Her elderly owners could not keep “Daphne” because she was too much to handle. After following the Free Pets ad in the paper, Paul and I soon had a small chocolate, vanilla, and caramel colored terrier bouncing into our lives. And “Daphne,” was renamed Daffy.
Smart. Beyond knowing standard canine words such as “walk” and “eat,” she dragged her blue blankie to us at bedtime, even nudged a flashlight off the desk so we would shine dots on the carpet for her to catch. Oh, what laughter this little mutt brought us. But one night, a year after she joined our family, we thought we might never see our Daffy dog again.
It was on a July 4th when Paul and I went to our son-in-law’s house for fireworks and a BBQ. We left Daffy home, her doggie door opened for any needed “exits.” We returned home at about 10:00 that night, looking forward to the way that only a devoted, tail-wagging dog can greet its owners. But no dog greeted us. Ah, Daffy had gone outside and didn’t hear our return. But calling her brought no response. Had she escaped into the field beyond the back fence? I went there with a flashlight. A scurrying raccoon, but no dog. While I checked out the backyard Paul clapped loudly from the front yard, trusting she would show up. Nope. Then he drove his car around the neighborhood. Whatever neighborhood dogs had been out, were retired for the night. I sat on the couch and prayed. “Lord, we’re worried! Daffy is gone and we don’t know what to do! But You know all things, and You know exactly where she is. I’m asking that You find her for us.” When Paul returned empty dog-handed, we decided that early in the morning we would put up posters, call the vet where she had been chipped, and check the animal shelters.
However, our phone rang at 11:00 PM. In a neighborhood across town, a young woman sat at her dining room table sorting photos for an album. A slight movement caught her eye. Outside her sliding glass door sat a small, forlorn doggie staring at her. It came in hesitantly, it’s amber brown eyes begging for help. It allowed her to check the phone number on the dog tag.
“I’m sorry to call this late, but do you belong to a dog named Daffy?”
“Wow! How? What? Where? What’s your address?”
The woman was waiting with Daffy in her front yard. Due to limping, Daffy could only run to us with difficulty. Once home, she drank water for a very long time. Then she collapsed on the end of our bed, legs straight as sticks – too exhausted, even, to curl up. In the morning we found hunks of grass stuck between her toes, broken nails, and pads that were swollen and sore. The full story came out later. Always a “digger,” apparently Daffy made it under the fence looking for us. Around 6:00 that evening, our neighbor Frank saw a car driving slowly by, from which a boy tossed out firecrackers. Daffy freaked and shot straight as a bullet across one of the busiest roads in town: College Street (at last count, the traffic flow was over 50,000 vehicles a day). But one little dog, during 6:00 rush hour, made it safely across. The rest was up to our imagination. Daffy must have trotted around for hours, becoming more and more disoriented. Five hours later (I mentioned that she’s smart, right?) she figured her best bet was to find a house that was like her own – one story, sliding glass door in the back. There, she waited for human help.
Now, no one has proof that angels pay attention to animals. But I like to think that one of them, somehow, looked down upon a scared, helpless dog and ushered her safely across that busy street.
Maybe even led her to that house that resembled ours, one where the owner would bother calling us. So, if – and I’m saying, “IF” this was the case, then Daffy’s angel was on duty that night. And Shannon, the woman who called us, received a Thank You note with a gift card for McDonald’s.