At just 8 months old, dogs do not have an awful lot of life experience. However, no matter their age, a dog has an amazing ability to teach us life lessons. If, we open our eyes, ears, and hearts to them and pay attention. I have never met Dax, an 8 month old, brindle-colored Boxer. However, his story has opened my eyes a little wider.
Dax spent 10 days lost in the dense woods of our quiet little town. He had run from people that tried to capture him. He didn’t trust anyone. He was on an adventure! I have no idea how Jacqlyn, Dax’s owner, answered her two young children’s questions, “Is Dax coming home today? Her four-legged child, their best friend, had been out in the elements during the first frost of the season and during heavy thunderstorms.
Through the “power” of Facebook (love it or hate it), people began to share Dax Sightings. Every night I would drive a route along his last whereabouts. I never saw Dax. With each passing day and no sighting, I grew more despondent. I did see other cars, checking the church parking lot, the school lots, and driving 10 mph with their high beams on. I don’t know who they were, but they, like me, wanted to find Dax.
My wife, Cathy (a graphic designer by profession) created a Lost Dog poster and shared it on Facebook. It was gobbled up like a Thanksgiving dinner by a community of “hungry” volunteers. Strangers conversed on Facebook for one common goal, to reunite a dog with his family. People shared their stories of lost pets and tips that helped them reunite. People prayed and left messages where they searched. A community of like-minded individuals was forming and volunteering to help a neighbor in a time of need. It was a heart-warming story that would never make the evening news.
While looking for Dax last night, I prayed a lot of Our Fathers and Hail Marys. I also asked God, “Please, let Dax be tired enough to submit. Let him be hungry and sore and cold, so that he will surrender. Let him trust us. Anyone, it doesn’t have to be me. Just let him come to us. Let him realize we are here to help, not hurt him. Let him be the Prodigal Son (well, dog in this case.)”
Last night, Dax was rescued. He was found lying on a sofa in someone’s garage. He gave up. He was a Boxer that threw in the towel. Thankfully, he surrendered. He stopped running from the people who wanted to help. Last night, Dax went home.
Jacqlyn and her two children were a complete family again.
Does this story sound too familiar? It should. Because, I think at some point, we have all been in Dax’s paws, so to speak. Young and energetic and rebellious. Unwilling to listen to anyone, not trusting anyone. Not wanting help, from anyone, especially strangers! You know, the “I can do it by myself” mentality. It’s fun for a little while as we explore the grass on the other side, which we learn, is not-so-green.
We became cold and hungry and lonely. We were tired of the parasites that feed on us. At some point, we have all thrown in the towel and gave up fighting. We have all quit. Sometimes, it has been the best decision we ever made in our lives. Because it was the right thing to do.
There was someone there waiting for you. A family member, a friend, a church member, a counselor, a therapist. Somebody with compassion, picked off the ticks, gave you a bath, a nice meal, a hug, and a warm place to stay. They made you feel whole again, alive and thankful.
I thank the community members of Ledyard for stepping up to help bring Dax home. I hope that I get to meet Dax, Jacqlyn and her kids, and my compassionate “neighbors.”
Be Kind. Be Thankful. Be Significant