Today my heart is full with faith in my fellow man. As I was driving to town this morning, an old dog staggered onto the road in front of me. He was a skinny thing, Labx, every rib visible, and he appeared to be blind. I pulled over to see if he had a tag. The weather was awful, 33 degrees and raining, and I wanted to help him get home. But no luck – he would come about 2 feet from me then weave away out of reach. He was full of burs and had scratches on his legs. Both eyes were cloudy with cataracts.

Cars were speeding by and I stepped into the road to make them slow down fearing that the dog may wander back into the road and get hit. I squatted by the roadside hoping to get him to come to me. I figured I could take him to the vet or shelter if I could catch him. As I sat there, an SUV pulled over. Two folks jumped out and grabbed a leash from the back seat. Perfect. I filled them in on the situation and one approached the dog while I minded traffic.

The dog was now a bit panicked and disoriented and tried to scramble through a barbed-wire fence into a field. A few other cars stopped traffic to let us focus. The dog growled at us and barked a bit, but they were nervous barks, not aggressive. Nonetheless, I know better than to reach for a frightened animal.

Suddenly a UPS truck pulled over and the guys inside offered us dog treats. Awesome! The dog seemed to love the treats, he was starving. With some patience and persistence, the guy with a leash was able to slip a noose over the dog’s neck. The dog seemed to calm a bit when he felt the leash but he didn’t want to move. What next? I said I would take him to town, but we were all a bit worried if he was safe to handle. A couple poured some water and offered it to the dog. He drank eagerly.

Then I looked up to see a police cruiser pulling over, his lights flashing. Someone must have seen us in trouble and called for help. The officer said he would take the dog to the SPCA. I grabbed the emergency blanket from my car and the officer wrapped up the dog and put him in the cruiser. Amazing. We all hugged each other in relief, a group of total strangers bonded by this experience in the middle of the road in the rain.

As I followed the flashing lights of the cruiser, I felt so much gratitude for the folks who took the time to stop and help. This was a lucky day for that dog, he had a flock of angels around him. I’m not sure how much more time he has left on earth but today he was loved, had a few treats and hopefully will enjoy a good meal. This is what the holidays are all about for me.

Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, and Happy Kwanza – may your holidays give you a few special treats, a good meal, and some love (my dog Mel recommends a belly scratch!). – Shari