Boy devastated after dog killed in hit-and-run
A TRAGIC hit-and-run of a beloved pet on Boxing Day could have been an invaluable lesson in forgiveness for Pheonix Brittain.
But instead the 12-year-old has been left wondering how someone could have driven off without a trace after striking his french bulldog Rusty outside his Gulliver home.
"We got him this little stocking for Christmas and he was playing around with it," Pheonix said.
"I had been picking (the toys up) and there's a gap still at the back of the house, where the soil is really soft, and he must have dug out and I was looking for him."
Pheonix's mum Sue said by the time she reached the front of the house they had heard tyres screeching.
"I looked at (Rusty) and his whole back section, he was just dragging it," she said.
The 13-month-old pup had been a gift for Pheonix, and had taken to sleeping at the edge of his bed and following him around everywhere.
Ms Brittain said she took full responsibility for Rusty escaping and running onto the road, and all she had wanted was for the driver to stick around so she could teach her son about forgiveness.
"Pheonix was really angry at the driver and I'm trying to explain to him that it's moments like this that determine who you're going to be as an adult," she said.
"You can be angry and upset at people for the wrong reasons or forgiving and understanding for the right ones. But if there's no one there how do you that?"
The pair scooped Rusty up and were rushed to the James Cook University vet by a neighbour.
Despite their best efforts the little dog could not be saved and was euthanised that evening.
Ms Brittain said Rusty's body would remain at the JCU vet clinic until such time that she could rustle up the money needed to cremate the pet.
"This was our happy family," she said.