LOVE THOSE WHO NEED YOU MOST. LET LOVE BE YOUR MISSION.
In 2011, when my family abandoned me; when I was alone and desperately trying to hold on to a job; when I was more depressed than anyone could imagine--begging for the pain to end-- I surrendered all.
After an exhausting day of teaching, I looked forward to the mindless, one hour drive to my home in a nearby city. Instead of taking my usual route on the busy interstate, I found myself on the deserted, two-lane road known as the old highway. Glancing in my rear-view mirror I noticed an older car, black with tinted windows, riding my bumper. The car “hung on” relentlessly to the back of my car, around curves, over railroad tracks and soon, my irritation became panic. I made a quick decision to turn off the old highway at the very next driveway or intersection. In those few seconds, I felt guided by an unseen power. A few more miles and—spotting a gravel driveway on the right --I turned into the abandoned church parking lot. Immediately, I felt relieved when the old car sped past me.
On one side of the driveway something had caught my attention and, after parking the car, I went back to investigate. Almost hidden among thick, tall weeds was a large puppy, completely wrapped in wire. The brindle-colored dog was alarmingly-thin and covered with swarming flies, deer ticks, and maggots. Most alarming was the fresh blood dripping from open wounds on his head. One of his ears hung loosely, as if cut by a sharp object and he panted heavily in the 100 degree heat. There was no way to tell how long the poor dog had been in a crouched position--- unable to sit, lie down, or stand---- due to the wire’s razor-sharp barbs. Obviously dehydrated, the starving animal was suffering in the severe heat and desperately in- need of medical attention.
About a mile down the road, I found a general store. After buying wire cutters and heavy gloves, I hurried back to free my trapped friend. Cutting the deadly wire wasn’t easy and I didn’t know how the dog would react once he was free. But, I wasn’t alone; just as an unseen power had directed me to this spot and guided my heart---he also guided my hands. Several weeks later, after more than one thousand dollars-worth of complicated surgeries, medication for infections, and multiple blood transfusions, Cubby Bear became my new and forever-- best friend.
When I rescued Cubby, he weighed thirty pounds and the veterinarian estimated he was nine months old. Five years later, Cubby weighs more than one hundred pounds and is adored by all who meet him! Cubby is beautiful with a strong personality but he’s also very kind and gentle. Cubby has such a caring heart and he loves my three kitty cats. Best of all, Cubby loves me.
Driving on the old highway that August day, heartbroken and wanting my life to end, I found Cubby Bear.
In truth, Cubby found me.
AND JUST A FEW DAYS AGO:
Fortunately, the dog I rescued from highway 7 was lost, not abandoned. She had a pink collar with a silver tag that shared her name, address, owner’s name and phone number. When I was unable to get anyone to answer the phone, Cubby and I took our new friend home.
Once I arrived home I tried the number again and this time-- the owner answered. He was surprised that his much-loved dog was not in the backyard where he’d left her. Within ten minutes, Keeley’s owner pulled in my driveway to take her home. I’m confident Keeley will be watched more-closely in the days ahead. Cubby and I are very relieved that our brief encounter with Keeley had a happy ending.
Interesting that later that afternoon, I felt the need to search for CHI’s Senior Citizen’s Center. Among my many treasures from China, I had as many as 15 elaborate decks of cards, some with enlarged numbers and all…brand new. I decided a Center for Seniors might be able to use them so…I went in search of the Center located near Hot Springs Village. Once again, my journey took me on Highway 7 but this time, in a different direction.
The Center was closed and-- as I was leaving-- I spotted a young, medium sized dog, colored in a mix of black, brown, and white. I stopped the car close by and—for a few seconds—looked into the face of a beautiful dog with the most loving eyes. She wouldn’t allow me close enough to touch her but she didn’t run far away. It was no coincidence that a few hours later, when I opened my phone, I read a message posted on NEXTDOOR NEIGHBOR. A woman who frequented the Senior Center described a “precious” dog she saw in the parking lot who appeared to be abandoned.
It was the same young dog I’d seen earlier. For the past three days, I’ve been feeding the dog. Remember: Earning someone’s Trust takes time and--lots of patience.
I posted my efforts to rescue the dog on NEXTDOOR. I also urged everyone to help me find her a loving, forever home. My yard is small, unfenced, and I want this young dog to run-free, safe, and secure. So far, several people have volunteered to help me rescue the dog I call: Bella Boo. I’ve also had some phone calls from those with fenced yards who want to adopt her.
It’s no surprise that the four days I used to “find myself” were busy and productive. After all, God was "in charge". I can’t help but remember the touching , long-ago lyrics written so beautifully by Oscar Hammerstein:
"A Bell isn't a Bell---'til you ring it.
A Song isn't a Song---'til you sing it. And...
Love in your heart wasn't put there to stay....
Love isn't Love--'til you give it away. "