Lassie Come Home. Homeward Bound. Milo and Otis. Stories featuring lost pets, especially dogs, returning home warm the heart and capture the imagination. To this canon we can now add our own contribution. Oscar: Lost and Found...Again!
A few weeks ago I wrote this account of how our nearly blind pet dog, Oscar, ran off on the stormy night we returned from vacation. You may recall that he was picked up by a passing stranger, watched by a neighbor overnight, and through the wonders of social media returned to us the next day. Never did we think that there would be a sequel that followed so quickly on the heels of this story.
However, last Tuesday evening Miriam and I returned home in the late evening from different meetings within minutes of each other. As I entered the house, Miriam was heading out the door with Oscar, who she said was acting strangely. Occasionally prone to minor seizures, he appeared to be having one that evening. After watching him for awhile, she came inside to check on something for just a minute. Yet when she returned outside, Oscar, who never runs away (except for these two incidents I am now recounting), was nowhere to be found.
So once again we went through neighbors' yards, searched the roads, and tromped through woods with flashlights to no avail. Unlike the previous time, there was no quick rescue via social media. Instead, our family was trolled on the internet for not loving our pet well enough to keep him from getting lost a second time. Oscar continued to be missing the next day, then the following, and was still gone on the third day. My poor wife shed many a tear over her loving little companion. She blamed herself for losing him yet again.
Yet we discovered that the internet is not all evil. We had no idea that in our area there is a Beaver County Lost and Found Pets Group that has over 12,000 members! The day after Oscar came up missing, an organizer of the group, a lady named Susie, appeared at our door wearing her bright, lime green shirt that stated a pet rescue was in process. She helped Miriam search for several hours for Oscar. The next day at her prompting 100 posters of Oscar were printed, put in plastic bags, and several helpers stapled and taped the posters to poles all around our neighborhood. Through this process we learned that 93% of lost dogs are eventually returned to their owners. Though we had given up hope, these folks kept us going.
After three nights with no sign of Oscar, our son Trevor came over with his family to help search on Friday. He came despite the fact that his mom had resigned herself to the thought that Oscar had gone off to die somewhere and had encouraged them not to come. After eating breakfast at our home, Trevor took our three year old grandson, Ezra, down in the woods behind our house - where we had already looked before - to start searching. In less than five minutes, Trevor and Ezra saw Oscar walking through some ferns heading in their direction! They scooped him up and, as the video below shows, returned him happily to Miriam!
After three days out in the woods with no food, Oscar had lost some weight, had a number of ticks on him, and was limping a bit. But after a few days of TLC, our doubly lost and doubly found dog is back to his old self. He even playfully growled at me tonight when I pretended I was going to take his doggie biscuit from him.
I share this little story in the same spirit as the first story. We have shared with many the great joy of finding a lost dog yet another time. Yet the lesson of this parable cannot be overlooked. How much more joy there is when a lost sinner, found by Christ yet who wanders again, is restored to the Savior! Let us praise our Lord who is willing to seek us and restore us more than once!