Drivers urged to slow down

Less than 30 seconds was all it took for us to be left with a huge empty void in our family.

On Sept. 26, while leaving to take my son to school, a dump truck and trailer unit drove by on Yarrow Central Road. Our adorable, high-energy, all-white Jack Russell terror (terrier) named Pixie bolted out the door and ran barking at the big truck as it went by, little realizing the back wheel of the trailer would clip her in the bike lane and quickly end her life. It was horrific for my 11-year-old and I to witness as Pixie’s body was ripped wide open and we were left in shock and grief. Meanwhile, the truck never stopped and likely didn’t even know it happened.  (More recently my mom who lives in Edmonton said a cement truck did the same to a bike-rider on White Avenue. Upon later learning about the death, it devastated not only the college-boy’s family but the driver as well).

Less than 30 seconds was all it took for us to be left with a huge empty void in our family. We have constant reminders of Pixie and miss: the pitter patter of her feet on our laminate floors, the morning greeting rituals or her jumping four feet straight up at the window to see who’s there. She could leap straight up in the air and land on your lap (which Oma described as feeling like a 10 pound sack of potatoes was ‘thrown at you’). She certainly had the element of surprise. She was our bug-hunting, rodent-chasing, naturally ‘recycling’ (she loved to play and tear apart plastic containers) and economical alarm system.  She brought us plenty of laughter and a few tears, until Wednesday, when the tears have been flowing or beneath the surface. Last week the men picking up our garbage laughed and pointed as they saw our dog barking at them from the roof top. She was agile and sure-footed and before they could get a camera she ran back inside and sat at my feet in her spot looking at me with her big brown innocent-looking playful eyes. I knew what she was up to.

We noticed an increase in dump trucks with Yarrow school construction and work on the dike, but haven’t understood recently where all the trucks are going or why they’re barreling quickly down Yarrow Central, which while a main thoroughfare to you, is a community and home to many kids, dogs and families. Now every time a truck speeds by shaking our home, it’s a constant painful reminder:  “a big truck killed our precious dog.” Our daughter commented, “Mom, next time that could be a child.” There are many painful reminders as we see her dog dish, bed, toys, partially chewed treat that she used to hold in her paws and gnaw on.

The leather-jackets, spiders and flies in our home continue on undisturbed, but we are. Their ongoing presence reminds us Pixie isn’t here.

My identity as the “lady with the white dog” and my walking buddy is gone.

Our son’s sleeping companion is no longer here.

We later heard a friend called police a week earlier reporting they noticed big trucks speeding through town. A call to the non-emergency police line resulted in their asking, “Can you get the licence plates of any trucks?”

No, they’re going too fast for us to see.

What does it matter? Pixie’s gone and nothing will bring her back. But perhaps this notice will help someone think twice about speeding through town.

I would be remiss if I didn’t say thank you to the ‘angels’ who helped: one lady stopped on her way to work and cleaned up what was left of Pixie and hugged my son and I, another lady dropped off a scented candle that said “Thinking of you” (now a beautiful reminder of our thinking of Pixie). We received emails, messages, texts and calls from family and friends. Most recently our own recognition of Pixie’s death and an article from a magazine called Living with Loss on helping your child cope and six steps of grieving the death of a family pet brought some comfort. We may consider a little trauma counselling. Our son won’t go near the bike lane on his scooter, bike or skateboard now, which is a good thing seeing as we don’t have a public sidewalk on our end of town. While our loss is little in contrast to many others, the empty space in our hearts and home is huge.

Thank you everyone who’s shown us compassion and care.

From a Grieving Family

(Arlene Onderwater)