Straying From The Truth

I recently found a Labrador Retriever walking along the side of the rural two-lane that leads to my neighborhood. Late in the day, I was returning from a trip to the grocery store, but pulled to the shoulder when I caught sight of her curly black coat. Few houses at all, no houses in sight. I lowered the window. “Hey buddy! Where ya headed?” The dog glanced at me but kept going.

I grabbed a leash and jogged across the road, then squatted three yards away and cooed a little doggy talk (years of training). Her concern was obvious: Who are you and where is my Mom? When she finally allowed me to approach and pet her, I slipped the leash over her collar-less neck (bad sign) and led her away. The old girl is a tad portly (hadn’t missed a meal – good sign), so I offered assistance into the back of my car. She collapsed into a heap and panted for the five minutes it took to drive home.

This is what we commonly do out here: Take in stray dogs. A loose pet is either lost from a nearby campground or abandoned. Heartbreaking to report, but people actually drive out from the city, remove collars and tags and turn unwanted companions loose. I like to think they believe country folk have big hearts and lots of room, and will simply take the homeless in. I wish I could keep them all, but sanity and economics prohibits that kind of largesse. On the flip side, if the wanderer is local, the grapevine will quickly get it re-homed.

Stella (named her on the way) is old and arthritic and apprehensive. Her hips are obviously sore and she walks with a hitch. Back at the homestead, she did not like the look of my dog and snapped at him right off. My exuberant Frank was ecstatic at the sight of this unexpected friend. (I believe he thought I’d bought her at the market. Maybe on the dog food isle?) An hour later, Stella was fed and resigned to his presence, and relaxed into a dignified, well-behaved guest. Settled in by the next day, she would often look up at me and smile a “thank you.”

Although catching her was an automatic response, my mind raced with worry over how this unexpected event would further complicate my life. I’ve been whining incessantly about projects of late, questioning my sanity in taking it all on, and desperately trying to make sense of how I will ever accomplish everything I want to do. I’ve been stuck. Mired. Will the edits never end? How will I find time to promote the novel when I do finish? And what about the next book – will I ever have time to write again with a full-time job? Sell the house, and if so, move where? (But that’s another story.) Blog posts? Guest posts? Choose cover art? Aye, Chihuahua.

Over the 48 hours she was here, stoic Stella served as a reminder of the importance of flexibility and resilience. No, I didn’t get as much done during her stay as I’d planned, but I did gain an important life lesson. I was shown the gifts we receive when we reach out and put others first. I considered the ramifications of doing the right thing – in many situations – and the satisfaction of helping someone (or something) in need. My sweet Frank was a gracious, generous host, and I was uplifted by his patience and compassion. When I thought about the choices I could have made, I knew I would make the same decision if I had the chance to do it again.

I couldn’t fathom what was going to happen when I put that dog in my car, but it worked out, regardless. I posted a hand-printed sign on the roadside where I found her. “Found Lab – older black female.” A neighbor called, and our Stella turned out to be another family’s Cinder. I was privy to a truly remarkable reunion when the bereft family went wild at the sight of their beloved pet, home again. Note to self: Let go of the need to try to manage all outcomes.

In retrospect, I think she showed up to remind me to keep an open heart. I’m happiest when I believe that circumstances will work out. I want to practice setting aside the incessant worry over planning, and simply acknowledge that the tasks will all get done. While Stella strayed from her home, I realized I’ve strayed from my truth: Life works better when I release control and trust that only good will come to me.

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29 Responses to Straying From The Truth

  1. Diane Hughes February 8, 2012 at 3:17 pm #

    Lovely, Molly. So glad you could help each other find your way!

  2. chris sherrill February 8, 2012 at 3:18 pm #

    Nice post. Good reminder that we get gentle reminders once in awhile that things are going to work out okay.

    • Molly Greene February 8, 2012 at 3:23 pm #

      Thank you both, Chris and Diane! Frank and I missed her when she went home.

  3. laura thomas February 8, 2012 at 3:50 pm #

    Absolutely glowing after reading this. I took in two young dogs that were dumped inside my fenced yard. They arrived about one month apart and one had a broken leg. After two surgeries, she is as good as new. I call them the ghost and the darkness because of their colors. You are a generous soul. Keep believing and let it go!

    • Molly Greene February 8, 2012 at 4:09 pm #

      My Frank is a rescue. He wishes he could have his “own” dog, but he’ll have to wait for a while! Providence will provide sooner or later, I’m sure. Thank you so much, Laura – you’re a generous soul, yourself!

  4. Jo VonBargen February 8, 2012 at 4:10 pm #

    What a beautiful story, Molly! You always manage to weave in such wisdom and love…you’re a wonder, you are! Out here in the country where we live, there have many visitors over the years; some have stayed, some we found homes for. It’s really impossible to refrain from feeding them, it’s just not right. And of course, once you feed them, they’re never going to move on. Luckily our local vet is a good friend, and he has helped us many a time with finding a new owner once we’ve exhausted the “lost pet” inquiries. We’ve had so many here, I think there must be an invisible beacon shining from our front porch, inviting in the lost and lonely!

