It’s easy to be cynical in a time such as this where good deeds seem to be few and far between, but sometimes people surprise you.
On Sunday, May 28, I received a notification from my neighbor across the street that our dog had been hit by a car and had limped away. It was a warm night and my children and I were enjoying dinner on the patio at El Presidente. I didn’t rush home, thinking she must have been mistaken because our dog was sitting happily on the couch when we left.
Or so we thought.
When we arrived home we couldn’t find Bo, our four-year-old brindle boxer-pug (or Bugg, as they’re known). He wasn’t in the house as we thought we’d all seen; he didn’t come, tail and hind parts a-waggin’, when we called him. We couldn’t find him in our yard or on our street. There were no dogs barking in the neighborhood, always a sure sign of a canine tourist lurking about, but my teenagers were still searching for him. On a whim I went back into the backyard, called him and he appeared, hind leg broken and dangling but still living.
He’d seized an opportunity for freedom that ended with him cowering in the wet crawl space under our kitchen. He’d definitely had a run-in with a vehicle and definitely needed medical attention.
If you don’t know this about me, I panic a little too quickly. There are things I do well, but staying calm and not getting grossed out by bodily fluids and broken bones is not one of them. I am not your girl in an emergency. I called my teenagers back from their search, we wrapped the dog in a towel, and called my parents who took the dog (and my son) to the emergency vet clinic in Cordova.
It was Memorial Day weekend, the day after the second-worst power outage in Memphis history began, and only one such clinic was open. The person answering the phone was blunt and rude and it set a bad tone for the experience.
They didn’t get home until 4 a.m. and brought the dog back with a bandage and a splint and instructions to have plates and screws put it as soon as possible. The total estimate for that surgery was somewhere between $4,000 and $5,000 … and when you’re a single parent of four, you have to weigh your options no matter how much you and your children love your pets.
Due to the long weekend, we had to wait until Tuesday to take the dog to see a regular veterinarian. I almost decided to have him put down at the emergency vet but wanted to at least give my children an extra day or two with the dog while we weighed options. I’m so glad I did, because this is where the story begins to turn into something amazing.
Dr. Bobby Lee Hanks at Munford Animal Hospital gave us our options and I will be eternally grateful for the kindness of these strangers. If you’ve never been faced with potentially putting your child’s pet to sleep because you couldn’t afford a procedure, it’s not a great feeling and it’s stressful. After working with them, and them working with me, I will always bring my animals to them.
It sounds like normal, day-to-day operations there and nothing special, but it was a special thing for us. If you’ve been in this situation, you know exactly what I’m saying.
(Also, they have free water, good coffee, and tiny little cookies to munch on while you wait. That’s a nice selling point, too.)
If the story ended there – with exceptional, professional service and kindness we didn’t deserve – I would be grateful, but it still gets better.
Ten days post-surgery we took the dog back to have his stitches removed and found the remainder of our bill had been paid by an anonymous donor.
I’m not sure who this individual was, but I wanted to publicly thank you for what you’ve done on the heels of Dr. Hanks’ kindness. I could never thank you enough.
I’m the type of mother who believes there’s a teachable moment in every situation, and in this case it is all about character: compassion and giving with no expectations for reciprocity. I know my children will do nice things for others because they know how it feels to be on the receiving end of anonymous generosity.
It’s nice to be reminded that good people do exist.