Give. Thanks.

Jennifer (R) with Angie, Punkin and Jessie at Fido's Indoor Dog ParkI’ve lived in my neighborhood for nearly 20 years, so I’m a regular . . . at the grocery, the gas station, the post office.  It’s this last locale where I met a pretty little girl recently, tethered to a pole. 

I’d seen her a couple times before, trekking along with a red-faced, 30-40-year-old man pushing a cart.  Tied to the rig, she trotted prettily alongside.  I’ve seen them from the comfort of my car — one day here, another day there — on routine runarounds. 

So this last cold, rainy Saturday, I pulled into the PO, and there she was:  tied to a post.  I saw her man standing inside, in line to do business with the USPS. 

I collected my mail and headed out.  The little girl lay just outside, so as I pushed out the door I walked right into the eyes of love.  They’d actually gazed into mine as I went in, and I’d breezed by, dodging contact and the risk of falling in love.  Coming out, I resisted again.  For 15 seconds at least!  But she had me.  I approached slowly, speaking softly, watching her body language to see if she wanted a pat. 

She did, drawing near in a shuffling, submissive approach that said, “Please love me.” 

I did, and she rolled onto her back, languishing in gentle touches and soft words. 

For several minutes I loved on her with words and caresses; clearly she would happily do this all day.   

I couldn’t though — I had to go.  It took a few minutes to leave her, this beautiful, obviously young/healthy female, 40 or so lbs., maybe a Keeshond or mix.  I crossed the lot, got in my car, and flipped through the mail.  Waited to see if the man would emerge.  Waited a few minutes more.  Struggled knowing I needed to hit it . . . and waited a minute more.  Saw him through the windows and considered going inside but thought he might not welcome my advance, especially in front of others.  I waited another minute.  Still he didn’t come out.

Finally I made a decision.  As it happened I was going to the symphony in a few hours, and in a flash I realized that if I didn’t do something to reach out I wouldn’t be able to fully enjoy the evening ahead.

I raced home, some 5-7 minutes away.  Grabbed half the kibble from my dogs’ supply, some gift certificates for food, my cans and bottles bagged for return, and raced back, watching for them on the sidewalks along the way.

When I got there they were gone.  I’d looked all the way there and all the way back. 

While I didn’t find them that day, I hoped that since I’d seen them several times in recent weeks I would again.  Now my car is (and will remain) equipped with the items noted above, plus an umbrella and a gently-used sleeping bag. 

I was able to enjoy my evening.  I’d done my best at that moment, and that was enough.  And next time I see them I’ll be ready. 

This holiday season I wish you and yours great blessing — of comfort, love and . . . enough.  And I wish for all of us to be mindful of the abundance we’re blessed with, even in these mean and sometimes too lean times.  Share what you can, take care of you and yours, and revel in the gifts we do have . . . they are so many.

Of course us animal lovers are blessed from the get-go, just getting to share life with these precious beings. 

Yours in gratitude this season,