Within you, exists a power to change lives. I beg of you to respond when someone calls to you for help.
This morning, a friend reached out to my wife, Cathy, with an urgent plea. “Is Peter available today? My neighbor is pet-sitting two dogs; one of them got out last night and she can’t get it back. She’s an absolute mess and needs help.”
“Yes. We can help as soon as he’s done with his dog training appointment this morning.”
After meeting with my client and a quick stop at Ledyard Animal Control to pick up a Have-A-Heart trap, we arrived at the home where the dog went missing.
I put on my “thinking cap,” surveyed the property, gathered information and put a plan into action. In my 13 years as a dog trainer, I’ve had a few instances of being able to rescue runaway dogs and reunite them with their owners. I felt confident my plan of action would bring “the problem pooch,” Piper, a timid and fearful little girl in from out of the woods.
The distraught pet-sitter explained, ‘The owners are from South Carolina and they traveled to Maine for a wedding. They left the dogs with me, and Piper got away. The husband left Maine and is traveling down here right now. He is going to miss the wedding. I can’t believe this; I feel awful.”
Suprisingly, a few minutes later the owner arrived at pet-sitter’s house, doing all he could to hold back his tears.
Move towards the discomfort, Peter. Move towards the pain. He needs you, right now.
I introduced myself to the owner and discussed the plan of action I devised. With a humble and soft-spoken nature, he respected my expertise and asked for guidance and permission.
“I’ve heard you should leave a piece of your clothing out for them to smell and that may attract the dog home. Should I do that?”
He took of his blue, zippered fleece and hung it on a corner post of the chain link fence Pipe escaped beneath. Can I whistle to her and call her? Maybe she will recognize my voice?”
“Yes. She will definitely recognize your voice if she is within distance. The more you can do to make her recognize something familiar, the better.”
The owner looked into the expansive woods and began whistling and calling. “She is so skittish. She won’t even come directly to me if she has other options, like running away.”
Cathy interrupted, “I think I just saw her. Is she small and blond-colored?”
“She’s in the neighbor’s yard. She’s coming. She’s coming. Keep calling her.”
Our search party went inside the home and left owner in the backyard to minimize Piper’s distractions fear of people.
From inside the house we saw Piper follow her owner into the fenced area of the back yard. However, any attempt to close the gate would have frightened Piper and she would have bolted into the safety of the woods.
I slipped out the front door, walked around the side of the house and saw the open gate in front of me. Piper was eluding her owner and was not secure. I chose an opportune time to slowly approach the gate and close it while Piper was busy focusing on her owner’s plea for her to come to him.
“Peter, should I have them let Luna out? Piper loves playing with her and maybe she will follow her back inside the house.”
Luna came out with a fevered excitement and Piper responded and followed her canine friend into the safety and security of the home.
Piper was “home” and we literally all took a deep breath and shared hugs of relief.
The pet-sitter asked, “Peter, what do I owe you? Thank you.”
Owner pleaded, “Can I write you a check? I owe you something. I’m so grateful.” He fought again to withhold tears. I gave him a hug and he sobbed in my embrace.
I addressed both the pet-sitter and owner. “You and your families can now rest peacefully and enjoy the rest of your weekend. I need nothing more.”
In moments of others’ panic and desperation we may be given an opportunity to be the calm and reassuring presence they need. It is my hope that you will use your talents, your experience, your gifts to help someone in need. If a friend asks you to help, please help.
Guiding strangers through their unbearable hardship and pain today was not difficult for me. I’ve been doing it for years and it comes naturally to me. The most difficult decision I had to make was to say, “Yes, I will help.”
But let me tell you, the payoff was immeasurable for the minimal amount of energy I expended.
I ask you this: What gifts do you have that you can share with others? When asked, will you please offer your help? When needed, will you please go toward the pain and discomfort to help a stranger. Please?
Your community needs you and all the gifts you have to offer. Believe it!
Be Kind. Be Thankful. Be Significant