Miracles—genuine ones—are common things, or at least so I’ve become convinced, despite the fact that I’m like most everybody else, in that I tend to miss them when they happen, or, if I do perceive them in the moment, I forget the import of what occurred after an extremely short interval.
It’s a human failing. We watch The Ten Commandments and wonder how the Israelites could forget the significance of the parting of the Red Sea and be dancing in front of a golden calf within mere minutes; on its face the narrative doesn’t seem to make any sense, but maybe this narrative is telling us something very important that we continually need to relearn about ourselves.
And so to the peanut, and a miracle that is for a time in the pages of the press: Peanut is the name of a dog, a small mutt who about a year ago was taken in by a shelter in Michigan with two broken legs, some broken ribs, and a stomach that was filled with carpet fabric. In any grand scheme of things, and even on the most mundane and parochial level, this little animal had been consigned to the garbage. Reduced thusly to detritus, no one would have missed her beating heart. Yet: one humble miracle occurred, when those people at the shelter where she was taken in thought it was worth preserving her life, and nursing her back to health. And then, a second miracle occurred, as she was adopted into the home of a new owner, a new family. Yet, these are the daily kinds of miracles to which no one pays any attention, and, to be honest, who really has the time?
Her only word to her rescuers was “doggie.”
All of which brings us to the miracle that is generating a handful of headlines
today. A few days ago (on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th), this same little mutt started acting strangely. She was running up and down the stairs, barking and yelping. She ran into the garage, and convinced the man of the house there that she needed to go out immediately. She then bolted towards a field behind the family’s house. The man wondered where she was going and why, and so he followed her. He followed this poor little mutt all the way to a naked, shivering 3 year-old girl in a ditch, exposed in a 32 degree Fahrenheit environment. He wrapped the girl up in his own shirt, brought her inside and called for help. She was taken to the hospital safely. Her only word to her rescuers was “doggie.” Later her home was located, and then a sibling at the home was also taken in due to unsafe living conditions.
One child’s life was saved, and maybe two. What will they go on to do with their lives? All because a piece of detritus, a living creature, broken and on the brink of death herself, was momentarily looked on with some kindness and compassion, and given the chance to live and do good. A miracle like this, and a turn of events like this, is, I think, really a living and breathing poem, albeit one written by a Poet beyond the judgment of any Nobel committee.
And there’s a longer term miracle at issue too, in the question of how dogs relate to people, and why they even care about unrelated human beings, as previously dwelt upon in this space in “The Concern of a Canine.”
So many miracles, so little time. It’s a good problem to have. If we pay close enough attention—who knows?—maybe it’s a problem we all have.