no matter how hard I work, I usually end up looking silly anyway.

May as well be silly and out of the emergency room.

27 thoughts on “How to Avoid a Trip to the Emergency Vet

  1. Oh Kristine, thank goodness you and Shiva are ok!! It is easy to misjudge the speed of a car and I hate to say it but sometimes I think people speed up deliberately just to try and scare walkers.

    Like you I tend to worry what others will think of me and I think that is something I must work on. So what if I’m running willy nilly jumping around in field waving my arms and jumping up and down when my dog returns to me? Pish, if they think that’s weird they should stick around and watch her yank me like a kite.

    The important thing is that both you and Shiva are safe, no harm no foul as I’ve heard said.

    I’ve really been trying to not care what others think (although I find that difficult) but I like to ask myself, “will I ever see these people again?” If I do, will they remember me? And if I don’t well then I lost a great opportunity to make an ass out of myself. 🙂

    Only you know what is best and works best for you and Shiva, the hell with what anyone else thinks, it sure beats a trip to the emergency room. 🙂

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  2. Sounds scary. I hate having to cross busy streets while walking a dog, (or even just walking myself). It makes me very nervous. We live in a neighborhood and people drive way too fast at times. Glad you and Shiva are OK.

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  3. Thank goodness you and Shiva are safe. Don’t worry about what others think – odds are you may never see them again in your life. As for crossing the road – I will have to tell you sometime how I kicked the crap out of the front end of a taxi cab – right in downtown Calgary – across from the Calgary tower – in rush hour –
    can’t say I was too concerned about what people thought of me lol

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  4. Thank goodness you and Shiva are OK! Maybe you should make yourself a road crossing sign, a la elementary school crossing guards. I would bedazzle mine and deck it out in flashing lights.

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  5. So glad you both are ok! (And by the way, I have this same neurosis when it comes to crossing the street. I’ll definitely be more mindful of my own – and the dogs’ safety – from now on. )

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  6. Yeah, this is why we don’t cross streets, too many close calls like this. I think if my Poodles didn’t have cropped tails they might have been hit. 🙂

    Glad you were safe from this experience.

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  7. The most important thing is that you and Shiva are safe. And yes, you’re right that feeling silly is a small price to pay for avoiding a trip to the emergency room or worse.

    But this is an issue that gets my blood boiling. I know I’m usually the person trying to be even handed and urging tolerance. But I hate that cars dominate our lives. You may not feel like being an activist but I hoped you’d consider emailing your local police department about this intersection and ask for some help. A parked squad car randomly by the side of the road would do wonders.

    But back to being even handed–hitting you and Shiva would also ruin the driver’s life. Especially when every dog blogger on several continents supported your PF’s lawsuit for wrongful death.

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  8. Glad that you are ok.

    My sister’s husband was hit by a car and killed in a crosswalk. You can never be too careful. We all have had those moments where are heart stops when we think, “Wow, that was close”. Sometimes, it is that close.

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  9. Oh, geez, I’m so glad to read that you’re both safe! Momma used to do things like that ALL the time (caring about what people though), but she’s much better about it now… she didn’t have any sort of close encounter like you, but just realized one day, who cares? The people you see on walks don’t know you and won’t remember you and you’ll never ever have to see them ever again… the people at the gym aren’t there to stare at my momma… no one is secretely making fun of her behind her back. I giggled at her and said “Gee, momma… you’re silly. What took you so long to figure all this out!?”
    Really glad you’re both safe!
    -Corbin

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  10. Be careful! I don’t want to read that either you or Shiva are injured!

    I’m a cautious pedestrian. Just like making left-hand turns in the car, I wait until the other party has committed before moving into the intersection myself. But I am also walking a couple of giant dogs, so people stare at me regardless, and I can’t be bothered to worry about it.

    Maybe request your city council to put those flashing pedestrian lights at that intersection?

    Also, your post reminded me of this (which you may have already read): http://walktwohours.com/Walk_Two_Hours/Homepage/Entries/2012/1/11_A_tragic_end_to_a_wonderful_walk.html

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  11. I am so so glad that you guys are OK! That kind of thing scares the bejeezis out of me.

