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ST. NICHOLAS TEACHES REAL MESSAGE FOR THE NEW YEAR

ST. NICHOLAS TEACHES REAL MESSAGE FOR THE NEW YEAR

My husband, Terry, and I were on our way to Sandusky Mall to do some last minute shopping. As we were going down Rt. 412 we saw a large, honey-colored dog running frantically down the middle of the road.

Image -  - My eyes met with this poor, frightened fellow and I felt his confusion. I reached for him and almost had him, when he bolted, and took off once more. He seemed so afraid.

My eyes met with this poor, frightened fellow and I felt his confusion. I reached for him and almost had him, when he bolted, and took off once more. He seemed so afraid.

The problem was the snow had been piled up really high on both sides of the road from a snowplow, and this dog was essentially "trapped" on the road, as he was hesitant to climb the high drifts. The temperature was an icy and bone-chilling -1°.

Large trucks and cars were coming from both directions so we placed our van sideways to stop traffic. I got out of the van and called the dog over to me. We had just picked up a few cans of Science Diet food from the vet’s office for our cat Katie, who was experiencing kidney trouble. I grabbed a can of her food and pulled off the lid. I wasn't able to get within six feet of this poor dog. He was limping and obviously freezing cold and very frightened.

We went one way, turned around in one farm’s drive, and went the other, etc. for about fifteen minutes. Back and forth. The dog would not come.

A young girl of about twenty came out of one of the houses and said, "Did you dump that poor dog there?" We explained that we were members of Society for the Protection of Animals and were trying to get hold of the dog so that we could help it.

She asked her parents if she could go in the van with us, and they agreed. So now three of us were attempting to get hold of this poor dog. No luck.

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At one point the dog ran up a neighboring farmer’s driveway and stood near a garage door. The young girl went around the car one way and I went the other.

My eyes met with this poor, frightened fellow and I felt his confusion. I reached for him and almost had him, when he bolted and took off once more. He seemed so afraid. I was actually surprised that he bolted, because usually when I look into a dog’s eyes when they are in a compromised position, they come to me. This time was different.

The dog finally ran across a frozen field. The snow there was two feet high or more in most places. He must have been exhausted. He slowly hopped and ran towards the turnpike plaza and we all felt very sad.

Image -  - What I realized is how blessed we were to have met this very special dog. He had not inconvenienced us, but had blessed us with a feeling that money could not buy in any store.

What I realized is how blessed we were to have met this very special dog. He had not inconvenienced us, but had blessed us with a feeling that money could not buy in any store.

The moisture inside our noses was frozen and by now, my legs felt numb with pain as I felt my frozen jeans rubbing against my legs. My skin actually hurt. It was indeed a bitter Ohio winter’s day.

I gave the girl our cell number and our home number, and asked her to please put out a pan of dry dog food (wet would freeze in minutes). I told her he didn’t stand much chance in this frigid weather and that I would be hoping to hear good news from her. It would take a lot of luck, but there was a slim chance that he sensed we were trying to help him, and he might come back.

My husband and I talked about this dog as we got back into the van and we both felt that this dog stood little chance of surviving the brutal, cutting cold with no shelter or food. He must have had some level of frostbite by now. We knew chances were slim to none that this twenty-year-old girl would ever be able to get hold of this cold and frightened dog.

We hadn’t been at the Mall more than a couple hours when I received her call. I will never forget her words...

"I’ve got him! I’ve got him!" she shouted into the phone with glee.

She was so happy and said she just couldn’t believe what happened. She said the dog came back across the frozen field (a considerable distance with very high, icy snow) soon after we left and kept circling their home acting very frightened. She said that she set a dish of dry food inside her garage door, and after a couple of hours, he eventually came in to eat. She then shut the garage door behind him. She said he was limping badly, and that he had cuts on his feet.

Unfortunately for us, we had nowhere to take this dog and knew that both vets’ offices that we regularly use had no boarding available. We had called earlier in the day to inquire about boarding one of our foster dogs and were told that they were booked solid. It was, after all, Christmas Eve.

I am embarrassed to say we had not gotten around to most of our Christmas shopping. So here it was, Christmas Eve, and once again our plans were altered with yet another animal emergency. We knew we wanted to help this dog, but what about all of the Christmas presents not yet purchased? We looked at each other and knew what we had to do.

