Yes, I know I write about dogs too much, but my dog is the only person I see lately (don’t even try to tell me Peanut isn’t a person).
This story is about another dog that was in my life. Millie a regal black labradoodle who reminded me of the wonder of dogs, kind people, and we’re all in this together. This being all of it.
It was a busy day for me teaching at the University. I taught four classes, advised students, attended meetings, and gave a talk to student athletes. I had to depend on a lot of help to get the family through the day alive and fed. Meggie was to be picked up from school by friends, Julie stayed later to watch basketball, my three-year-old labradoodle Millie needed to be let out and I had to pick up my friend’s daughter from day care. During all the drop-offs, pick-ups, and letting outs Millie went rogue. Like a flash, she squeezed out the side door and took off. For a mostly quiet, sleepy dog she was a dark horse. You didn’t think she had it in her, but all I can say is, still waters, baby. Still waters.
Millie, free, was like watching electricity fly. She was seventy pounds of fast black dog and it was dark outside. The one thing we had going for us was that she was wearing a Life Is Good t-shirt. I can’t even remember why, but it’s true. What was against us was busy Highway 51. It bustles and hums at the end of our block and as far as Millie knew, cars meant a trip to the dog park, cars were her friend. (No, worried dog lovers, nothing bad happens to Millie in this story.)
I was in turn frantic and hopeless, already in tears. It was all a giddy, happy game to Millie. She was at Doggie Great America and every ride was free-plus. Not only that, it was all you can eat night in the neighborhood because the next day was garbage day. She’ wasn’t coming home on her own.
As we ran through neighborhoods, calling her name, begging, and pleading for Millie to come home, people came out of their houses. A man put his dog out for Millie to play with hoping to nab her if she got close. One man, driving by, went home for dog treats, came back and cased the neighborhoods calling my dog’s name. One young girl walked with me, probably a mile, until splitting off to look in another direction. At one time, there must have been twelve individuals calling Millie’s name. All people I have never seen before. All the best kind of people. Crazy animal lovers.
We finally got Millie because one of these kind, caring, people – a bearded, tattooed, pierced man – across the street, called her name sweetly, opened the front door to his house as she ran by, and offered her a hot dog. Millie walked right in.
It was the most beautiful capture of a wild and wonderful thing I’d ever seen. All the cliches worked that night: Life is Good, still waters run deep, don’t let sleeping dogs nap next to the door (that’s a new one).
As if the day wasn’t fine enough, my daughter Meghan, 7 years old at the time, brought home her assignment. She had been asked to write about Christmas from an angel’s point of view. I give to you this slightly disgruntled, a bit annoyed angel:
Hi my name is Meghan I am an angles (yes angles). I told the shepherds about baby Jesus with 2 other angles. I went back to the stable, and saw Jesus get born! It was hard to see with all of the animals and more than 5 other angles and people. Joseph had his arm around Marry. Us angles were singing “glory to god in the highest and peace to god’s people on earth” over and over. Our best friend, Star, lead the 3 kings to the stable. They brought gold, mur and frankness. It smelled bad. I got to hold Jesus.