Guest Editorial: Slow down for the safety of our pets
An emotional plea to abide by neighborhood speed limits
September 18, 2017
Many of us live in subdivisions in the Park City area where we can all enjoy the natural wonders that attracted us here. One of the joys of living in Silver Springs as my wife and I do is that we have lots of friends and neighbors who raise our families and live our lives without the hassles and stress of the big cities.
The last couple of weeks our neighborhood has been enriched by the addition of a couple who are staying with a neighbor and their most extraordinary family member, a truly beautiful Australian sheep dog. As is the case with such an intelligent canine, sheepdogs need to find work. If you have ever seen this species work at the annual Heber sheepherding event held every year, these are truly a special category of man’s best friend.
Most of the time she was on a leash as she guarded her owner as he worked on our neighbor’s deck. But she did get some freedom to run and it was a delight to watch. On Monday morning I was sitting on my deck, reading the newspapers, drinking my coffee and was witness to our canine visitor splashing in one of the pools in our backyard. It was really fun to watch her. Rolling around in the water, paws in the air, jumping up and down and enjoying her occasional liberty from her leash while outdoors.
Five minutes later, I heard this dreadful thud. She had apparently seen a squirrel, chased it, and was struck by a car.
I called to her owner that she had been struck, and he came running as did my wife. The people who were driving the car that hit her immediately returned to see what could be done. All of us were grief stricken as we watched this beautiful creature breathe its last breath within two minutes of being run over. From total joy and freedom to death in less than five minutes. Thankfully she did not suffer long, or have the prospect of a broken back among other horrible possibilities.
I write this as a tribute not only to her but the thousands of others of man’s best friends who are accidently killed by motorists every year. But there is always a lesson in sadness, and I would hope that anyone who can feel the pain of losing a furry family member will be more alert and aware of the fact that where there are homes and families, there will be a dog, a cat, or even worse, a kid who can dart in front of your car in the blink of an eye. I know the people driving this car were very distraught and I write this to suggest that everyone driving in our community be ever mindful of how a beautiful morning can turn into an ugly day of mourning and sadness in an instant.
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Most subdivisions have speed limits of 25 mph or less, but I have seen many drive 40 mph or more. Speed bumps have had to be introduced in some places. Drive slowly and be alert. You may be in a hurry, but the time you may save is not worth taking a life and the grief you will feel.