Anya and I stood at the Feed Store counter looking closely at the flier. The puppy in the photo was an adorable glossy-haired pedigree pup with loving eyes and jaunty grin. “Remember this picture, Anya. She lived near our home and so maybe we’ll see her.” The little dog, Mollie, had ran out of her yard the night of July 4th, scared of the big booming fireworks. What I didn’t know is that Anya took me seriously. She left the feed store expecting to find that dog.

A week later my neighbor called, “Kirsten, a dog just came up to the yard and she’s in such bad shape I don’t know where to even start. I’m not sure if she even has eyes because the fur over them is so matted. She smells horrible. Can you help?” I thought it was strange for this neighbor to ask for my help since she had more experience with dogs than I, but I agreed to help and asked her to bring the dog to my house. I realize now that the friend’s call…and the friend coming to *my* house…was all part of the divine plan. A few minutes later she walked down my driveway, her arms covered in plastic bags, carrying a dog as far away from her chest as possible. As I approached I saw (and smelled!) why my friend was keeping her distance. This dog didn’t even look like a dog. She was just a pile of dirt and matted fur.

We put her in a tub of water and realized quickly our mistake. She was going to have to be shaved. We sat there looking at the pitiful lump of wetness–mere skin and bones–wondering what to do, when Anya came out the back door and exclaimed, “Mom! That’s the dog from the flier!”  I laughed at her. This package of nastiness was *not* the pretty, glossy doggie in the poster! Anya continued to insist she was the same dog until my friend finally called the number.

I will never forget the scene that unfolded before my eyes a few minutes later. I can still see the lady’s face framed in the windshield of the car as she drove up–the tires screeching as she jumped out–tears running down her face. I smiled as I saw the mismatched shoes upon her feet! When she received the phone call, she hadn’t paused long enough to choose matching shoes.  The sight of the puppy at my feet was joy personified: Molly’s entire body was wiggling and hopping with happiness and excitement.

Molly had been away from home for a full two weeks. She was over two-miles away from her house. Her owner had almost given up hope.

I’m so glad Anya held on to hope for all of us.

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