"I've seen and met angels wearing the disguise of ordinary people leading ordinary lives."- Tracy Chapman
The street I grew up on has always been considered a hidden gem in my parent’s neighborhood. It’s sort of off the beaten path and concealed amongst a huge park and ravine. Over the years my brother, sister, and I have rescued so many lost dogs out of both the ravine and the park that it’s become second nature to us. I will never forget a particular rescue about ten years ago when we saved two large dogs out of the ravine at the back of our house. It was a Sunday, and outside the rain was coming down hard. We could hear barking coming from the backyard and when I looked out through the large living room window of our house, I could see a black Lab and a Golden Retriever in the ravine on the other side of the hill. They seemed to be stuck and in distress. Without even thinking, my brother and I ran outside and soaking us through the rain and mud, managed to get a hold of the dogs. They had gotten stuck amongst fallen trees and were scared. My brother and I got them safe back to our house, and immediately called the phone numbers on their tags. They were soon reunited with their owners who lived a few streets south of us. At the time, I would have named that as the number one dog save that I had done in my life; however, since then there have been a plethora of others that have been just as heroic.
Last Saturday as I was coming out of the house on my way to meet a friend for brunch, I saw a little white dog that lives on the street running by. His name is Rico and he belongs to our neighbors a few doors down. His owners were nowhere in sight and I figured he must have gotten loose on his own. To my horror, I watched as a car swerved by him without stopping. I immediately ran into the street and called his name a few times. He stopped and looked at me, with his tail wagging with excitement. Then he came over to me. I picked him up and headed up the street towards his house. As I approached his driveway, Rico’s owner came running down it waving her arms frantically.
“Oh my god, Oh my god!” she screamed. She told me she was helping her daughter put her boots on, and Rico must have escaped through the open door. I told her he had been heading up towards Bathurst Street when I caught him. She thanked me over and over with tears in her eyes. I told her it was just perfect timing that I happened to come out of the house at that second. We said goodbye and I headed back home, but a few seconds later she was calling me back.
“Andrea, I completely forgot, my son made something for you in school,” she said. I was confused. “Really?” I asked. She grabbed my arm and said, "Yes, yes! Wait here. I’ll go get him.” She went into the house and a few moments later returned with her eight-year-old son, Victor. He handed me a little doll made out of yarn with googley eyes, that he had made.
“It’s called a Waggle,” Victor said. “It’s supposed to make you happy. My teacher told us that we should give it to someone that we know who is feeling very very sad. I wanted to give it to you because I know that you’re sad because you’re dad died. I think it will cheer you up.”
I was stunned. I had only met Victor three or four times since his young family had moved onto the street a year ago. I was so touched that he had thought of me. I leaned over, and with tears in my eyes gave him a hug.
“Thank you for saving my dog,” he called out, as I began my short journey home. I turned back and smiled.
“Thank you for saving me,” I responded.