Over the last few weeks, I've
been searching for silver linings in the recent storm clouds of
terrorism. I found a glistening, shining one:
A month ago, soon after the tragedies of the morning of September 11,
2001, my friend Cia and I were having lunch together. Cia mysteriously mentioned that she had thought of me over the
weekend and paused.
week before at lunch, I pulled out a folded article torn out
of our local mountain newspaper to show Cia. I knew
she'd understand my concern as we are both dog lovers.
We are owned by O and Freddy B, and she and Ed, her husband,
are owned by Winnie and Buddy. We've cried over the losses of
our departed dogs, Happy, Lucky and Buster.
our mountain was a dumping ground for dogs. Conflicted between
giving up their unwanted dogs to be euthanized, most likely,
or giving them a chance for survival, however remote, people
were releasing these unwanted dogs to the wild. Domesticated
and dependent on humans, most of these dogs were being
sentenced to death. For some, a slow death by starvation or
exposure; for others, a
swift one, by being attacked then eaten by coyotes.
This disturbing article
deeply touched me, and I told Cia that as soon as I retire to
the mountains, I am getting involved with Dog Rescue. By
helping to find these dogs good homes, I would have the
opportunity to "give back" to the canine species for
a lifetime of joy.
Cia's pause was a
pregnant, suspenseful one, and my curiosity was piqued. I pressed
Cia for details, and she gifted me with one heck of a late-night dog adventure:
It was "girls'
night out" and Cia and her best friend were intent on
being good, dutiful Americans. Just as President Bush had
encouraged, they were going to do their patriotic best to keep the economy,
ravaged by the terrorist events, afloat by spending money.
After an evening of shopping
and late-night book browsing at Barnes & Noble until it closed, they were
driving home when Cia spotted a dog
running loose on a major thoroughfare.
Most people brake
for animals; Cia gets out and tries to rescue them. Her friend was driving, and
Cia immediately realized that if she did nothing, this dog's
life was now numbered in mere seconds. She persuaded her
cat-lover friend into pulling over to the curb. Cia was
going to do her best to try to save this dog from a certain and
cautiously getting out in the middle of the street to get the
dog out of harm's way. Mind
you, this dog was a perfect stranger to Cia.
As she later
learned, this dog's name was Silver. Barely
dodging cars, Silver had already caused a driver to swerve onto a lane with,
fortunately, no oncoming traffic. With a break in the traffic,
Silver abruptly took off toward a side street.
Undeterred, Cia jumped back in the car, and they took off in hot pursuit of the wayward dog.
Cia spotted Silver again, and once again, her friend pulled over. And once again,
Cia was out in the night, this time in an unfamiliar, poorly
By slowly and calmly
approaching Silver, she soothed and coaxed the spooked dog with
soft words. What a perfectly Cia thing to do.
when I was slogging through the most difficult time of my life
when I was feeling ripped apart inside, Cia miraculously came into my life. I was putting on a brave
face, but inside I was as fragile as thin glass that could be
shattered at the slightest provocation.
At our first meeting,
I recognized Cia was a
friendly, vaguely familiar soul, a trustworthy one who could be counted on in a time of
need. Cia became my silver lining; as we spent time together, she
soothed me into a safe place. With patience and caring, she coaxed
me out of throwing in the towel at work. Just as I did, Silver responded to
Cia's kindness, and soon,
her welcoming arms.
Just as she once sheltered
my broken heart, Cia brought Silver home for safekeeping. Checking
her tags, she learned her name.
Silver. Silver, as in,
every cloud, there's a silver lining."
Phoning the number on his
tag, she left a message on the answering machine of Silver's human. Cia
went to bed, exhausted, only to be awaken a few hours later by a call
at 4:30! Silver's night owl owner had been out on the town,
returning home to find Silver gone. Apparently, Silver had found a way
out of the enclosed backyard. He was worried sick, until he checked his
answering machine. Cia's message was a godsend.
Within minutes, Silver was joyfully reunited with his much relieved, grateful human, who wanted to pay
her trouble. She refused the money, but extracted a promise, "If
you see a dog in trouble, you'll get out and help."
The End of Cia's
And so I've named this
entry, Silver Linings. Had it not been for the tragedies, Cia
and Liz would not have been out shopping that night. And Silver
would be gone. This story would not have been shared between
friends. And this story would not have been told here.
I'd like to think Silver's and
Cia's guardian angels took good notes that night and dispatched laudatory
rose letters to the
Boss. If the Heavenly Family was too busy with the magnitude of
assistance needed elsewhere, I'm writing this all down for
future reference to be reviewed when things calm down again.
God, thank you for
postponing Silver's Doggie Heaven arrival and for protecting Cia, as she was out there in traffic creating that
You know how
You've impressed on me that what goes around, comes around?
Would you consider bountifully blessing Cia?
Because of Cia's
braveness and caring, Silver was not hurt. She's one of your
angels-in-training, alright. That night, she was
Silver's guardian angel.
In closing, I'm
feeling so very blessed to
have this HEROINE as my friend. Cia is as much a hero to me as
those New York firemen who put their lives on the line to help
perfect strangers in dire straits.
And I get to work with Cia, too,
doing what we both like doing best -- helping others. On and off
the job, she's committed.
Although dark clouds
of death have gathered in our world, there are sparkling silver
and with eyes that see, we can see them.