Bending down to tie up my slightly worn Nike running shoes, a walk was the next thing on my “ to do” list .
Just put one foot in front of the other, just keep moving. Sitting still will turn into crying, and thinking, so must not sit still.
It was Tuesday March 30th. Heavy on my mind, and weighing down my heart was the reality that the next day would be the graveside service for my late Mum.
Even saying those two words “ late Mum” together evokes a sense of disbelieving shock throughout me.
I feel held… by my Heavenly Father, and also by many friends and family. I have felt this love before. It is imperative to know this to be able to take the next step forward or sideways, and sometimes backwards. The knowing…that you are loved. It is what gives you courage to breathe out your next breath.
The day was lovely. It was sunny, and greeting me with a smile. I had been chatting with Brooke, Kathy’s daughter, as she was finishing up her first year of college online. She was excited to be completing this milestone.
I told her I was heading out for my morning walk, and told her I would see her in a bit.
I started down the paved road, and had only passed a few houses on the residential street when movement up ahead, and to the left, caught my eye.
A bunch of dogs were in the ditch. Wait.. Foudogs were coming towards me. I glanced from side to side, but didn’t notice any humans about. They didn’t have leashes on, but appeared to have chain collars.
I froze. These were not small dogs.. It was entirely possible that these were the “ hounds of hell “ type of animals that were about to turn on me and have me for a tasty treat? They looked to be about the same size as a husky or a golden retriever. They all had creamy white coats. A pang of instant terror jolted through my body.
I had always had this innate fear of being attacked by a loose dog while out walking, and now… there were four.
I used to carry a stick with me just in case, sometimes a hockey stick, being a Canadian girl , when I lived back with my Mum in her house.
As quickly as the fear clenched me, it was gone like a flash of lightning.
These dogs must have escaped their yard. I stood in the center of the street, and glanced around to see if there were any other human beings about. There was nobody. I was puzzled as to what to do next.
Moments later a red front door opened on the right, and an older lady in a dress, cardigan and slippers came out. She looked vexed.
I instinctively knew that these dogs must be hers.
“ Did your dogs get out?”
“ yes,” she said breathlessly.
“ they went that a way,” and I pointed up the street.
“ I’ll go after them.”
I saw her come down the driveway, and follow my lead.
They had rushed passed me as if they were out on a wonderful adventure, happy to be free from where they had escaped from.
I knew there was no way I could lasso all of them, then a sane thought entered my head. I needed to call Brooke.
I was in front of her house when she picked up..
“ Brooke, four dogs are loose out here, come help me!”
In a few seconds she came out the front door. At this point, I was jog/ walking down the street. The dogs were way up the street, and were not slowing down.
Brooke took off running . The lady yelled to me the dogs names. “ Zoe, Lucky, and Lucy,” and I didn’t catch the forth name .
She began calling these names, so I repeated them, but to not avail. These doggies acted as if they were nameless.
Brooke came to the stop sign at the end of the street, and I followed. The dogs had slowed, and were catching their breaths. One appeared to have a limp, so maybe they were giving him a breather. Brooke approached cautiously, as did I . We were able to get our hands in through their collars.
Again, a jolt of fear shot through me, as we secured them, but then it dissipated. We were both breathless.
We turned the four wandering escape artists around, and headed back to our street from whence we came.
I spotted two young lads on bikes that were stopped watching us outside of a play structure .
I called out to them, “ hey can you guys help us with these dogs?”
The one responded,
“ no we can’t, our parents are having us socially distancing from people.”
“ ok,” I responded, and internally thought, wow, this is how life is right now ..what planet am I on?
As Brooke and I headed back up the street, the older lady had caught up to us, but was clearly winded. She had a look of gladness on her face. A moment later a car appeared. I am not sure if it was her daughter, or her friend that lived at the same house. The older lady wanted to put the dogs in the car, but I suggested that she take the ride back, and Brooke and I would walk the dogs back to their house.
They agreed, and giggling, and slightly out of breath we, walked, bent over, and led the dogs by their chain collar, back to their point of origin.
The second lady came out from their house, after dropping off the older lady. She took one of the dogs from me, by the collar, which she extended, and we continued back to their yard.
When we arrived, the older lady was out front. She had a basket in her hands, and two lovely fresh pink flowers in decorated Easter bags on the front porch stoop. She thanked Brooke and I profusely. She wanted to know if she could do anything for us, drive us anywhere. We declined. I explained that I was just heading into town to the pharmacy, but wanted to walk, and enjoy the fresh air.
She handed Brooke and I the lovely plants, and said, “ please take these.”
We thanked her. She explained that she re-used toilet paper rolls, and filled them with sometimes dog treats, and sometimes candy, then she bent the cardboard roll in, and wrapped it.
It was such a cute and ingenious idea.
I was carrying a reuseable shopping bag, so she tossed two in. I said thank you, and that we would take these back and share with Brooke’s Mum and Grandma. She grinned broadly, and her eyes sparkled.
“ Then take some more,” and with that she threw three more rolls in.
Such a sweet lady. She invited Brooke and I to come back and visit anytime. She also mentioned that she thought the dogs had escaped the back yard, through an opening in the chicken wire fence. She said that the male dog was likely the ring leader.
I teased her as to whether the treats inside our carefully wrapped toilet rolls were for humans or dogs? She laughed.. Her eyes sparkled, and she said,
“ no, those ones are for people.”
Brooke and I parted ways at that point. She took the potted plants in the Easter bags, and I headed once more into town to complete my errands.
I returned back home maybe an hour later, having also bought several cans of beans, and chili to construct for supper. I had to keep switching arms, as the bag was pretty heavy.
When I came back into the house Brooke was making her lunch at the island in the kitchen. Her and I chatted about our morning escapades with the dogs..
I began to unpack my groceries. I dumped out the treats the lady had put in my bag. Brooke decided to unwrap them to see what was inside. As she did, she looked up at me with disbelief in her eyes.
Her eyes widened even more in shock and wonder.
Inside two of the rolls this is what she found…
Are you even kidding me? These little red cards, with Bible verses carefully printed on each side spilled out from inside the carefully wrapped treats.
“What?” I stammered, mouth wide, and eyes big…”whoa…God is so good.”
Brooke was speechless, and shaking her head in disbelief.
Not only were there Bible verses in these packages , the scripture was particularly perfect for where my heart was at that day.. I said, what I now say so often,
“ God is just showing off again, and I love it.” He speaks to me in the most creative, loving, and stunning ways, and I felt a warm hug from my Heavenly Father. He was there. He is there. It was a “God nod.” In the midst of the sorrow, and pain, and hurt, and loss.. He speaks, and shelters me under his wings, and it is excellent, and I shall never grow tired of feeling his love surrounding me.
“ You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13
It’s true.. this story, and I have many more like it. I can talk your ear off about the love of Jesus, and all He did and does for me. To be loved like this is like no other feeling I can possibly express. This was not a chance happening.. it was a miraculous occurrence.
I have never seen four dogs loose at once on this street. It had to be me, at this particular time..all alone with my thoughts of loss, and grief.. He loosed the dogs.. He ….“ let the dogs out.”
Each day as I walk by this lady’s house, I look to her front door, and I search the yard for her dogs. It’s been over a week now, and I have not spotted her.
I know when the time is right though.. I will.. There will be another divine encounter.