Have you ever received a message from a furry four-legged messenger? A strange question, perhaps, but I know many of us try to pay attention to subtle messages whenever and however they show up in our lives. We may notice a motivational saying on a billboard, just when we’re feeling discouraged. In Feng Shui, when a light bulb burns out, we pay attention to where it occurs in our Bagua and use it as a metaphor to shed some new light on that area of our life. All of this to say: messages may come from unexpected sources.
To share this story, first let me introduce you to my sister, Joyce. Think of all the pet lovers that you know, roll them into one and you will know my sister. Joyce has turned her passion into a business. She is a pet sitter extraordinaire! Her most unusual pets to date are turtles – 14 of them! It is fun to hear her talk enthusiastically about each animal’s personality and idiosyncrasies; every pets she sits for is family to her.
Of course, she also rescues stray animals. She is on close personal terms with the animal shelters and veterinarians in her area. Any animal that is injured or lost seems to “find” Joyce!
Joyce and I grew up in Texas and our mother lived in our childhood home until she moved to assisted living at the age of 91. We were quite sentimental about our family home and agonized about whether to rent or sell. While giving ourselves some time to decide, Joyce, who still lives in the same town, lovingly repaired and updated the house in anticipation of new renters or owners.
When we finally made the decision to put it on the market, a number of realtors warned us the area had become less desirable. The implication was, of course, we would have difficulty selling. We listened but held to our conviction that the right people would show up and love the home as much as we had. We admitted a lingering concern, however – as our old neighbors moved or died, we lost the sense of the energy of the neighborhood.
That is, until one evening as Joyce was leaving our family home. Driving down the street, she spotted a little dog in the next block, cheerfully prancing down the middle of the street, oblivious to any potential danger. Joyce was able to catch up with the dog, who was friendly when she approached. Unfortunately, there was no identifying collar.
In typical form, Joyce picked up the puppy and put it in her car. Unable to take it to her home because of her own pets, she took it to our family home. There she provided water and a soft blanket, knowing it would be safe while she tried to find the owners.
The next day she scanned the paper to see if there was an ad for a missing puppy. Nothing. She contacted animal shelters to see if anyone had called. No. In the meantime, she provided the puppy with food and playtime. It was happy and content, cuddling close to my sister at each visit. Not ready to take it to a shelter, she decided to go door to door in the area where she found it running loose.
At the first house, the owner came to the door and listened as my sister explained the situation. Friendly and sympathetic, this person reported having seen a couple talking with neighbors down the street several days ago. Perhaps it was about a lost dog. She, of course, could not be sure. Joyce went to the home mentioned and knocked on the door. Why, yes, a couple had stopped to inquire about their lost puppy. This neighbor thought the couple lived nearby but had no specific information. Encouraged, my sister decided to knock on doors for several blocks in all directions.
While each subsequent stop did not yield the owner, my sister was amazed that, without exception, the people who opened their door to a stranger trying to find the owners of a little lost dog expressed kindness and concern. They commented on how appreciative they were of her efforts. As luck, or fate, would have it, the seventh home was the magic stop. The people who opened the door in response to my sister asked, “Does the puppy have a lopsided ponytail?” Yes, indeed!
A wonderful reunion ensued. Some of the neighbors had asked Joyce to take their number and call to let them know if she was successful. She did and new friendships were formed.
Joyce enthusiastically called to share this story with me. Because a puppy decided to take a walk into the world, my sister discovered our old neighborhood retained the caring energy we remembered! Had we listened to those voices that judged the area without personal knowledge, we would have had an uncomfortable misperception. This little furry messenger who pranced into my sister’s life brought neighbors together. Oh, and our childhood home went on the market and was purchased by a couple who fell in love with it on first visit!
What a powerful reminder to pay attention to the messages, and the messengers, in whatever form they may show up in our lives – even when they are furry and have four legs.