Today we almost lost Snowy.
For good. Forever.
We got three inches of snow last night. When Steve got up at 5 am to let Snowy out onto the back deck, the leash that we usually hook him to was completely buried. So Steve left Snowy outside for just a second to “do his business” while he ran back inside to get a coat.
When Steve returned, Snowy had disappeared.
It was 30 degrees and still snowing as Steve went out and called for Snowy. And he called and called.
There was no answering response; no flash of white fluff headed back in his direction.
For an hour, Steve continued to call Snowy’s name, and drive the neighborhood.
He finally came up and woke me about 6 am and explained what had happened. He said he wanted me to go downstairs to be available in case Snowy returned while he started driving around surrounding neighborhoods.
Of course, both of us were thinking, “Small dog. Freezing temperature. Is he even still alive?”
As soon as Steve drove away, I threw on my coat over my pajamas and started walking up and down our street in the darkness, with snow and tears smearing my glasses.
“Snowy! Snowy! Come, Snowy!”
Walk. Call. Cry. Pray. Repeat. Tears in my eyes. Tears in the snow.
I walked for ten minutes and heard and saw nothing. He’d been gone an hour and a half by that point and I knew that he could have wandered far away or else he could be hung up in some of the underbrush in the woods surrounding our neighborhood. And although Steve was driving up and down the icy roads looking for him, I knew that it was very possible Snowy wouldn’t be in sight of any road.
I had just about given up any hope of finding him alive. I tried not to think about our little buddy, alone and cold, and freezing to death, wondering where his mom and dad and sister were; wondering why no one was coming to help him. And I tried not to think about him dying without loving hearts surrounding him.
And then I got to thinking about Sarah just starting a new school and struggling to adjust, and losing her best fluffy friend in the midst of it all. I couldn’t even imagine her grief and trauma.
More walking. More tears. More praying. More calling out his name.
I turned to walk back to the house, wondering if I should wake Sarah or let her sleep. I didn’t want to worry her needlessly but if things were to continue the way they were going, she needed to be told that her little buddy wasn’t coming back home.
I had been back in the house just a minute or two when Steve’s car pulled up and he walked into the house.
With Snowy under his jacket.
I absolutely could not believe my eyes. He was safe! And alive!
And just about frozen stiff.
There was ice hanging from the fur under his belly, he was soaking wet, glassy-eyed and lethargic. After I had kissed Snowy’s pitiful wet head, Steve took him upstairs to start drying him with a hair dryer while I threw a couple big towels in the dryer.
It was such a wonderful feeling to take that small shivering creature in my arms and wrap him in a big fluffy, warm towel. He lay very still on my lap, his breathing alarmingly slow, not whimpering, not moving.
Steve worried about pneumonia; I wondered how low his core body temp had gotten. And Snowy just lay ever so still in the middle of it all.
As Snowy began to slowly warm up, I asked Steve where he had found him. Steve said that he had checked the neighborhoods to our north and then turned around to check in the other direction. And there, two neighborhoods over from ours, he finally found the prodigal, pitiful pup, limping slowly up the middle of the dark, silent street, soaked to the skin, covered in ice.
It was a miracle that Steve just happened to go down that particular street right as Snowy happened to be walking there. If he had gone to that neighborhood first, he might have missed Snowy altogether. And seeing a white dog against white snow in early morning darkness is not the easiest thing to do anyway.
So we just believe that God led Snowy to the right place at the right time so that he could be reunited with the family who loves him.
Snowy has a lot yet to accomplish in his life. He has to finish college. He has to ignore his instructor. He has to graduate “non cum laude.”
He has to continue to bring joy to the heart of his family who loves him so much.
Welcome home, little guy. Welcome home.