Would You Have Confessed Your Guilt?

Would You Have Confessed Your Guilt?

Hi, folks. Indy here.

Today, my tail is tucked between my legs. I just learned that Flare, an energetic, reddish-colored golden retriever, disappeared on January 17th. I had to share this sad story with you.


Vicky’s fur baby, Flare, stood on his hind legs and wrapped his paws around his mom’s neck. Then he bounded out the front door and leapt into the back of her car. Flare probably counted all of his personal items, piled beside him in the back seat—dog food, his favorite treats, chew toys, a tattered blanket, a towel, and his leash. His tail wagged, whacking the back of the seat. How could it not? After all, he was off to doggie camp for a week while his mom vacationed in Florida. He couldn’t wait to visit his biological mother and sister, who waited for him at his auntie’s house.

The first two days were fun. Flare rolled in the snow, chased his tail, and nipped at his sister’s ears.

On the third day, Flare and his doggie mom and sister scouted the yard, sniffed, and then dropped land mines. His mom and sister returned home, but Flare didn’t. He just disappeared.

Family, friends, police, animal control service people, pet store owners, church members, taxi drivers, and even virtual strangers scoured the neighborhood. My pal, Terrol, set-up a Finding Flare Facebook page. Many people even spent their own money to print posters. Then they drove around, stopping at poles and stapling flyers that read:

Have You Seen My Dog, Flare?


I’m Vicky—Flare’s mom. My granddaughter and I are broken-hearted. Flare is five-years-old. When he’s on all fours, his head reaches about the height of our kitchen table. Flare wears a green collar. Flare’s veterinarian’s phone number is on his tag. Please help reunite us with our best friend.

Hours turned into days. Days turned into weeks. But Flare’s mom held out hope.

Even Vicky’s granddaughter toddled to the window and cupped her hands. “Come home, FlareBear. I wuv you.”

Was it possible someone had found Vicky’s fur baby? Had someone taken Flare in to shelter him from the burry cold?

Three weeks later, a message on Flare’s Facebook page flashed across the screen:

I am a train conductor and…I am writing this as a man with a guilty conscience! Unfortunately, I’m the one ultimately responsible for your dog’s passing.

I’d spotted a dog a-quarter-mile down the track. I blew the whistle and turned off the headlights, but there was nothing I could do. I contacted our dispatcher about the incident and informed him of the location.

The engineer and I were deeply saddened by the turn of events. We spent a quiet cab ride back.

I know this communication won’t ease the pain of losing a very fine looking pet, but I just had to let you know. I have friends with the same breed. They are such intelligent animals. I’ve also been a dog owner who lost my dog unexpectedly.

If you have any questions or comments for me, I will do my best to answer them! Once again, I am so sorry for your loss!

Garth N. Baker

Boy, Mr. Baker is one cool man. He didn’t have to confess. And imagine—posting this on Flare’s Facebook page for the whole world to read. He certainly didn’t have to sign his name, but he did.

I’m sure Flare is wagging his tail at you, Mr. Baker—a train conductor who loved a special fur baby too.

Would you have fessed up? Have you ever confessed to ease a guilty conscience despite possible consequences for doing so?

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36 Responses

  1. Wow! What a touching and sad story. I’m so impressed with the conductor who had the courage to confess and set at rest the hearts of the family who lost their dog. Thanks for posting this. I pray all those involved will be comforted.
    Laura Bennet recently posted..Are You Ready?My Profile

    • Hi Tina, The conductor found the “Finding Flare” page on Facebook put up by my friend, Terrol. It’s obvious from his letter he felt sick about hitting Flare.

  2. You just never know where love and compassion will come from when you need it most. Even when an ending in life isn’t what we expect, or even hope for, there is comfort to be found. This journey was one of hope and fear and tremendous sadness but also one of complete and total unconditional love. What a lesson and thank you so much Tracy for sharing.

  3. Wow what a sad story, but what a fine human being to let Flare’s mom know. If nothing else, it let’s her know that he is not wandering aimlessly or worse, had been picked up for nefarious purposes.

    Yes I would confess, I already carry too much guilt as it is, I couldn’t handle anymore.
    Jodi recently posted..I Hear You KnockingMy Profile

    • Yes, Jodi, at least Flare’s mom had closure even though I’m sure it broke her heart. Thanks for answering the question I (Indy) posed, and I’m glad you’d confess. I would too! 🙂

    • Glad to hear you’d confess, Vivian. There’s nothing worse than not knowing what might have happened to a fur baby, especially when they are such a huge part of our lives. 🙂

  4. Tracy,
    what a lovely post. Sad but powerful. The conductor was so open, transparent. Exactly how God wants us to be.
    Thanks for coming over and commenting on my post. I am so curious what ideas my post sparked.
    Janis Cox recently posted..TISSUE TADEO – Crafts for KidsMy Profile

    • Hi Janis, It’s always sad losing a pet (fur baby), but the conductor gave this family closure, and you’re right that’s exactly how God wants us to act and respond. And you’re most welcome. I loved your turtle craft. The steps were easy to follow and any child or parent will be able to do this. The idea your post sparked for me is to remember when I’m painting, not to be afraid to try new techniques. I do use the saran wrap method quite a bit and to keep the paint from drying too quickly I add an extender.

  5. What a sad story, Tracy. Like the conductor, I would have confessed. It was no one’s fault, and the family needed to know the truth and have an apology and comfort from the conductor. Still, it’s so sad. Such a darling dog.
    Marylin Warner recently posted..A CLEAN SWEEPMy Profile

  6. A very touching story Tracy. Very sad for Flare and his owners. Possibly the man had been checking to see if someone posted about their dog missing in that area where he had hit the dog. I have never had a Facebook so I don’t know how it works. He must have felt horrible. And they do have closure. So sad. I too would have contacted the owners. Our animals are like children. My daughter and her husband (then fiance) have found 2 stray dogs while walking their 2 dogs in the past few months. One had an ID on it to contact the vet and they were able to locate the owner. The 2nd dog didn’t have a tag so they took the dog in and posted signs everywhere and went to local vets. One night they were walking the 3 dogs in a different area and a woman stopped and named the dog and said it was her dog. It was. The funny thing is that the dog must have got loose again from the owners property and found his way all they way to my daughter’s front door. Of course they took the dog back. Dogs are family.
    petit4chocolatier recently posted..Chocolate Cupcakes with Irish Ale, Rosemary, Cherry icing, and a Stemmed Maraschino Cherry in Pink Vanilla on TopMy Profile

    • Hi Judy,
      Yes, the conductor searched Facebook and found the page my friend Terrol put up. If she hadn’t created a Page, which anyone can access, Vicki probably wouldn’t have ever found out what happened to Flare.
      I’m sure your daughter’s neighbor was so grateful, especially knowing her dog had been taken care of. And it’s sweet that the dog returned to your daughter’s home. Dog’s know a great person when they meet one. 🙂