Audrey Phare has been wracked with grief all week, after a Chilliwack Taxi cab driver ran over her dog in her driveway.
And while Phare has now heard from the apologetic cab company’s manager, it hasn’t been enough to take away the pain of losing her ‘fur baby.’
Phare had just let her 11-year-old dog Sus out into the yard for a bit of fresh air and sunshine. The yard is large, and Sus’ hip dysplasia meant she wasn’t moving very fast lately. Sus headed to her favourite sun spot in the driveway, and Phare turned on the noon hour news. Moments later, the peaceful afternoon was interrupted by screaming outside, and frantic barking.
“I could hear screaming and I went running outside and I looked toward the road and I saw my boyfriend running down the road,” she told The Progress. “I couldn’t understand why he would be running down the road, and he was screaming.”
Phare threw on some slippers, ran down the driveway to investigate, only to learn that Sus had been hit by a cab as she lay in the sun.
“That’s when I saw the cab driver, he was freaking out,” she said. “He did seem remorseful, to a point.”
But as Phare and her boyfriend tended to their dying dog, the cab driver got on the phone with his dispatcher. The dispatcher then called the RCMP, who were told that the cab driver hit an unleashed dog in a driveway. The RCMP were also told that the dog was one of “four or five dogs” that were running loose.
The family has three dogs, Phare clarified, and Sus was the only one not on a wire lead.
“She was an indoor dog,” Phare said. “I had just let her out.”
The next few minutes were devastating for Phare.
“By the time I got there they said ‘her eyes are turning grey,’ liquid was coming from her privates, and her chest looked like it was caved in,” Phare said. “She died within 20 minutes.”
Chilliwack Taxi manager Kuldeep Singh said the driver left because the RCMP said the accident was not his fault and that he didn’t have to stay. The driver wasn’t even called to Phare’s house — he had the wrong address and must have realized it once he drove the long driveway.
It was the driver’s quick departure and refusal to drive them to a vet’s office that has Phare upset.
“I feel like we need some acknowledgement here,” she said. “He said ‘I’ll be right back and get a pen and paper and I’ll give you my information.’ And the next thing you know you hear his car starting and he sped off.”
They never got his name, and in their concern for their dog, they never even saw the cab number on the car.
Chilliwack Taxi is not denying the fact one of their drivers fatally hit the dog, but they are attempting to make peace with Phare and her family.
“This is upsetting,” Singh said in a phone interview on Wednesday. He was trying to hear both sides of the story, from the driver and from Phare, to come to some sort of conclusion.
“He said he did apologize to the owner and that when the RCMP told him to leave, he left,” Singh said. “But on Facebook it says no one apologized. Those things are contradictory. There are very strong emotions around this but I had to talk to my driver first.”
Singh is a dog lover himself, and wanted to send his apologies in person.
“I do respect that a dog is a family member, and my heart goes out to that,” he said. “I really do appreciate what they have gone through and I will apologize.”
He made that call while the Progress listened in. During the call, he apologized several times.
“I need to know from your side what happened,” he said to Phare. She told him the story from start to finish. As they discussed the two different versions of the stories, they decided to give some more time to each think about what could heal the situation.
“What can Chilliwack Taxi do for you?” Singh said. “I know what is done cannot be undone, but are there still ways we can stop these strong emotions.”
“I don’t know,” said Phare.
“I need to know from you,” Singh pushed. Phare took a second, grief still fresh in her voice.
“We’ve have her since she was four weeks old,” she said.
“I totally understand that, these are our family members, I respect these emotions,” Singh said.
“This is depressing, this is what this is,” Phare said. “My (other) dog and my cat are just sad and whining, they know my dog is gone. How can you compensate for that?”
“No one can compensate for that,” Singh replied.
This story has lit up Facebook pages since Sus was killed on Monday afternoon, with some vowing not to use Chilliwack Taxi until they acknowledge the mistake.
To that, Singh said he hopes the community will know this was an accident and not something they are taking lightly.
“This is a mishap and I have myself been driving for 12 years and in the office here for three years,” Singh said. “I have my family here to my children in this community and this is our livelihood. One bad thing doesn’t mean that Chilliwack Taxi’s bad.”
For Phare, nothing so far has eased her pain.
“I’m not thinking clearly right now, I’m still in shock,” she said. “I’m busy getting rid of blankets and toys. I asked him if we can talk another time.”