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Owning up to our mistakes

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By Tom Wilmoth

When we make a mistake, or do something wrong, we should never compound that wrong by failing to own up to the mistake.

A letter I received a week ago from Tiffaney Orange certainly points that out. I'll let the letter speak for itself.

Here it is:

What if it were a child?

It was already enough devastation that on Monday of last week, my mother had to come home to find her cocker spaniel, "Heidi" lying dead on her basement floor; a perfectly healthy dog that took ill, and within a weekend's worth of time died...

But on my way home from work Wednesday morning, two days later, my mother calls me hysterically again and tells me that her nearly 1-year-old dachshund, ?Jingles,? was just hit by a car, while standing in our yard, with my father.

The sad and most disturbing part of this is that the driver of the vehicle never tapped the breaks, never stopped and possibly never realized that due to their reckless driving and excessive speed, struck and killed another member to our family.

I?m not sure that people understand that it is a state law that you have to, at the least, attempt to notify a pet's owner when struck and if not, you can be charged by law for failing to report a motor vehicle accident.

What if it were a child?

This happened right at the time when children were going out to stand for school buses in a residential area on Woodhaven Drive, in a well known neighborhood just outside of the city.

Would you stop for a child?

If your answer is yes than answer this question: What?s the difference? Our child had four legs, so what?

I hate to say that during all of the commotion we were unable to get a license plate of the vehicle and would love for someone to be respectful enough to come back and admit to their wrong, but the unfortunate part of that is that the majority of people these days can?t admit that they are wrong. I have to say that is the most disappointing and aggravating part of it all.

My family actively acts as emergency medical providers for this community and what hurts the most is that we are here to serve and provide for everyone and in return we are disrespected and thanked like this. If you take anything with you from this horrible time of my life, take this, if you do happen to run into a situation like this ? remember that the animal you have struck or witnessed being struck does indeed belong to a loving family that would appreciate the respect deserved and to be notified.

Also if you are a witness, try and catch the vehicle description or license plate number and help the families' worries come to ease.

As for the person that hit our Jingles, you know who you are and if you choose not to turn yourself in and help my family from our suffering, then you will be the one that has to live with that guilt knowing that you had the chance to do the right thing.

To our loving angels, Rest in Peace Heidi and Jingles, we love you and will always miss you.

Love Dad, Mom, Courtney and Tiffaney

Doing the right thing sometimes means owning up to our mistakes. In the case above, though this family's pet wouldn't have been brought back by the driver stopping, at least such an action would have shown respect to the family by letting them know that the person who did it cared enough to stop and admit their mistake.

And it is the law.

In Virginia, pets are considered to be property and under the hit-and-run statute, if someone hits a pet they are supposed to report it within 24 hours. If the pet is hit while attended, such as happened in this case, that person is supposed to stop immediately.

Sometimes that can make a world of difference.

Don't let mistakes compound themselves by failing to own up to them. Following such a principle can make all the difference in our homes, with our neighbors and in every other aspect of life.

It's a simple act that can make a world of difference.