Today is the feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals and the environment. You can read my favorite Saint Francis story in this post about Saint Francis and the wolf.
The following events happened just a few days ago.
On the way to the laundromat to wash my 17-year-old dog’s favorite bed, I saw a dog running down the busy street in the opposite direction. It was a dark grey dog, maybe a hound/pit bull mix, running with that panicked, I’m lost gait. Without thinking, I pulled onto a side street to turn around and fished out the leash I kept in the console. I couldn’t see the dog, but traffic had slowed considerably, and people were honking ahead of me.
I prayed out loud: “God please help that dog! Please get him off the road! Help him Now!” (I had no idea if the dog was a male, but that’s what came out.) Within a few seconds I saw the dog, several cars ahead, make a right turn into an apartment complex. Okay, he’s safe. You have things to do, I told myself. But somehow, my car turned into the apartment complex. He’s not safe; he’s scared. Maybe he’ll come to me, said my other voice, brushing aside thoughts of then what are you going to do if you catch him? I parked my car and started walking through the apartment complex carrying the leash. A guy near the pool house asked if I was looking for a dog.
“Yeah but it’s not mine. He was running down the street. I thought I might be able to catch him.”
“He went that way,” the pool guy said pointing further into the complex.
I kept walking, past the dumpsters and around a corner, seeing no sign of the dog. He’s gone. Let it go. At least he’s not on the street. Maybe he’ll find his way home, I told myself. But for some reason, I kept walking through the unfamiliar apartment complex.
Then, I saw a young woman walking toward me. She must have seen the leash. “Are you looking for a dog?”
“Yes, but he’s not mine. He was running down the street,” I said pointing in the direction of the busy road.
“He’s in my apartment. He came right to my boyfriend.”
“Oh, good. Thank you. I’m glad he’s safe.”
“I work for a vet,” she said. “I’ll take him into work so see if he has a microchip.”
“Thank you so much for taking him in,” I said bowing slightly with praying hands.
“Thank you for looking for him,” she said.
I walked back to my car feeling grateful that the dog found a safe place and someone in a position to help him, and that I’d kept walking long enough to find that out.
Back in my car, I said to God, “I didn’t mean to be rude with that, now! part.
God just smiled.
(The photo from pixabay reminded me of the dog.)
Happy Saint Francis Day!
This picture is from the book Saint Francis of Assisi, A Life of Joy,
by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.