A Boy and a Dog
A Boy. A Dog. A Love Story. What is it about children and animals that touches our hearts... and in this case caused an entire community to rally their support.
The boy is Parker, the dog is Candy, and the Mom is Wendy, my friend. When Parker was diagnosed at an early age with Asperger’s (a form of autism) I watched the family’s often painful struggle with the challenges this presented. When Candy entered their lives as a therapy service dog for Parker, things improved beyond measure. She calmed him down during outbursts, she attended school with him, and as Parker said yesterday, “She became a sister to me.” They were inseparable. Parker and Candy did agility training and won many ribbons. Parker’s confidence grew through the years as quickly as Candy’s jumps through all the hoops that won many awards
Flash forward to this week: Candy slipped out of a back door at the groomer’s where she had been going for 7 years. When the family arrived to pick her up after her appointment, she was no where to be found.
Within hours a community rallied. Friends sent email blasts, posters were made and put up, kids rode their bikes in the greenbelts, friends walked their own dogs hoping to attract her, others drove their cars slowly through parking lots of near-by apartment complexes. The local NBC affiliate (Channel 12) came and interviewed the family and did a LEAD story that night on the news. They continued it in the morning with tag lines under the TODAY show.
Candy was found the next day at the Mesa Animal Shelter where an anonymous lady and her daughter dropped her off after finding her wandering near the shopping center where she escaped, probably five minutes from the groomer’s. The story has a happy ending with reunion of boy and dog.
But this blog entry is more than a boy/dog story. To me it is a tribute to the power of friendship and community. As I stood at Wendy’s front porch that night when the news media arrived and looked around at the friends who gathered to support this family, I, in spite of the grim situation, felt so blessed to be a part of this community with the ancient Indian name, Ahwatukee--which has the goodness of small-town America in a city of 8 million. Sometimes when I watch TV shows from the 50’s I yearn to live in a place like Mayberry where people looked out for each other and then I realized, I DO live in such a place...now in the 21st Century.
In this day when horrid crimes and rampage shootings seem to fill our news, it was a balm for all of us to rally round a story that showed the goodness of people. And a love story....between a boy and a dog.