My son, his wife, and our one and only very special granddaughter, Olivia, were coming on the 26th from California. And where were we going to take this dog? We knew we had no room; we were already caring for six foster dogs and many more foster cats. We couldn’t bring one more dog home.

As much as I wonder about the effectiveness of prayer, I heard myself thinking, "Dear God, please help us find a place to take this dog where he can be safe and warm."

Image -  - Nicholas was a beautiful dog, and we simply couldn't understand how someone wasn't missing him.

Nicholas was a beautiful dog, and we simply couldn't understand how someone wasn't missing him.

We were in Sears at the time, and I called Dr. Stacy at Tri County Veterinary Clinic in Fostoria, Ohio. His office was furthest away, but I felt that I should call there first. It was 3 p.m. and the day before Christmas, so they were closed, of course. Their message gave a number to call in case of emergency. Dr. Stacy answered. I explained the situation, and he said, "Well, believe it or not Barb, we had a last minute cancellation today, and we have one run open. If you can get him here by 5 p.m. that will be fine. I will meet you at the clinic and take a look at him."

Tears welled in my eyes, and I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. There was ONE kennel available because someone had cancelled.

Because it was Christmas eve, I thought of the story of Mary, many years ago, traveling with Joseph, weary from their journey, knowing the time to give birth was near. I thought of how she must have felt knowing that there were no vacancies anywhere for her to give birth to her baby. Certainly rescuing this dog in no way compared to her story; it is simply what came to my mind.

We made a few quick calculations, and then Terry and I looked at each other and said, "That gives us one more hour to do some serious power shopping. We reviewed our list and split up. It is amazing how much we were able to accomplish.

When we finally arrived at the girl’s garage, we carefully opened and walked through the door, and there was this poor boy, lying on some old shirts. They had given him food and water, and he was out of the wind, but the temperature was still in the single digit range inside of their garage.

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We didn’t know if he was friendly or if he might bite us. We always carry leashes in our vehicles, so I had a choker chain and a leash. I knelt down and called him over to me. He walked in circles around me. He would not look into my eyes. He was beautiful, a shepherd mix, perhaps.

Finally, he came close enough for Terry and me to slip the collar over his head. We took him immediately into the well-heated van with no problems. I sat down on the back seat with him, and allowed him his space. I talked to him for at least fifteen minutes until I slowly and gently reached my hand over to stroke his back. Still, he would not make eye contact with me. I felt him tremble and shake.

After about twenty minutes in the van driving towards Fostoria, I told him what a good boy he was. Then I heard a "thump, thump, thump," as his tail hit the back of the seat. I was watching his face intently, when suddenly, he cast a quick glance my way.

At that instant, I realized that he hadn’t inconvenienced us at all. That I wasn’t upset that we hadn’t been allowed to finish all of our Christmas shopping. That this ordeal wasn’t about Terry and me. It was about the preservation of life. It was about how all life is inter-connected. It was about compassion, not presents.

What I realized is how blessed we were to have met this very special dog. He had not inconvenienced us, but blessed us with a feeling that money could not buy in any store.

As we pulled up into the parking lot at the Clinic, he was leaning against my shoulder, touching me in a trusting way. Now, every time I addressed him, it was followed with a, "thump, thump, thump."

He had no collar, and we assume someone dumped him. He didn’t seem to have a winter coat, so I would imagine he was an inside dog. He was already neutered.

We have named this special dog St. Nicholas.

Christmas has since past, but hopefully we will carry St. Nicholas’s message with us each day through-out the New Year.

Image -  - Nicolas was adopted by a loving, gentle family who lives near Columbus, Ohio. There, he met his very own boy name Cameron, seen in the above photo hugging his new friend, Nicolas!

Nicolas was adopted by a loving, gentle family who lives near Columbus, Ohio. There, he met his very own boy name Cameron, seen in the above photo hugging his new friend, Nicolas!

Nicholas was eventually adopted by a wonderful family who lives near Columbus. Nicholas is living the easy life now, where he is pampered and loved.

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A few months later, this family adopted another rescued dog from us. His name is Chance and he soon became best buds with Cameron and Nicholas! And they all lived happily ever after!

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