You are driving late at night in a safe but deserted neighborhood when a dog suddenly darts in front of your car. Though you slam on the brakes, you hit the animal. Would you stop to see how injured the animal was? If you did so and found that the dog was dead but had a name tag, would you contact the owner?
My answer to this is going to make me come off as the kind of person who hates animals. I don’t. I like animals just fine. But this is actually a point of frustration for me. At least, it was when I found myself driving in a rural county where both wild and domestic animals would dart out in front of my car. I’ve always wondered what the statistics are in Floyd County regarding people who have had pets killed by passing cars. Because nobody has fences and no one uses leashes out there. I never actually hit anything, but I came way too close way too often.
If it’s late at night, I don’t care what neighborhood I’m in. There’s a really good chance I’m not going to stop to check on whatever it is I hit. I’ll feel guilty about it, sure. But I can’t know for sure it’s a dog, right? A small animal runs in front of me and I don’t have time to appropriately hit the brakes, who’s to say it’s not a squirrel or a possum?
But let’s say I did stop. Let’s say I see it’s someone’s dog and the tag gives me a way to contact the owner. I really don’t know how I would do if I decided to make that call. I would want to be sympathetic, because I know it sucks to lose a pet. It’s like a member of your family. At the same time, though, I’d want to yell at that idiot for not having his or her dog secured in their own yard or inside the house that late at night. I feel like I would do well with the sympathetic attitude unless the owner decided to get angry with me for not paying attention in the neighborhood. That’s when road rage Aaron would be unleashed.
Would you stop? Would you call?
*The Question of the Week can be found in The Book of Questions by Gregory Stock, Ph.D.