Our Summer Miracle
(Published: Fresh Ink 2008)
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.
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.
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 of strangers.
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.
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
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
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.
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?