One morning not long ago I was eager to hear about the stock market, if any news from Mt. Juliet somehow beat me on the newscast and the latest on a dwindling hurricane. So when I glanced at my flickering mini-television stuck on a shelf in my bedroom - while searching for a sweater at the bottom of my closet and trying to figure out how a Velcro curler works without getting stuck - I was taken aback. I stood up, teetered on one heel, buttoned my shirt, left the curler alone and peered at the television.
I crept closer and listened to the talking head. It was something outside the usual news fare; a story that soon had me stock still, thinking, wondering and blithering like an idiot. It was a story I wish I could have written, conveyed, and shared somehow. However, this time a moving image spoke much louder than any words I could pen.
It was a shot of a busy Interstate, similar to I-40. I assumed from some little traffic cam stuck on a bridge.
I don't have an idea of where this scene played out, I guess it was "anywhere" USA or "somewhere" in the world. But it was real, an image on a tape that somehow made enough of a difference to make its way to mainstream media.
It was rush hour, morning or noon, it doesn't matter. Crazily two dogs appeared amidst the whizzing metal machines. They looked like litter mates - goofy, yellow Golden retriever knock-offs. They were out of the norm, in danger, gangly, trotting as a pair along a concrete embankment that separated the traffic. They shouldn't have been there; how they managed to land on a busy interstate we'll never know. Probably don't want to know.
In a heartbeat the pair tried to escape, and shot out into the multi-lane traffic. One didn't make it, plowed by a car, or maybe it was a truck, and instantly prone on the pavement; inert, like a fat yellow sleeping bag tossed from a truck bed.
Drivers deftly dodged the hazard. What happened next is what has me writing about this. The companion dog didn't dodge to safety, but rather hunkered down, hung over the other dog and ignored the non-stop onslaught of cars driven by alarmed motorists trying hard to avoid the pair, even at 70 MPH speeds.
The fuzzy video showed the dog - a bit smaller than the dog hit - painstakingly drag its companion to safety. It was a gripping show of pure instinct and loyalty. The dog pawed his still companion, gripped its fur and skin and dragged it a few feet, rested, and then dragged it a few more feet toward the edge of the interstate. It was obvious the dog hit was dead, or very near death. A heavy weight. Amazingly, motorists were deft enough not to wipe out the heartbreaking spectacle. Mission accomplished, the hero dog gave out and splayed himself over his still companion.
The talking head said the video had been shown in the town it happened. Hundreds of calls flooded in from compassionate dog lovers asking to adopt the hero dog. If I didn't already have five dogs - three of which were "rescued" - I would have been one of the callers begging to adopt the creature that showed such loyalty - albeit instinct.
We've all seen video clips of our hero soldiers, whether in old clips of Vietnam war coverage, or recent Iraq house-to-house combat. I've watched soldiers drag their comrades in battle to safety - real time - and have been moved beyond words at their bravery. Of course. there's really no comparison. But, this simple, over exposed video was the epitome of devotion.
All of us this past year most likely at some point felt we were in the middle of a busy interstate, life rushing at us, with the need to break away. Or we can pinpoint someone struck by "life" in need of a friend guided by instinct to shepherd us to safety. Loyalty is rare indeed, and a precious gift, to give or receive.
The image was hard to erase, and the lesson learned by this raw video will last a long while.
Writer Laurie Everett may be contacted at email@example.com.