On Connor and maybe some lessons

UPDATE: Connor’s owner has spoken out and reveals a dog sitter left a door open

This a reflective post about the live video I shared on Friday. Connor was a loose dog along the Cherry Creek trail who avoided animal protection officers and then ultimately got hit by a car. Connor was euthanized shortly after being hit because of severe spinal injuries.

Over that last few days I’ve dwelled much on Friday’s horrible incident.

I’ve avoided talking about it with people as my consciousness battles with itself through feelings of guilt and regret.

The image of Connor in the middle of the road is painfully hard to forget and I confess I feel responsibility for sharing something so tragic before a mass audience.

Perhaps this public post will help air out the circumstances of this horrible situation and help me, as selfish as this may sound, come to terms with my role in making this so public.

When the sirens screamed past my office window and when I heard there was a dog stuck in the rushing water, my inherent reaction as a reporter was to dash outside and capture the moment.

I was expecting a dramatic rescue as I made my way to the water. I saw the fire department’s rescue crews ready to take action.

As I began my live broadcast, it became quickly clear the audience was captivated by Connor’s situation. Thousands of observers through the feed invested much emotion into the poor animal as things unfolded in real time.

As many of you unfortunately saw in the live video, after Connor fled the field of view and entered Speer Boulevard, I came upon him in the middle of the road after being hit by a car. This was captured in the feed.

Hindsight tells me maybe I should have panned away from the disturbing image or cut the live feed.

I don’t know if what I did and captured was appropriate.

With 1,000+ viewers currently watching and commenting every second, perhaps I became more focused on the needs of the audience to receive a documented ending to what they invested in.

I’m not sure if I handled the situation correctly and to be absolutely honest, I’ve been plagued by the thought that it was quite absurd of me to even begin broadcasting in the first place.

I’ve received a phenomenal amount of feedback about the situation.

Some of it is quite ugly, including this message below from a viewer. I must admit I was defensive in response to this guy as I opened up my inbox as I left the scene.

response

At the end of the day, I sat down with an animal protection officer to talk about what happened in an effort to find some sort of lesson with Connor’s story.

For those of you who saw this unfold, I’d like to apologize about what you saw.

But most of all, I hope the family who lost Connor will find strength. I can’t imagine losing my dog in a tragic situation and I know I’d be devastated.

If there is any scant crumb of value out of this incident, I do sincerely hope the thousands of people who saw this will double check their fences and doors.

15 thoughts on “On Connor and maybe some lessons

  1. Jeremy,
    There are always people full of hate for any post nowadays. What we saw on camera was heartbreaking, but isn’t that what reporting stories is all about? I know this was as traumatic for you as it was for all of us watching. Thank you for keeping us posted. I hope we get to hear from Connor’s owners; this is so tragic for them. Keep up the good work. I am a new fan 🙂

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    1. Jeremy Jojola

      Thank you very much. I appreciate the nice words. If Connor’s owners, by chance, come across this post, I’d like to hear from them. But I’m sure it’s quite difficult to see this happen.

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  2. Erin

    I didnt see this broadcast, but after reading your account here I can only imagine how hard that was; I am sorry for everyone involved. The observer effect is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma sealed in a steel box with Schrödinger’s cat. Those of us called to document the world around us cannot help but wonder if we ever truly capture it in its purest state, uninfluenced by our presence. It is highly improbable that we leave any space or time without setting off our own ripple outward. In times like you describe, maybe the only thing we can control is the choice to make our presence positive, even when the outcome is not. You observe events and document them with mindfulness…it is noticed and greatly appreciated. Thank you for sharing your perspective, even (or perhaps especially?) when it is most difficult.

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  3. Heather Small

    I didn’t see the entirety of your feed when these events unfolded but as humans and probably more specifically, as Americans, we have become far too shielded from reality and as such, we have allowed gross injustices, abuse, and irresponsibleness to become pervasive in our society. When we have to turn our eyes away from the slightest of painful realities, lest we become offended, we allow ourselves to live in ignorance. I live a plant based life and the volume of horrendous abuses I’ve seen on camera is astonishing. And of course there are always those asking why film such a thing or why not intervene. Until people are willing to start paying attention to what’s going on in this world, there MUST be those to document. To be a witness. To open the eyes of those so determined to keep them squeezed shut. The part of your story I saw, it was clear you were not sensationalizing anything and I think anyone that follows you knows you are a dog lover and were probably very emotionally invested in the events surrounding that dog. I don’t know if this dog was owned or a stray, or the degree of negligence of its owners if owned, but I do know it IS important for people to understand what happens when people do not take precautions with their pets. It IS important for people to understand what overpopulation leads to with animals, what life a stray dog leads and the often far too likely outcome. It doesn’t not happen or become less tragic just because no one is forced to see it. But when people DO see it, it invokes emotions and emotions are what inspire people to pay attention, get involved, change. If your intentions were good, that is all that matters. And on a side note, as for the ugly exchange from the message you shared….that individual’s language and approach to conflict is far more ugly and offensive than your coverage of this event. If for no other reason than he comes from a place of ill intent and some oddly placed rage, though the word choices didn’t help him one bit either.