  5. Alison DeLuca February 8, 2012 at 4:13 pm #

    Lucky dog, to have found you! What a lovely story, Molly. Yay!

  6. Judy Baker February 8, 2012 at 5:28 pm #

    Love the fact that u stopped to help Stella. I too love dogs

    • Molly Greene February 8, 2012 at 5:31 pm #

      Judy, Alison, Jo – thanks so much for the read and comment! I think I was the lucky one … Jo knows what I mean. Oh that I wish I could keep them all!

  7. Ginger February 8, 2012 at 8:20 pm #

    Thank you Molly for the wonderful story and reminder to be open to what may be. You are always so great at leading your reader into the story. I could see you stopping, spending time and opening your house to your wonderful guest. Thank you for the great share.

  8. Melissa February 9, 2012 at 1:38 am #

    This was such a wonderful post to read first thing in the morning. Beautiful lesson and story. And how great that you and Stella got to have a moment together, albeit fleeting.

  9. Deb February 9, 2012 at 5:50 am #


  10. Christine Nolfi February 9, 2012 at 6:13 am #

    As usual, you’ve made my day, Molly. Wonderful post.

    On another note: no more worries! I’m always here to hold your hand as you stroll into the bright lights of Indie Publishing. xo

  11. R.P. "Ron" McCabe February 9, 2012 at 6:44 am #

    You know, Molly…people like you give me hope! And you really made me feel good today! I love decency and kindness.

  12. Laura Zera (@laurazera) February 9, 2012 at 11:41 am #

    Such a great story, both the story of Stella/Cinder and the reminder to trust. It’s too easy to create unnecessary roadblocks. Just. Have. To. Let. Go.

    • Molly Greene February 9, 2012 at 6:58 pm #

      Thanks to all of you! It’s heartwarming to know I’m not traveling this road alone.

  13. Jodi Lobozzo Aman February 10, 2012 at 2:37 am #

    I loved the port of the reunion. It is so nice that they were happy, such relief, that she was loved!

  14. Jolyse Barnett February 11, 2012 at 3:39 pm #

    I believe that God works through people. Maybe He sends messages to us through animals, too? What a wonderful story, Molly. Thanks for sharing.

    • Molly Greene February 11, 2012 at 4:57 pm #

      I think messages come in every possible way – It’s up to us to be open to receive them. Thank you, my lovely friend, for your constant support!

  15. August McLaughlin February 16, 2012 at 6:13 pm #

    Lovely, insightful post. I love the way animals teach us valuable lessons… It takes an open heart to recognize and embrace them. 🙂

  16. Maggie Bolitho February 26, 2012 at 8:55 pm #

    I’ve rescued so many animals myself, usually at the most inconvenient times, that I read this with a big smile.

    Great blog, Molly.

  17. Rolando March 10, 2012 at 4:58 pm #

    Lovely story Molly, you have a big heart! : ^ )

  18. Sabrynne McLain March 28, 2012 at 10:29 am #

    Yes, I have rescued a few as well. My hubby says I have a special gift for seeing small, animal-esque movements on the side of the road.

    • Molly Greene March 28, 2012 at 11:21 am #

      LOL! I know exactly what he means, I have it, too!

  19. Claudia Cruttwell May 21, 2012 at 1:43 pm #

    My dog and I were followed home by a sweet border collie the other day. I admit to being a little huffy whilst waiting for the owner to come and collect him, but at the same time I understand what you mean about horizons suddenly opening up as a result of one random act of kindness. I hope you’re feeling less stressed. Chill 🙂

    • Molly Greene May 21, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

      Hi Claudia! I’m much more chilled now that when I wrote this post. Thanks so much for the read and comment!

  20. Annie Quinty July 15, 2012 at 11:10 am #

    “I’ve been whining incessantly about projects of late, questioning my sanity in taking it all on, and desperately trying to make sense of how I will ever accomplish everything I want to do. I’ve been stuck. Mired. Will the edits never end? How will I find time to promote the novel when I do finish? And what about the next book – will I ever have time to write again with a full-time job? Sell the house, and if so, move where? (But that’s another story.) Blog posts? Guest posts? Choose cover art? Aye, Chihuahua.”

    I believe you’ll make it work because you already have one book out there, a very good book!

    And I believe you’ll make it all work because because you have a good heart, a very good heart!

    • Molly Greene July 15, 2012 at 11:52 am #

      I hope you’re right, Annie! Patience helps – not one of my strengths.

  21. Richard Wiseman December 29, 2012 at 10:20 pm #

    That’s such a great story! Sure enough we do all need to stop and do the right thing as in the end it’s what memories of us we leave with others that is our legacy.