Mindy was a good natured, fluffy, white dog with gray spots, and the Fourth of July was a terrible time for her. She went nuts at the sound of fireworks. At the first crackle or boom she would whimper, then try to scratch her way out of the house or garage or yard, or wherever she was confined.
Every year seemed to affect her worse, until the year we finally took her to the vet and got her doggy tranquilizers. I hid the pill in a cube of cheese. She swallowed it whole. By the time we left the house to join the annual Fourth of July celebration in the park, Mindy was passed out in her dog house, safe in the backyard.
We had a great time watching the dazzling display. But by the end of the event, I felt a little anxious to see if Mindy was all right.
When we arrived home, there were more fireworks going off up and down our street. I took a flashlight to look for Mindy but found her doghouse empty and a huge new hole dug under our fence: Mindy had escaped.
I circled the house in the dark, calling her name, but there was no sign of her. It was useless. I would have to wait for morning to look for her.
At 8 a.m. I was out calling, “Mindy … Mindy.” Turning the corner about two blocks from home, I saw a big red dog standing in the middle of the street. An Irish setter, just standing there looking back at me. As I approached, he seemed to be waiting for me. Was he another lost dog?
I stretched out my hand for him to sniff me, then slowly reached to grasp his collar to examine his tag. “Samuel” was clearly printed and a home address was on the back. It was the house just across the street. Holding onto his collar, I guided him up the front walk and knocked on the door. A kindly, gray-haired woman answered.
“Is this your dog?” I asked.
“Why, yes! There you are, Samuel, I was wondering where you went off to.”
As she spoke, I could see there was another dog behind her, struggling to get around — a fluffy white dog with gray spots.
“That’s my dog!” I exclaimed. “But how, how did Mindy get here?”
“Oh, Samuel has been bringing home stray dogs all night,” she said matter-of-factly. “I’m so glad he brought you to your dog.”
“But how could Samuel have known?” I blurted.
The lady just shrugged and replied, “I guess he lives up to his name.”
It was some time later when I thought to look up the meaning of the name “Samuel” online: “One who hears God.”
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