This is the sort of story that strains the credulity of anyone who prefers coincidence over God's providence, but I am so thankful that we're charging ahead with it anyway.
You may recall my speaking about Hannah's rescue dog, Kif, who was abused and is spooky as can be around everyone except her. He's part Staffordshire Terrier (pit bull) and looks it but is as gentle toward people as can be.
He got out last night and Hannah wasn't home. A combination that strikes fear into the heart of anyone in our family.
I was bringing in the groceries, during which the other three dogs (our two Boxers and Hannah's other rescue dog who is German Shepherd-Chow Chow and something else) go in and out with me for entertainment. Kif's been increasingly curious about the good times those dogs have in the garage and is always close to the door to the garage when I come in laden with bags. I was at the back of the van, pulling out the last of the things, and a white shape ghosted past the corner of my eye. (Did the door just come open? Did I not shut it? Who cared. The thing was done.)
"Nooooooo," I howled to the heavens. Softly. I howled it softly. Because there was still a chance I could lure him back to the house.
"Kiffer. Kif boy. C'mon back in ... goooood dog."
Nope. He ghosted away down the alley.
I cried in my heart but wheedled again, "Kif boy. Kiffer. Here, boy."
He reappeared. Looked at me curiously again from the bottom of the driveway. I could tell he wanted to go back in. I thought of how it took the entire volunteer fire department of the little town of Garrett to catch him. I though of how terrified he was of people. That he would never come to anyone. Of the fact that people would see nothing but a "stray pit bull" slinking in the bushed and ... Texas has many homeowners who have guns.
I sweetened my tones. Stood aside from the door. Made myself as inconspicuous as possible and tried to make myself sound like Hannah, who he adores (not out of the bounds of reality because we do sound alike).
No good. He couldn't make himself do it and ran down the alley. toward the six-lane street we live two houses away from, naturally.
I sprang into action, grabbed a handful of dog treats, ran down the alley, calling. Got Hannah's other dog, Zap, and walked him around the driveway and that bit of alley, thinking that dogs were "safe" and might lure him back.
No good again.
Called Hannah, who was on her way home from work and about 15 minutes away. Called Tom, who dropped everything at work and sped the five minutes home to begin looking.
We began canvasing the neighborhood in our cars, Hannah and I calling, Tom silent because he knew Kif would never respond to a male voice. Cell phones, bless them, were on and ready to call Hannah to wherever we might spot him. I'm not sure what was worse, calling and calling with no response or stopping to ask people if they'd seen a medium-sized, white dog running loose and having to answer the inevitable, "what does he look like" with a reluctant "kind of like a pit bull, but he isn't one, he's really sweet." Ah, the stigma of that breed name.
Hannah prayed. I prayed. I reminded God about the sparrows he looks after and that this terrified dog needed some looking after. I asked my guardian angel to go find him (I had a definite impression of refusal over that). Ok. Fine. Back to God, then. That if we didn't find him, and who knew how far this dog could run in his fear, that some nice family would find him. Someone who would have the patience and kindness to invest in him.
As it turns out, a nice family did find him.
Tom was broadening his search yet again, after 40 minutes of looking, and saw Kif slowly going from bushes to house, bushes to house, bushes to house. It was clear that he was trying to find his way home. It was equally clear that he was scared to death.
Hannah was not even one minute away, got there, and called to him from the car. That stopped him. She got out of the car and the joyous reunion took place.
What a relief.
Tom called me to end the search. I, too, was converging on the spot where the other two had been looking. Clearly we would have all been at the very same spot within minutes of each other.
This isn't out of the realm of possibility. It was near enough to our house after all. But for Kif to have stayed in the neighborhood, for us to all be coming on that spot when he was finally obvious and looking for the house ... that all smacked of a little divine guidance to me.
Whether or not, my heart filled with joy and thankfulness.
And you have never seen such a happy dog in your life. When I sat on the kitchen floor and held out my hand, he came up to have his ears rubbed.
Which, in itself, was some kind of miracle.