SIDNEY — When the Bechard family adopted Diesel last year, he warmed up to his new home quickly.

In the year since he’s lived in their Middle Road home, Diesel happily gets along with the family’s cats, chickens, rabbits and two other dogs.

When he’s outside, Diesel ranges between the Bechards’ home and Bechard’s father and aunts’ houses next door.

Diesel always stayed away from the road.

That’s what makes the Monday hit-and-run crash that’s left the dog seriously injured all the more heartbreaking. The Bechards believe whoever hit Diesel drove up onto the lawn to do it.

Now Diesel is immobilized with two broken front legs, and the family is forced to make a painful choice — try to scrape together the money to treat their dog or put him down.

Owner Gerry Bechard was struggling to make that decision Tuesday afternoon.

“There’s no skid marks. It looks like he was intentionally hit,” Bechard said in an interview Tuesday at his house as Diesel lay nearby, wrapped in a blanket on the living room floor in front of the family’s Christmas tree.

Bechard’s girlfriend, Becky Nutter, and teenage son Jake soothed the injured animal. Diesel occasionally whimpered in pain and fear despite prescription painkillers.

Diesel has a deep bark and can look intimidating, but at heart he just wants to be loved and paid attention to, Bechard said. He loves his oversized tennis ball and always jumps into the truck for a ride to the store.

“He’s only been in the road once or twice, when we first got him,” Bechard said.

From the evidence they’ve been able to piece together, the dog wasn’t in the road Monday either when he got hit. There are tire tracks in the soft wet earth at least 8 feet from the edge of the road, where Bechard said Diesel was hit.

“If he was out in the road, I could swallow it,” said Gerard Bechard, Gerry’s father. But someone hitting the dog while he was in the front yard is unsettling.

Sgt. Scott Mills, of the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office, said Tuesday that he didn’t have much information about the crash, and he hasn’t identified a vehicle or driver. The vehicle pulled off to the side of the road for about a minute after it hit the dog, then turned around and took off, he said.

The caller who notified the Augusta communications center said the vehicle swerved off the road to hit the dog, but “there is no evidence to support that,” Mills said.

Bechard was home at the time of the crash, but he didn’t hear what happened. His aunt called to say she’d seen a vehicle slow down on the road around the same time, but no one stopped.

Bechard found Diesel outside and tried to check him over while his father called the police.

He already had taken the dog to an emergency clinic in Lewiston when Kennebec County deputies came to the house. They told the family that the chance of finding the driver who struck their dog isn’t good, Bechard said.

The vehicle hit Diesel head-on and broke both front legs right above the wrist. Diesel got temporary splints Monday night, but he needs to be worked on by a specialist, an expense Bechard and his family can’t afford.

A pet hospital in Winthrop said it could give him a quote after an X-ray that cost $170. Another pet hospital in Norway said the cost to fix up Diesel would be $3,000 to $4,000 and maybe more.

Bechard said it would take him six months to come up with that kind of money, and he doesn’t have a credit card he can charge it to.

That doesn’t leave him many options. Diesel needs immediate help. The latest he could be treated would be Wednesday morning.

“Right now we’re trying to look around and find out if anyone can help,” Bechard said. “It doesn’t look good.”

Having Diesel put down is a painful call to make, but in the end it might be the most humane one. The dog would have to recuperate for two months and might not ever fully recover. Bechard worried that Diesel’s injuries could lead to arthritis or worse in the future. He deals with chronic pain in his shoulder, and he doesn’t want his dog to go through life with the same problems.

The family was fighting back tears as they discussed what to do.

Bechard’s son, Jake, got off a cellphone, saying another relative found a nearby animal hospital that might help them if they couldn’t pay, but Bechard wasn’t sure it was set up to fix the dog’s broken legs.

His father, Gerald, said he was sorry he didn’t have the money to help, but reminded Bechard that the dog’s life wouldn’t be the same even if the bones were set.

Bechard himself was angry with the driver who hit Diesel and frustrated that the clinic in Lewiston couldn’t do more than a temporary splint.

The family was trying to find a good outcome, but it seemed more and more that a decision was being forced on them.

“At the moment, it looks like we’re going to have to put the dog down,” Bechard said.

Peter McGuire — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @PeteL_McGuire

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