Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Lost man, found dog


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.

8 comments:

Houndward Bound said...

I always wonder what someone's final moments are that drive resisted thoughts of suicide to action. What causes their ultimate loss of hope...

Amy said...

How very sad.

Thε Countεss said...

This is very sad. RIP to the man.

Anonymous said...

How brutal!!!!! sad so very very sad!!

Social Mange said...

I thought this was one of your stories until the Stella reference clicked.

Poor man. I feel sorry for his family.

redstarcafe said...

This poor man. I cannot fathom the depth of his feelings of hopelessness. My animal companions have always been the ones to pull me out of dark times amd my reason to keep on.

Anne said...

the incidence of suicide for people with pet's is significantly reduced (so i've heard)

But the president of our shelter committed suicide a few years ago (she was going through a nasty divorce) and did it while her dogs were home with her, and left 3 horses behind as well.
it always seemed so horrible- to kill yourself while your dogs are waiting for you to come out of the room (or to do it while your dogs watch)

Anonymous said...

oh Lord
just one other person in the same place at the same time...............a friendly smile, a sharing of dog stories...