Monday, February 02, 2015

Bad Weather, Good Deeds

See? Two feet of snow!As you may have heard, Chicago got hit with about two feet of snow over the course of the past 1.5 days. It was the kind of snowfall where you wake up, look outside, and are truly awed by what transpired overnight.

Awed... and then depressed because you know somebody's gotta shovel all that snow.

My husband and I had already each shoveled our front walkway once yesterday morning (though within 30 minutes after we were done you couldn't even tell) when I saw a beige blur amidst all of the blinding white out of our front window. I stopped and looked again. There was a furry Golden Retriever running around the parking lot across from us. People park there for a nearby church, so it was packed with cars and I couldn't tell if perhaps someone had just let their dog out for a run before heading back home.

So I waited and in the meantime called my husband's attention to the situation. Within about 30 seconds it was clear no one was with the dog.

If you know me, then you also know that I love animals more than I love most humans. I don't even really remember what I was doing when I figured out that the dog was loose, but I'm pretty sure I literally dropped everything and started scrambling to find my boots and coat and gloves.

Chilly bean. Get it?
Chaos erupted in our house. I was running around like a maniac putting on my stuff. Dustin was hollering a play-by-play of the dog's actions: "He's coming toward the road! Now he's running down to the church—YOU BETTER HURRY! OK now he's coming back to the lot! OK now he's sniffing the ground..."

Desmond could sense something was going on and started shouting, "Mommy gonna save the doggy?!? Mommy gonna save the doggy?!?" and then OUR dog Wrigley started barking, as if he knew a fellow lab needed help.

My biggest fear was that the dog would run into the road. We live on an extremely busy street, and with all the snow, anyone trying to stop suddenly would surely start skidding all over the place.

But the weather actually helped in this situation. Hardly anyone had ventured out that morning, and I was able to run across the street quickly. By that time the dog was back in the far end of the lot and I called to him, crouched down and clapped my hands.

Ah, labs. They're so happy and trusting. He came right to me.

But since he didn't have a leash, I had to hold him around his collar... and let me just say this not-so-little guy was ENERGETIC and strong. Once it became clear I wanted to lead him across the street, he bounded into the road and I was slipping all over the place trying to keep a hold of him while hunched down. I still can't believe I didn't fall or get hit by a car or bus, but it was like a ghost town on our street. Phew.

Once I got him into our lobby area (which is closed off from the rest of our house), the mayhem in our house went to 11. Our dog was going nuts because he knew another dog was on the other side of the door. Desmond wanted to see the other dog. I was yelling through the door to Dustin to find my phone. And the rescued doggy—"Oliver," according to his tag—was wiggling around and investigating his new surroundings. Luckily his tag had two phone numbers on it.

May I present, Oliver.

Once Dustin passed my phone through our cracked-open door, I called the first number and a girl answered right away. It was unclear if she even realized Oliver was missing, but she started freaking out and said she'd be right over.

Within 5 minutes, she arrived. She looked to be in her early 20s. She said her parents were shoveling her backyard and had left the gate open and Oliver must have escaped. She lived on the street behind the parking lot. And so Oliver had a happy reunion and was safe. I had done my good deed for the day.

My husband's turn came later that night. We heard a bunch of voices in our alley at around 9:30. My husband looked out and saw a woman shoveling snow behind our car because her car was stuck.

"Hey, don't block me in?!?" he yelled out from our deck.

"Are you kidding?!? Look at it out here!" she screamed, pretty exasperated.

He came back inside.

"You could go help her, you know," I said quietly. It was a lot to ask because, as I mentioned, the snow had never stopped and now had drifted in the alley to just cover everything.

"I am not going back out there," he said.

I waited a minute. "I'm just saying that that could be me out there. I did my good deed today and now you need to have some positive karma coming your way."

He left the room and didn't say anything, but I knew he was going to get all of his hardcore snow gear on. It turns out the woman was his friend's wife, and his friend had been out there, too, just out of sight. They lived two houses down. For the next hour the three of them worked to get the car unstuck and into their garage. It was a much harder job than running across the street and saving a cute doggy, let me put it that way.

And so it seems the awful weather inspired both of us to do something to help our fellow man. Our reward? A snow day today. (And a lot more shoveling and snow-blowing—in fact, Dustin's been outside for over two hours helping all of our neighbors. Seems like this whole Good Samaritan thing kind of grows on a person.)

Update: the neighbor Dustin helped last night brought over a nice bottle of wine!

- e

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