This is going to be a happy tale. And as with all happy tales, there’ll be a happy ending.
The story begins on an ordinary morning on what began as an ordinary walk. But what happened halfway changed my ordinary day.
In fact, it became quite extraordinary.
“I’m going to walk to the mailbox to get the newspaper,” I called to my husband, Bill. “Walking will probably improve my mood.”
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I couldn’t have imagined how much.
“Yep,” Bill yawned. "Exercise gets those endorphins going. Besides, by the time you get back you can probably get a hold of Traci for an update.”
He knew I’d felt a bit blue about having our daughter and her family move from Washington state to California. A diversion would be good.
And that’s just what God sent me.
Like a bolt out of the blue, my melancholy thoughts and footsteps were interrupted. From the sagebrush that lined the road burst a mama dog followed closely by her pup. She was obviously lost — or abandoned — I couldn’t be sure. Neighbors are few and far between.
The beagle looked up with imploring eyes and my heart melted. But in an instant she seemed distressed; her little one had dashed back into the bushes, barbed wire keeping them apart.
I knelt down, calling to the puppy. Hesitantly, it inched forward to my waiting hand with mama keeping a silent watch.
The newspaper forgotten, the three of us headed back to the house. Mama beagle padded along beside me while her offspring cuddled in my arms.
I raced inside to show Bill, leaving the older dog with food and water in the garage. But when I came back out, the puppy’s mama had disappeared.
I searched our acreage and the road. No beagle in sight — except for the tiny one in the crook of my arm.
Posters would have to be printed. A lost and found ad called in to the Tri-City Herald. Nevertheless, at the moment a doggie bed was needed — a soft pillow would do — and a bite to eat. For a puppy, it had already been a long day.
Soundly asleep in a quiet corner, I retreated to shower and get ready for the day.
“Lucy!” Bill called as he entered the bedroom a short time later. “There’s a family here, and they’re looking for their dog.”
I breathed a prayer of thanks.
“Snickers” — its name, I later learned — was welcomed into the waiting arms of several little children, elated to have their puppy again. They told me that their mama beagle had returned to the rest of the brood, a mother’s duty calling her home.
“The kids were supposed to take a nap,” the young mother told me. “But they begged me to go looking.”
I watched as Snickers wiggled with excitement, its tail wagging in rhythm with childish giggles and smiles.
And just like I promised, this was a happy tale. A very happy tail.