Silver Linings

Friday, October 12, 2001



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.

Background: The 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.

It described how 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 messy death. 

Cia hopped out, 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 lit neighborhood.  

By slowly and calmly approaching Silver, she soothed and coaxed the spooked dog with soft words. What a perfectly Cia thing to do. 

Years ago, 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, she was safe in 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, "Behind 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 Cia for 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 Adventure Story.

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 postponement. 

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 linings.  Unmired and with eyes that see, we can see them. 


Doggily yours,
Author Unknown


"Life is a Gift."


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This web journal was created on a September Morn, September 29, 2001.
September Morn 2001