It's cold out tonight in the mountains between Pine and Payson, and there's someone worrying about his or her dog not being home in her warm place, where she belongs.
About two miles north of Payson on Highway 87, there's a dog at the side of the road, just inside the guard rail who doesn't feel the cold. A dog who will never hear her master's voice or feel his hand petting her head.
Earlier in the day she was in the road, Highway 87, and the car was so fast she couldn't get out of the way. Then the sickening thud. And the car probably never slowed down. We know that they didn't stop and help her.
We saw her struggling and stopped the car. She was bleeding from her eye and her mouth. She was stunned, frightened, going into shock, so I stroked her and tried to comfort her with my words.
She seemed to understand, her body relaxing. Suddenly she struggled to get up, looking into my eyes, with a "help me, take me home," confused look in her eyes. Then the pain came, sharp and sudden and she lashed out and bit my ankle. I managed to jump away before she could really hurt me, she just left a mark. I knew she didn't mean to hurt me, I knew it was a reaction from the sharp pain she just felt. She sank back down onto the ground.
A kind man driving by, stopped his truck, and offered some advice on where a good veterinarian was in Payson. He later returned and said he was going to bring a board so that when the veterinarian or whatever help was coming, they could slip it under her to stabilize her while she was being lifted into whatever vehicle would be there to transport her to some veterinarian hospital.
I could see by the way she was breathing, struggling, that she was dying. All I could do was speak softly to her, touch her, let her know she wasn't alone, that someone cared.
There were no tags to tell the owner what happened. No closure for someone who waits for her to return.
Maybe this was your dog. She had a flea collar on. She was a medium-sized girl with big brown beautiful eyes. She looked like a hunting dog, white body with brown saddle, floppy hound ears.
Please know that she was not alone when she passed away, and when we began to pet her, she seemed to relax and knew she was in the presence of those who cared about her and wanted to help her.
I'm sorry we couldn't have done more.
Sharon Unkefer, Scottsdale
Editor's note: This letter was shortened to fit within the 400-word limit for letters to the editor.