Within you, exists a power to change lives. I beg of you to respond when someone calls to you for help.
A friend reached out to my wife, Cathy, with an urgent plea. “My neighbor is pet-sitting two dogs; one of them, Piper, escaped. Is Peter available to help?”
“He’s in a training appointment, but we will help as soon as he’s done.” In my 13 years as a dog trainer, I’ve helped a handful of wayward “problem pooches” reunite with their owners.
The distraught pet-sitter explained, ‘The owners are in Maine for the weekend to attend a wedding. The husband is skipping the ceremony; he left hours ago and should be here soon. I feel awful. Piper is so skittish and she darted past me before I could close the door.”
While surveying the property, considering the circumstances, and tapping into my knowledge and experience the husband arrived.
Move towards the discomfort, Peter. Move towards the pain. He needs you, right now.
I introduced myself and told him of my plan of action. I found him to be a soft-spoken, polite, gentle, and distraught man from South Carolina. He took of his blue, zippered fleece and hung it on a corner post of the chain link fence where Piper escaped. “Can I whistle and call to her? Maybe she will recognize my voice?”
The owner looked into the expansive woods and began his urgent and desperate plea. “She is so timid and afraid of everything. She won’t even come directly to me if she has other options.”
Cathy interrupted, “I think I just saw her. Is she small and blond-colored?”
“Yes, ma’am. That describes her.”
I replied, “I see her too. She’s in the neighbor’s yard. She’s coming. She’s coming. Keep calling her.”
Piper followed her owner into the fenced area of the back yard. However, I instructed him not to try closing the gate in fear Piper would panic and once again bolt into the safety of the woods.
I walked around the side of the house and saw the open gate in front of me. Piper was focused on eluding her owner and did not notice me. However, she was not yet secure. I approached the open gate with caution and the stealth of a S.W.A.T. team member.
The dog sitter asked, “Peter, should I let Luna (the other dog) outside? Piper loves playing with her and maybe she will follow her back inside the house.”
“Yes. Good idea.”
Luna came out with a fevered excitement and Piper “snapped out” of what appeared to be instinctual survival mode. As Piper and Luna engaged with one another, I closed the gate. Piper was secure in the yard and immediately followed her canine friend into the safety of the home.
The pet-sitter asked, “Peter, what do I owe you? Thank you.”
“Nothing” I replied.
Piper and Luna’s owner insisted, “I can write you a check. I owe you something.” He fought to withhold tears of gratitude. I gave him a hug and he cried heartily in my embrace.
I addressed both the pet-sitter and owner. “Both of your families can now rest peacefully and without worry. Please, try to enjoy the rest of your weekend. I need nothing more.”
In moments of others’ panic and desperation we may be the calm and reassuring presence they need. It is my hope that you will use your talents, your experience, and your gifts to help someone in need. Sometimes, the most difficult decision we have to make and the action we have to take is simply saying, “Yes, I will help.”
But let me tell you, the “payment” is worth every ounce of energy we may expend.
I ask you this: What gifts do you have that you can share with others?
When asked, will you please offer your help?
When needed, will you please go toward the pain and discomfort to help a stranger?
Your community needs you and the gifts you have to offer!
Be Kind. Be Thankful. Be Significant
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