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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

An Angel Named Roland...


I do not run. I was the kind of child that loved to sit. And read. Or watch television. I did like to be outdoors on a pretty Spring, Summer or Fall day. Playing. Playing that mostly included sitting. (I was a swimmer. Not a runner.)

When I was nine years old and in the 5th grade in Albuquerque, New Mexico (By the Way: I was almost two years younger than most of the kids I was in school with all of my life and this is a LONG story I won't tell now. You're welcome.), we were required to run, every day the weather permitted us to, around some baseball field backstops. Sometimes once around. Sometimes twice. Sometimes three times around those dadgum fences. This is when I began to have problems with asthma. A condition not completely understood over fifty years ago and certainly one that didn’t have a lot of good, safe medications to treat it. My (male) “Coach” thought I was just trying to get out of running—when I’d tell him I couldn’t breathe. He’d make me run an extra time or two around those lovely backstops. Because I complained. I loathed him. It was a tough year. The beginning of many tough years when it came to my asthma and other medical conditions/traumas I experienced.

So I do NOT run. Or jog. I can walk fast—if I must. When TLC, as a child, saw her Mama run? She would first beg me to stop. As she got older? She’d ORDER me to stop. I realized I was not a pretty sight.

Now to Roland—The Angel:

The day My Sweet Hubby (MSH) and I got the call that TLC and Her Hubby (HH) were taking Little Leighton (LL) to an emergency room, I threw many things into a couple of bags and then into my car: some clothes; my makeup; some shoes; jammies; a blanket and pillow (Us older peeps are too well aware of how cold and uncomfortable hospital rooms and the chairs/couches in them can be...); some of LL’s toys and stuffed animals I keep at our casa; and two or three of her favourite books.

When TLC realized their dog, Henry, would need to be fed and let out (they’d be about thirty minutes away from their home while in the Dallas hospital), and that I was the only one that had a key to their house (HH’s Dad had one—but he was out of state…), she asked me to drive to their home first. Although I was anxious to get to LL’s side, I understood this was important. Something that would help them focus 1000% on LL. Not to mention that LL loves her Henry.

A teensy bit over two hours later, I arrived at their home. Henry was happy to see me! He was hungry and obviously needed to go outside. I opened the back door into the yard. He flew out while I got his “supper” dish ready. As he ate (which takes approximately twenty seconds), I proceeded to go to LL’s room to pick up a few things TLC had asked me to bring. About two minutes later, I rounded the corner to go back into their kitchen/den and then on to TLC and HH’s room, to locate some items they were going to need. It was then I noticed the front door wide open. WIDE OPEN. A chill went down my spine.

Preface #2: 

It is imperative that one lock TLC’s front door upon entering or leaving her casa. Because it is probably not closed—if one doesn’t remember to do this.

A second chill went down my spine as I RAN to the front door, calling “Henry? Henry!”

Fortunately, he was standing in their front yard. Looking at me. Like he was thinking: “Yippee! Freedom! This old lady can’t possibly think I’m not going to take advantage of this opportunity.”

Off he went. Across the street. I told myself over and over: Stay calm. Act like you don’t care that he’s escaped. Don’t panic. Don’t run at him. Call his name with patience and kindness.

It occurred to me I needed a leash. I didn’t know exactly where it was in their house. And, even if I did know the leash’s location, I would risk losing sight of him if I didn’t stay right with him. They live one street away from a hugely busy street called, yep, get ready: Main Street. It is cRaZy busy. Tons o’ traffic. I was now getting constant chills down my spine. They were going to the top of my head, too. What if I couldn’t get him? What if he got hit by a car? How would I ever explain what I’d done? I simply could not allow myself to do anything but continually and calmly call him.

“Henry, do you want a treat? Here’s a treat!” I’d picked some grass from TLC's front lawn when he wasn’t looking at me and had tried to pretend it was something fabulous.

He was literally going nuts. He couldn’t decide which direction he wanted to go. Several times I thought I had him cornered. He’d run past me—with a look of complete mockery on his (feisty) face.

