Monday, April 14, 2014

Trust & Jump

It's a lousy photo and a lengthy post--but a good story.

I can't quite remember this young fella's name, so I'll call him Charlie if that works for you.

Several summers ago I was driving along my favorite tree-lined stretch of road by our place, when I came around a curve--and there he was. Dead center in the middle of the street, head held high, watching my car come straight at him.

I was a little worried about approaching this particular canine; his stance made him look powerful and ready to deal with me. But a dog on his own needs a human's help. Period. So I always stop. I figure that nothing on my schedule is more important than trying to keep someone from dying that day.

He was wet from nose to tail and covered in burs. I walked toward him, making a mental inventory of the food I had on me to coax him into the car. The pickin's were slim: a tube of toothpaste and a handful of Tums. But as it turned out, human kindness was temptation enough. He broke from his I'm-bigger-than-you posture to close the distance between us, hungry for me to touch him--which I was hungry to do.

When I asked if he wanted to get into my car, he used his whole body to say, "Hell, yeah." He jumped into the passenger seat, and before I could lecture him on the wisdom of accepting rides from strangers, he let his legs collapse under him and plunged into sleep. I still remember the heft of his head in my lap.

That single moment is the one I return to time and again when I think about Charlie (and the trusting nature of Dog). He could have bolted when he saw me getting out of my car. But he made the monumental decision to stop fending for himself, and turn his fate over to me--a person he had never met.

Mark and I put up a couple of signs, asked neighbors if they knew him, and phoned local vet clinics and bars. And then we waited. The next morning we got a call from Charlie's person who had gotten our information from a restaurant where we'd left word.

The poor man had been looking for his dog late into the night, driving door to door, asking people if they'd seen him. In fact, he'd actually driven up our driveway, but--deciding it looked like no one was home--pulled out again. (Sometimes life imitates scenes from made-for-TV movies.)

Here's the back story. Charlie had begun the trip downriver in his man's canoe, but at some point realized he'd rather be in the water.

He swam next to the canoe for awhile, got out to run along shore, then got back into the river. But at some point he took off into the woods on a grand adventure, forgetting to triangulate where the canoe would end up when he was ready to head home.

Anyway, Charlie was reunited with his person, and all was right with the world.

Now. I don't want to get all metaphysical on you... but I've done enough dog-saving to know one thing for sure. The universe steps up to help me. I never worry, What the heck am I going to do with this dog? If I bring the pup into safety and try to find his person--or a new person for him--it always, always works out. Always. Just like Charlie trusted me, I trust the forces of nature that want such things to have happy endings.

So that's my brain fodder for today. I'm going to think back over the many times when I took a scary leap because it was the right thing to do... and had someone slip me a soft landing.


  1. You were born to write this blog. These stories are simply wonderful.

    1. Thanks for your kind thoughts, Martha--they mean a lot to me. It does sort of feel like these stories are waiting at the door to get out. :)

  2. Charlie picked the right car to stare-down!


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