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    1. Jeremy Jojola

      Thank you Heather. Your words make me feel more accepting of this incident. In this day of instant feedback, it’s often we’ll get an avalanche of negative responses (like the angry one) and I’d be lying if I said these things are discouraging. For now animal control is calling this situation a horrible human mistake and the owners will not face any citations at this point. Thanks for reading my post. I hope you’re doing well. 🙂

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  4. Kraig Braeuning

    So I am the owner of Connor. He was my best friend and like a child to me. He was super well loved and not neglected. I went out of town Thursday to Vail like I have many times. I hired a national pet sitting service like I have done many times for a lot of money. Connor was super sweet and loved everyone. For some reason, the sitter scared him. The sitter made multiple mistakes that cost him his life. He left the door open and chased him when he was scared. The company has offered me thousands of dollars but no amount of money will bring him back. I just hope nobody else’s experience such a loss. He was not neglected. He slept in my bed every night and went everywhere with me. I hope his death is not in vain. No matter how sweet your dog is he might meet one person he doesn’t like and get scared. He was in fight or flight mode and choose to flight. He wouldn’t hurt a fly. Heather and anyone else don’t jump to conclusions before you know the facts. I would give my life to have him back. He was my world and now he’s gone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Heather Small

      Kraig, I am very sorry for your loss. I can imagine the sorrow you are feeling. I would be at a complete loss if it was me. I did not intend to jump to conclusions which is why I stated I did not know the degree of negligence of the owners. Perhaps it was poorly phrased but I said that in an attempt to make it clear that I had no idea what the circumstances were and what role the owners played in the incident (or didn’t play as the case appears to be). Oddly, as I was writing it I thought that if the owners read it and were not in any way responsible or did everything they could to prevent it, I would not want them to feel bad because of my statement. At any rate, I apologize as I clearly failed to accomplish that. I adhere to the overriding message I was attempting to convey but do apologize if it seemed I was assuming you were at fault without knowledge of the specifics.

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  5. Jeremy Jojola

    I plan to update this story/post with a new perspective from the owner. Anytime an innocent animal dies, we want to find a reason. I’m sure all of us can find solace that Conner was loved by his owner. Thanks for connecting Kraig. Heather is a good person and it’s clear many were very touched by Connor’s situation.

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  6. Kraig Braeuning

    I appreciate her second response. I just want to make sure that everyone knows how loved he was. My heart breaks knowing how scared he was. Dogs are super smart. I work 2.4 miles from my house. Connor was taking a direct path to my job and was halfway there. I can only assume he was trying to find me and truly devastated on how it ended. Thanks for everyone’s support. I can only hope something good comes from this.

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    1. Ali DeSimone

      Kraig.. I have to say how deeply sorry I am for your loss. This story has impacted me in ways I cannot describe. I was there with two other ladies before anyone else (fire dept, news crews, animal control) arrived. I was relieved when he got off of Speer but then was terrified again watching him navigate the rough waters of the creek. I will never forget him and have thought a million times in the last 5 days about what could have been. Maybe if we had more time before all of the people arrived…maybe then he would have come to us.. but I too was relieved when the fire dept showed up thinking they would get in the water and save him and all would be ok. They yelled at the three of us to get away from the water..I understand why they did this..but it was a helpless feeling. I am just so sorry his story ended the way it did.. it is not fair, it is not right but one thing I can promise you is he was loved by me and those 2 other ladies there .. and many others impacted by his story I’m sure! I would give anything to have the story end a different way. Having lost my best friend of 17 years in November, I understand your heartache although I won’t pretend to relate as his death was not a tragedy like this. Look signs from Connor..he will let you know he is okay and still with you. ❤

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  7. Pingback: Owner of loose dog reveals sitter left door open – JEREMY JOJOLA

  8. Kraig Braeuning

    Ali…Thank you for your efforts that day. I can only assume that the fire dept was looking out for your best interest and didn’t want you to get hurt. Either would I have. Its tough to look back and see the missed opportunities. Especially in your case because I have no doubt that you and the other two ladies would have brought comfort to Connor. Although Connor had a lot of exposure to males, his usual sitter was a girl and his sitter in Orlando was two ladies. He also lived with my mother for an extended period of time. It means a lot to me that you did all you could to help him and I can’t thank you enough. I can only imagine that he is chasing tennis balls in doggie heaven now. Take care.

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  9. A terrible ordeal. Everyone makes mistakes and gets upset. It sounds like everyone is trying to resolve this on their own way. A tragic accident. Society seems bent on laying blame which causes more heartache.

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  10. Kraig Braeuning

    Thanks for your comment. I sent a message through Rover to the dog walker to let him know that I forgave him and knew it was a mistake. Didn’t want him to have that burden. Life goes on…Connor is in heaven with my Dad.

    Like

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