The year that even the dog left us…

It was the most wonderful (crazy, chaotic) time of the year…

-Our youngest was turning 5

-We had just gained four new family members ages 1, 3, 6, and 7

-Thanksgiving and Christmas were just around the corner

So what else could we worry about? There was so much on our plates…the “to-do” list was in “due yesterday” status with no end in sight.

And it was about that that time that Maggie gave up- she left. Yep, even our dog bailed on us!

Let me explain a bit. We live in a country-ish area so our dog mostly roams free, she mostly sticks to our yard and our neighborhood and for all the annoyance her sometimes howling and barking creates, our town has come to have a tolerant love for her anyway.

Maggie has been a constant in our life, almost as long as our home itself has been. For us, our friends, and all of our kids. She is (mostly) patient with the kids, playful when it comes to the snow blower and our driveway rocks, and an excellent comfort and listener to stories and dramas from the mouths of our way-back-then babies and toddlers.

We love Maggie. But when we looked up from our chaos one morning she was just gone.

About three days in I put up posters all over town with the kids- something was very wrong. She had never gone missing for a night ever before. My neighbor and I walked every inch of the woods behind our houses and even on the other side of the lake looking for her. And each morning Bob would walk out to our front porch and call for her hoping she would answer…no kidding. Every. Day.

But time goes by as it tends to do. A month, than a little more time. And finally we began talking about Maggie in past tense. We started considering if we would get another dog what kind we would look for. We even brought a few home to consider adopting- unsuccessfully. My posters were fading and I was about 3 days shy of telling the kids that the dog was not likely to make it home at this point. And yet, Bob was still calling for her every morning. It almost became like a really sad joke because we just knew she wasn’t coming home…

December 5, 2009.

Bob is out of bed before me and he is headed out to the front porch…and all I hear is “Maggie!!!” it doesn’t stir me at all. In fact, I try to roll over and ignore the call I had heard so many times before. But this time he is still yelling…. “Maggie, Maggie is here. She’s HERE!”

I didn’t get dressed. I literally ran to the porch in what was just a baggy T-shirt and a bathrobe and we woke the kids up yelling. I even ran to our neighbors doors and woke them up too! The poor dog quickly realized she had returned to even more chaos than she had left in the first place. But now it was the beautiful chaos of a Christmas Miracle.

She was so frail, and even though we were excited in that moment there was a hint of worry at her actual appearance. So we packed her right up in the car with blankets and rushed to the vet. It was going to be slow going for the first few weeks back but they assured us that as long as she ate and got lots of rest, soon she would be okay. Finally relief. Just as we were pulling back in to our driveway returning from the vet that morning, the first snow of the season began to fall.

Maggie is 12 years old this year. She is very much a part of our lives and our family and we are glad that she decided to come back. That tolerant love is now mutual.

This story is proof that sometimes adults need Christmas miracles too. Sometimes we just need to be reminded that at the brink of our hopelessness that things can still turn around. Sometimes we so quickly give up when the best things are only a few more days away… and sometimes you just really need to rely on your husband’s faith to bring the dog home.



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