Something beautiful happened this morning.
I received a short video clip from a stranger.
The video starts inside the house. A toddler in a t-shirt and underpants is standing with his dog, Max. Max looks much like any other loved pet. Eyes fixed lovingly on the little boy, tail wagging, following the child out the door. The boy’s hand rests gently on the big dog’s back. There is another child in the video, a little girl holding her blanket. The children and Max walk outside onto the deck, down a sidewalk, and onto the driveway. The woman behind the camera is gently coaxing them. Max is on a leash held by the little boy. They have done this many times before.
When they get to the car parked in the driveway, the woman gently instructs them, “the back seat, boo, put him in the back seat.” Max is listening and turns at the sound of the woman’s voice. His face is very swollen, he’s too thin, every rib showing. His tail wags happily, and when the little boy opens the back door, Max jumps in expectantly. He loves to go on car rides. They have done this many times before.
My throat swells and tears begin to well in my eyes. I blink them back, but they start falling any way. They have done this many times before.
The woman says, “I love you very much.” I’m not sure if she’s talking to the little boy or to Max, but I’m certain that she does love them both very much. She has told them so many times before.
But this will be the last time. The last time Max will go on a car ride. The last time the little boy will walk him on a leash. The last time the woman will tell Max that she loves him. Max is very sick. Today, the woman is going to lovingly let Max go.
I don’t know this family. I have never met Max. Why did this woman send me this video this morning?
Well. . . about a month ago, this woman contacted me. Max had been sick. They had done all they could for him, but they were out of money, they needed help and they didn’t know where to turn. I made arrangements for veterinary care for Max. They were able to keep him a little while longer. They were able to love him a little while longer.
She sent me the video this morning because she wanted me to see what I had given them.
“I know he doesn’t realize it yet but the bear (the boy in the video) will grow up and realize that he got extra time with his best buddy because of you and the SPCA and I’ll never forget that fact and bring you a bag full of shoes and when I come down this weekend I’m going to bring some canned food to you all tell me what else you need and I’ll do my best to bring it to you.”
My answer to her, “You have already given me more than you will ever know.”
Small, quiet moments of grace. . .
Borrowed time to love without compromise. . .
A gentle good-bye. . .
A boy and his dog.