    I am the kind of driver that terrifies others, so I avoid getting behind the wheel. As such, I walk 99% of the places I need to go and I know exactly what kind of intersection that you are talking about. I hate hate hate the sense of “self entitlement” that (some) drivers seem to have. I can not count the number of times I have almost been hit by drivers making right hand turns at stop signs. It’s a shame. I would consider contacting your local traffic enforcement and complaining about the corner. Maybe if people are complaining they will install a pedestrian flashing light or something.

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  12. Goodness! Glad y’all are okay! When I read the title of this post, I figured you–being the overly cautious person you are–took Shiva to the emergency vet for something that wasn’t quite an emergency. Why did I assume this? Because I have done that very thing! Anyway, glad there was no expensive emergency vet trip involved and glad you’re both okay!

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  13. As a longtime runner and cyclist, I never step/ride in front of a car unless I make eye contact with the driver and I see them stop. The car will always win, and I don’t intend to EVER be on the losing side of that equation. I’m so glad that you and Shiva are okay, and I can only imagine how shaken up you were ;(

    I always act like I’m letting Cali sniff because I don’t enjoy trying to hurry her across the street and honestly – I don’t care what the drivers think. It’s our walk and I’m not rushing for them! So sorry about your night and VERY happy you are both safe and sound 🙂

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  14. Is a crosswalk a pedestrian crossing? That first driver was BAD, if so. I walk everywhere (since I can’t drive) and I hate drivers that don’t consider the safety of pedestrians (and their dogs) or who park across the crossing while waiting to go. That is not only rude, it’s dangerous. I admit, if the traffic isnt going fast, I sometimes walk/cross in front of such approaching vehicles so they’re forced to wait (as the law requires). Pamela has a point about complaining/reporting the incident so the council can make that spot safer.

    Anyway, at least you’re both safe 🙂 x

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  15. How scary! I am so glad you are both okay!! You said you thought you had enough time to cross, so to me, it sounds more like a freaky accident than you worrying about what others think. So stop being so hard on yourself, and just be thankful! 🙂

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  16. I am so glad that you both were ok. Wow.
    We live on a busy road also and have a crazy intersection where no one pays attention.
    I have only crossed the intersection twice with the dogs and each time I was terrified. So many people just don’t pay attention when they are driving.
    Being silly and out of the emergency sounds like a good plan to me:)

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  17. Holy crap, Kristine – that must have been terrifying! I’m so glad that you and Shiva are okay. We all do silly things due to our insecurities.nwhat I have a hard time grasping is the complete disregard people have for another life. The driver of that speeding car has some karma coming, and not in a good way! You and Shiva give each other a hug from me … Our days are precious and this is a good time to say that, though we’ve never met, I’m really glad we’re friends. Stay safe out there!

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  18. I am so glad that you are both okay! It sounds like a really scary experience, and I think my knees were shaking just a little bit at some point in your story. We live on a street with a 25 MPH speed limit, but people go much faster here, too.

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  19. I am completely unwilling to trust drivers while walking Elka. Really, I’m unwilling to trust drivers to a degree that it’s amazing I drive myself anywhere at all, with the level of ridiculousness that I regularly see.

    I’m glad you’re both safe!

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  20. I *really* hate people that drive like yahoos in residential areas!! Seriously, is that whole 2 seconds quicker that you are going to get to your destination worth it if you hit a pedestrian?! I’m just glad that you & Shiva are okay!!

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  21. A working knowledge of this information will help you eliminate some potentially dangerous circumstances and help you prepare for emergency situations.

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  22. Thank God Kristine, you and Shiva are safe. That is so scary, this is would help anyone who use to walk with their dogs in this kind of situation. 😦

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  23. oh man, that sounds scary! glad it worked out for the best.

    i just have to tell you, though, that i am right there with you on not wanting to look like a weirdo out in public. i tend to be overly cautious about things and half the time i’m sure people really are staring at me. like when the railroad crossing gates go down and i’m the only one who does NOT hurry across the tracks to make the train–i will stand there and wait and be late for work instead of run across the tracks while the bells are ringing and traffic is stopped. you never know! but i look like a scared freak.

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