I will not forgive the man who killed my dog

· Essay

On Tuesday last week, someone killed my best friend. Muli (pronounced moo-lee) was the gentlest, laziest, most caring friend I’ve ever had. Most of his days were spent lounging on the most comfortable carpet in the building, or at least the most comfortable one within 10 steps of his food. That peaceful slumber belied how ferocious a guard dog he was - it was common understanding in our house that Muli would bark like a hellhound and defend us at all costs, until the robbers scratched his chin or gave him a pat.

He never bit anyone, no matter how grumpy they were with him. He sat by your side when you were sick, and all he asked for was some food and a good nap.

Kids loved Muli. Adults loved Muli.

I loved Muli. And I always will.

9 days ago, the fuzzball trotted just outside the door to my father’s office because the butcher next door had thrown out a scrap for him. We never worried about him doing that because he was possibly the most traffic mindful dog in the world, and on top of that, the carpark was private and small. While Muli was eating his steak, someone sped into that small carpark, swerved at the last second to make a turn into a carport, and killed Muli instantly.

An employee of my father’s was the first to notice Muli lying in a pool of blood, his tail wagging limply. He called my dad out of his office while he himself ran to the man who was entering a neighbouring building. While my dad held my dying dog, the man who hit him shrugged and said that he didn’t see Muli.

My dad called me immediately, and I was there in less than 10 minutes. The man had already left. That is why I will never forgive him.

How should we forgive?

Humans are a species of contradiction. Despite every evolutionary fibre in our being telling us to look out for number one, we still care about one another. It’s difficult, though, to care and love without hurting ourselves in the process. Some people solve that dilemma by always giving second chances, some solve it by never giving second chances. I’ve lived my life between those two. I give as many chances as I can because I believe everyone is capable of growth and change, given the opportunity. Sometimes, I don’t have it in me to do that. When that happens, I tell those around me, give myself time away, and then return healed and ready to trek on through the ups and downs of life and relationships.

That forgiveness hinges upon the fact that each of us deserves an equal shot in the world, and each of us is capable of being better.

When someone shrugs off killing something out of negligence, I can’t see any potential. When someone confronted with the fact that they could have just as easily killed a child shrugs it off, I can’t see any potential. When someone fails to make even the most basic attempt at an apology, I see nothing in them. The man who killed my dog left a grieving family without any acknowledgement.

Moreover, he will never bear the pain I’ve had to bear over this. He’ll not even receive a traffic infringement. I don’t believe in an eye for an eye, but if we all deserve an equal shot in the world, then he deserves to at least understand my pain, if not share it as we grieve together.

All I wanted to do to the man was ask that he volunteer with an animal shelter, go vegetarian, never take his eye off the road again, or anything to grow and learn from his mistake. That’s the most important part of earning forgiveness. But I’ll never get to tell him that. I’ll never even see his face or know his name. Instead, I’ll remember my father calling me, sobbing, me asking what was wrong, and then finding out my best friend was dead.

Picture of Muli