About six minutes had gone by. I’d been trying to walk—quickly—to keep up with him. Now he ran down the side of TLC’s home to the back alley. He ran in between houses to the next street over. I couldn’t stay calm and deliberate any more. I was going to lose him. I started running. And screaming at him with a note of frantic terror in my (very loud) high-pitched voice.

He took off to my right. If he stayed on this path, it was going to take him to the dreaded Main Street. Now I’m screaming:

“Henry! Stop!! Stop right now!!! I mean it!!!! I’m really getting mad at you!!!!!” Quietly, under my breath, I began praying:

“Please, Dear Lord God Almighty...Please help me capture this dog!! PLEASE!!! Please send an Angel to help me!!!! PLEASE!!!!!”

Now he had trapped himself between two houses—inside of an area that had a gate. I was getting sweaty. Tired. Out of breath. But very, very hopeful this ordeal was about to end. I tried talking to him in a sweet, encouraging way. He got past me and went in a different direction. This was better because he was heading away from Main Street. I asked God, again, to send me an Angel.

I was running as fast as a 60-year-old Geezette can, considering her circumstances (It was also about 95 degrees—a lovely July late afternoon day in Texas…) when, suddenly, out of literally nowhere, My Angel appeared! A man with a leash! Henry, being the obedient dog that he is, went right up to the man and stopped at his feet. I could have screamed—if I hadn’t been so deeply grateful. Henry stood there and let this Heavenly Neighbor Man put the leash on him.

“Oh, my goodness,” I cried. “You will never, ever, EVER know how much I appreciate you and your leash! Thank you so much for helping me! My 2-year-old granddaughter is in an ER in Dallas and I was to come feed this dog before going there. I live two hours from here. After I fed him, I didn’t have my daughter’s front door shut all the way and he got out. I didn’t know what I was going to do if I had to tell her and her husband what had happened. You have saved my life.”

He asked me where we needed to go. At this point, I was a bit confused as to which two houses Henry had originally passed through. The Heavenly Neighbor Man (45ish?) politely and kindly walked Henry behind me as I tried to figure out where we were! He was telling me he had two dogs and at least every two or three weeks at least one of them got out of their fence.

I found TLC’s backyard, opened the gate and asked My Angel if he’d wait there while I ran to the front of the house. I told him I was afraid the front door was wide open. It wasn’t. I let him into TLC’s home telling him I’d give him a million dollars—if I had it. He just laughed and said he was happy to help me.

At this point, I asked him his name and if he lived on that street we were on. “I’m Roland. Yes, I live at the end of that street. I’d gone out to my garage and heard you screaming. Then saw what was happening. Grabbed a leash.”

I told My Angel this:

“Roland, you are My Angel. I was praying to God that he send me an Angel. There you were. As I was getting exhausted and completely discouraged—there you were. I could never, ever thank you enough.”

He blushed and said he was glad he could help me and Henry. He went out the garage door and back to his home. Where I hope he had a lovely dinner waiting. Or a beer. Or both.

After lecturing Henry for about three solid minutes, telling him I’d be pushing his owners to enroll him in a minimum of six weeks in a TOUGH Obedience School—I headed to the hospital. I called MSH, who told me not to tell TLC and HH what had happened. At least not that night. I agreed it could be too much. As fate would have it, I had a chance, while we were waiting for LL to be transferred from the ER to a room on the Surgery floor, to confess what had happened. They were both extremely sorry I’d been through such drama. I repeated over and over: “I knew better. I knew to lock that door. I just didn’t. I made one of my many daily mistakes. Thank God for My Angel named Roland.”

We found moments, over the next few days, to laugh about the incident. I told TLC I wished she’d seen me running! She’d have loved it.

Thank you, again, Angel Roland. Thank you from the bottom of my unathletic heart. I won’t forget your kindness. I’ll be searching for a way to Pay It Forward. Soon.

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