There was a pack of dogs racing back and forth through the wooded area of the park and Ray was all charged up. Usually when a pack races in the woods, Ray runs in the open area bordering the woods, yelling all the way. He tries to keep up (usually he's half a turn behind) and he's come close to the rock before, but he always swerves at the last minute, either just missing it or grazing it just a bit. I usually try to keep an eye out, and if he gets too close, I yell, "BE CAREFUL," but mostly Ray keeps track of it (I don't know how, he just does.)
Today I had turned away for a moment and when I turned back he was in the midst of a full-on collision. His head and neck snapped around, he staggered, then walked away licking his nose. I thought for sure this was it. This was the one to do him in. I ran over to him, grabbed his collar, and led him away, looking for signs of blood. I pulled his lips back to see if he'd smashed his teeth. Nothing. I made him stay still, while I checked him over, then turned him loose. He ran and yelled like he normally does. All I could think of was the headache he must have.
I've always known that Ray is not likely to be a long-lived dog. I figure he'll die of a broken neck from slamming into something (like today). Or Gregg and I will slip up, Ray will get out of the house or yard and get hit by a car. It will only take one mistake on our part for this to happen. Just one. It's a sobering reality for me. Like the thought of Murphy moving away, I try not to think about it. But it's there. Lurking in the back of my mind all the time. And today the harsh reality struck Ray in the face while I stood by helpless. I'm guessing that will happen at the end too.