Wednesday afternoon my Kate came panting breathlessly into the kitchen. "There's a puppy. He looks lost and lonely and afraid. He's so little....and cuuuute. I can't catch him. Can you help me?"
Animals, outdoors and adventures are the trifecta for my girl. My heart beats for the orphaned and forgotten--and for quality time/adventures initiated by my children. I suppose I don't have to tell you how I responded.
I dashed out the door behind her, down our driveway, across the street and two houses over to the right. As Kate led she shouted "the last time I saw him he was in these bushes." I found myself creeping along the property line of three houses in our neighborhood. One home is currently uninhabited, but there were gardeners trimming branches. They confirmed they had also seen the pup. The other two homes' residents are elderly and don't get out much. I imagined they might be peering from their windows preparing to either call the authorities to report prowlers or deciding that the woman with so many animals and children had finally lost her marbles.
Just when I was preparing to suggest we wrap up our adventure Kate shouted, "I see him!"
I ducked under overgrown fruit tree branches and squatted beneath some shrubbery next to her. She pointed to a dark pile of fluff with two dull and frightened eyes. The pup was 3-4 feet from us, literally burrowed deep in ivy with his back against a wooden fence. As we moved towards him he wiggled under the fence and disappeared.
We dashed back to the house for a brother to help and a slice of turkey to entice, but our search for him was futile.
Kate has mentioned the puppy a few times in the last couple of days...worrying for his safety and wondering if we would ever see him again. I assumed someone had taken him in.
Around 1:30 this afternoon little Ryland and I ran out for a last minute elfing errand. As we were turning back into our driveway he shouted, "Mom! The puppy!" I followed the direction of his pointed fingers and saw the timid animal scurrying across the road and up the hill from our house.
I turned the car quickly to the left and up the hill. We hurriedly parked on the curb, driver's door open and flashers blinking as we followed the pup down the driveway of yet another neighbor. He ran into their carport and found a hiding place under their front left bumper, huddled close to the tire.
This time I decided to ring the doorbell and let the homeowner know we were tracking a pup, lest we find ourselves in a trespassing bind. She kindly offered to help us coax the pup out using a bit of hamburger I had in my car.
As we pulled into the driveway of our house RyGuy held the pup--who turned out to be a girl--close. I ran in and excitedly told Kate, Parker and Daddy Ryland to come and see what we had brought home. My husband said sarcastically, "Let me guess. It's puppy." Well, actually...
The rest of the afternoon became a full-time job--trying to find a home for this sweet, timid little girl. To borrow a phrase from my friend Amanda, "our ark is full," of cats, dogs and a bunny. I just knew in my gut she was meant to be under someone's Christmas tree! I fielded calls, facebook messages and even drove over an hour round trip for someone to meet her to see if she would be a good fit for their family. We bathed her and thought of as many possible homes to contact as we could. Then it was time to dress and go to church.
I prayed. I reminded the children to pray. We fielded a few calls on the way to our fancy Waffle House dinner. We showed her photos to several fellow diners. I told the children what I was begging God to be true, "There will be a family that's just right for her. We just have to keep praying and wait and see."
We set a bed up in a kennel for her outside. (It is 58 degrees here.) And then I got a glorious text. Through word of mouth someone had heard about the puppy and Santa is going to deliver it to their little boy tonight. The mutual friend was kind enough to send a photo of the boy with Santa for my children to rejoice over--and then she told me the kicker--this sweet child had been adopted from foster care a few years ago by people who worked with my husband a decade ago.
Our orphaned puppy will be brought in the family for this adopted child--on the birthday of our sweet Jesus. The little boy won't ever forget this Christmas--and neither will we. Our God is certainly one of details--and when we are willing to put ourselves out there, to set aside our agendas or conveniences, He will let us have a front row seat to the Glory of His rescue business.