Our Summer Miracle
(Published: Fresh Ink 2008)
Our most profound experiences in life often come in unexpected ways. We seldom have control over incidents
that involve helping other people or animals. Yet inconveniencing ourselves to
meet the needs of the innocent and vulnerable brings its own reward.
When a female pit bull
showed up during the summer wandering around our neighborhood, traumatized and starving, everyone was distressed. No one could locate her owner. Although she ate the food and
drank the water that was put out for her, she wouldn’t let anyone near her. After
several weeks, one neighbor finally got close enough to catch her. She was clearly
terrified and refused to budge, so another neighbor bravely picked her up and carried her to a fenced-in space behind our
garage. We moved one of our doghouses into the area, and it became her home for
the next six weeks.
We have found homes for
six dogs over the past few years. All those dogs somehow found their way into
our yard. The first two we adopted, and our grandchildren insist that Muffin
and Barney told the others to “come on in—they’ll help you.”
Finding a home for an
abandoned pit bull is difficult, however. There’s no history in regard
to aggressiveness or any way to know if shots were given. So the first thing
we did was to muzzle her, carry her to the car and take her to the vet. He guessed
she was around nine months old. She weighed only forty pounds.
Once she had her shots, we
could begin to look for a home for her. A good bath brought out her lovely blue-gray
coloring, accenting her fine, clean lines. Her sweet personality began to emerge. Surely, someone would fall in love with her.
We spread the word that
this little dog needed a home and several people did come to see her. One couple
wanted her but found out that the mobile park where they lived required them to buy a very expensive insurance plan, because
she was a pit bull. She also was still very afraid of people. After weeks of coaxing and gentle persuasion, she let us get close enough to pet her but was afraid
She did like our dogs and would lay close to the
gate of the fenced-in area to be near them. They would often meet at the fence
and touch noses. Muffin and Barney were clearly concerned about our new tenant.
In case we failed to place
her, we checked into humane societies that didn’t put dogs down but found they wouldn’t take pit bulls. We called pit bull rescue centers, but they were full, of course.
Then the miracle email arrived. A young woman had heard about our rescue
from a friend in our area. She especially loved pit bulls and wanted a companion
for her own dog. There was just one problem.
We lived in southern California, and she lived in Oregon.
Emails went back and
forth. Her friend owned a pet-grooming business in a town close by, and she asked
if we would take the dog there for aggression evaluation. We did so, and our
sweet pit bull passed the long list of tests with flying colors. Her friend had
a digital camera and emailed a picture and the test results. Immediately, our
rescue dog had a potential new home.
Within a week, we were
putting her on a plane to Oregon. Our little dog was flying to her new home. Her
new owner was paying for the shipping crate and plane ticket. She emailed that
she had bought a Superman tag, a new leather collar and a mammoth bone and planned to have a bag of treats waiting for her.
The day my husband and
I left her at the airport, we felt as though we were leaving one of our children. She
had captured our hearts.
That evening we got an
email from her new owner stating that she had been fed and bathed and was sleeping peacefully on the couch. The email ended
with, “Thank you so much. We’re going to have a great life together!” Our three grandchildren were spending the summer with us and were gathered around
the computer. When the email came through that all was well, there was a lot
of cheering and clapping. Later, the new owner emailed pictures of our little
dog—sleeping in her bed, on the couch and playing with her other dog. The
once sad, pathetic little dog looked as though she was now in dog heaven.
Throughout this whole
adventure, all of us felt that regardless of how hopeless things appeared to be, we had to keep trying. There are times in life when you just know that you have to do what is in front of you to do, whether it
makes sense or not. I’ve had that experience with people, but this was
the first time with an animal.
Finding a home for this sweet
dog had a profound effect on all of us. Often, in life, there is an undercurrent
of meaning that is hard to describe. I still can’t find the words to explain
how we felt about finding this dog a new home and loving owner but isn’t that always true where faith and love are concerned?