Yesterday I had an unexpected visitor. I was home yesterday afternoon, preparing to take my dog Bella to the vet. I opened up my garage door, loaded her up into my car, and quickly ran back inside the house to grab my purse/keys. When I returned to the garage 40 seconds later, there was a guest in my garage.
She was a friendly little beagle, but seemed distressed and upset. She kept scratching on my house door for me to let me in the house. I live in a neighborhood of townhomes with lots of friendly neighborhood dogs who stop over occasionally to say 'hi,' but I had never seen this one. She had a collar, but no tags. And was quite thirsty and upset.
Hmm... what to do... I think to myself. CRAP...I have a vet appt in about 40 minutes... I don't have time to deal with this... I don't want this responsibility right now... Shoot. Okay, deep breath, I probably have a little time to walk Beagle around the neighborhood and knock on a few doors. So I did. Nobody recognized her. Shoot. Not feeling good about dropping her back off in the streets and driving to my vet appointment, I decided to take her with. I put her in a kennel and loaded her up in my car (she did NOT approve of this, as she howled the entire time I drove to the vet). I wanted to see if she was micro-chipped.
The vet advised me she was not chipped. Double shoot. Additionally, the vet told me that beagles can roam a far distance from their home. They put their noses to the ground and follow a scent until they are who-knows-where. I wondered, then, why couldn't she smell her way back home?
As I drove home, my mind filled with worry. What am I going to do now? What if I can't find her home? It's obvious she belongs to someone; she's well groomed with a cute collar. Someone is missing her right now. But who? And where?
Well, I guess you are going to have to stay with me until I figure something out, until we have exhausted every option for getting you home.
So when I arrived home, I brought in Bella my Welsh Corgi, followed by Beagle. Beagle whined and whined. I fed her and gave her water, and gave her an extra bed. I pet her little wagging butt and told her I would do everything I could to get her home, to the owners she obviously was missing.
We walked around the neighborhood some more, still no dice. I made 10 signs and hung them up all over the neighborhood mailboxes, hoping someone would recognize her. I called Animal Control to see if she'd been reported missing, but they said they don't service my rural area. I began calling the vets in my town, as well as in the surrounding towns, to report a found beagle.
About 4 1/2 hours into my journey, and getting ready to make plans for Beagle to stay over night, I remembered the name of one pet hospital close by that I hadn't called. I picked up the phone, not feeling very optimistic.
Me: "Hi, um, I was just wondering if anyone had reported a missing beagle recently?"
Vet office: (Surprise in her voice) "Well YES, we actually had one reported missing this morning. A female."
Me: "OH REALLY??" (hopeful). Well, I had one show up in my garage today. She's not micro-chipped and has no tags."
Vet office: "Does she have a green collar?"
Vet office: (now sounding so excited her voice was a little shaky) "Her name is Lexie. And her owner is VERY distressed and would love to hear from you. Here's his number."
I called the owner, Jake, and sure enough, Lexie was his. He and his girlfriend had been looking for her all day after her leash thingy broke when she was outside going potty. She took off and they couldn't catch her. He was visiting his girlfriend's house, who lived 6 miles away from me (he and the dog actually live about 35 miles away on the other side of town, which explains why the dog couldn't smell her way back home).
I took Lexie over to his girlfriend's house. He was waiting in the driveway. Lexie, after sitting on my lap while I was driving, licking my face nonstop, jumped off my lap and into the arms of her beloved owner.
Driving home, all I could think was that God put Lexie the Beagle in MY garage, at that exact moment, (literally I would have been gone a couple minutes later) because he knew I would help. He knew what I was capable of achieving, more than I did. He knew Lexie needed help. I had this immense emotion of feeling so grateful that I didn't turn my head when I first saw her and say this is someone ELSE'S problem, I don't have time for this.
It made me think about my diabetes and celiac, and how many times I've approached people in the co-op or grocery store who I recognize are diabetic (fellow pumpers) or celiac (gluten free food in the cart) and offered support. How many times I've thought 'what a coincidence that I was in the store at the same time as that person.' It is no coincidence. God knows what we are capable of, who we are capable of affecting and helping. He knows our strengths better than we do. He challenges us by putting us in certain situations and hopes we make the right decision to help.
I was like Lexie at one time. I was lost, lonely, didn't feel I had a voice and didn't think anyone could help me. I didn't know where to go. I didn't know how to manage my diseases or whether I would be able to live a normal life again. Messages of encouragement were sent, tweets, emails, and even "coincidental" blog postings that talked about exactly what I was thinking about/feeling that day.
I hope I have more opportunities to throw someone a bone and that I will recognize the opportunity when it arrives. I hope you will, too.