The tears in Ken McLennan’s eyes this Halloween are for what might have been.
On the night of Oct. 31 last year, he and best friend Penny, a 13-year-old boxer, were out for their regular walk among the kids trick-or-treating near their Redlands Road home when they were hit by a car while crossing the road.
“I heard (the vehicle) coming up the hill and the first I saw (of it was) when it turned and its headlights were right there and I just came down on the hood of the car with my fists,” he recalled this week, just a few days after surgery on his left knee as result of injuries from the accident.
“However, I guess I’m very lucky. Penny and I could have been (killed) or hurt worse.”
In addition to his knee, McLennan, an SPCA special constable, also suffered two back fractures (which fortunately didn’t require surgery) and injuries to both ankles.
But as difficult as life has been for the past 12 months for the pair, there is one positive he took away from the accident, which has helped him through the medical and rehabilitation processes.
“I’m just glad, especially on Halloween, it wasn’t a child. I’d sooner have me hit than a child,” said McLennan, his voice trembling. “My advice to people on Halloween is slow down, there are children out there. You’ve got to pay attention to what’s going on around you.
“You should do that anyway but especially on Halloween where everybody is out and they’re crossing the road back and forth. So this should be a very big wake up call for people.”
Adding to his emotional trauma on the night of the accident was Penny slipping her collar in fear and disappearing into the night.
“It scared the hell out of her and I couldn’t do anything,” he said. “I just laid there on the street until the ambulance came and took me to the hospital.”
McLennan adopted the dog several years earlier after Penny was found on a logging road near Kamloops cut up and emaciated.
The two formed a strong bond.
A small army of volunteers began the search for the dog and just when hope was beginning to fade, she was located by SPCA branch manager Carolyn Hawkins, 18 days after she first went missing.
Penny also bears physical and emotional scars from being hit that night.
“Now, if she hears a car or truck coming up the road behind us, she flips around to see what it is,” said McLennan. “But she’s tough. She’s a winner.”