Wednesday, June 16, 2010
They found the man's body at the dog park where I use to let Stella run and play with her friends. The man was hanging from a branch off one of the chestnut trees by the outdoor horse stalls. The man had used a leash. Beside him, waiting patiently until Toronto Animal Services picked him up, was his four month old puppy.
I hadn't gone into the park with Stella in months, ever since CNE security started cracking down on off leash dogs. I guess CNE management thought that by making the park inhospitable to dog owners, they would be making it a safer place. That would make CNE management stupid, shortsighted and lazy. All they ended up doing was turn a perfectly good, well-used, off-leash dog park into a deserted field.
I hadn't gone into the park in months so I didn't know the man who hung himself. I asked a few others who used to go to the park but they didn't know him either. He is a mystery to us.
I didn't know the man. I didn't see the body. The park was Stella's playground. The idea of a man hanging dead off the end of his dog's leash tied to a tree seems too abstract, incongruous, an almost ridiculous idea fit only for the opening of some murder mystery movie. Nevertheless, death has visited this most unexpected of places and in the most unexpected fashion.
Was the puppy foisted on the man in the last weeks of his life? Was it an attempt by the man himself to reconnect with the emotions that make a life worth living? Why did he bring the puppy with him? To bear witness? To let the pup know what happened to its owner? Or was the suicide an unexpected, spur of the moment decision, a culmination of months or years of inner turmoil? What was he thinking: I'm going to go walk my dog but I may or may not be back as I may decide to kill myself?
The pup has been claimed by the man's family. Apparently, this wasn't the man's first attempt at taking his own life. In the end there was not enough in this world to hold back the flood of pain that swept him away.