A weary stranger on the road, seeking shelter and warmth and safety. It sounds like a Christmas story to me.
He was cold. Cold and very hungry, and so thirsty. The days were long and dangerous enough with all the honking cars, but the nights seemed to last forever. He didn't know where to go, but he knew he had to get away from those mad singing coyotes and the big owls hunting in the orchard. He wasn't sure how to deal with the huge roaring monster of a train that came through every few hours, and he had crossed the track several times.
But, oh, he was so cold and lost and afraid.
We live on a road that runs between two heavily traveled streets. Although our place in the orchard is fairly quiet, there is a railroad track about half a mile away.We first saw the little dog when we were on our way out to breakfast and were worried that he was so near the road, but then he headed off toward a fenced yard and we figured that he had just been out for a little stroll.
Many hours later, I spotted the little guy once again. This time he was outside our fence, visiting with our dogs. I was worried about the traffic, and enlisted Beez's help. Grabbing a package of string cheese, I went out to see if I could get him to come in to safety.
It took over an hour of signalling cars and trucks to slow down and go around, and calling softly to Beez for more cheese. We learned early on that he was frightened of people, but terrified of men; so Beez stayed way back. Remembering the lost pup's lack of fear of other dogs, I got Little Pete to help. That did the trick: The little wanderer came into the yard to see Pete and to get another bite of cheese, and Beez materialized behind us and closed the gate.
Little Pete is always willing to help out
People began arriving for supper. My sister almost wept when she realized that this was the same dog she had tried to call to safety two days before. She had been haunted by the thought of him out there on his own, but he had been too frightened to come near. Now he seemed to remember her voice.
My husband, that good Beez, spent another hour out in the yard, getting the little guy to trust him enough to come into the house before nightfall's below-freezing temperatures. This is the man who earlier had put together his rightly-famous white lasagna and got it into the oven, while still managing to work patiently with the little wildling. Our dozen dinner guests quietly cheered him on from the living room until he arrived with the cold, tired pup cradled in his arms.
Once inside, with access to plenty of food, water, warmth, and comfy laps, the terrified and exhausted little pup underwent a pretty amazing change. He asked Helen to lift him up and hold him. He snuggled right down and fell asleep, safe at last. He was sleeping so hard, that first Jeff and then Jean took over the pup-holding duties, and he didn't even stir.
Around the big table, we smiled at each other and talked quietly of Christmas miracles.
Safe at last