A few days after Sarah and Chris got married, they came back to our house to get our 4-year-old family dog. They packed up Diego, his food and water dishes, his many toys, everything. They took him to live with them at their small apartment in Show Low, almost seven miles from our home.
We were all a little concerned. They don't have a fenced yard, and their place is far off the beaten path, surrounded by forest. But Ed was unhappy with Diego for scratching the paint off our new front door, so we all decided he'd be better off living with Sarah. Diego always was more hers than anyone else's, anyway.
Diego lives in the apartment with Sarah and Chris when they're home, but since they both have jobs at WalMart to go to, there are times they prefer not to leave a big, lonely dog alone in their tiny home. So Sarah put up a zip-line dog run between some trees on the property, and Diego gets his leash and collar hooked up to it when they both have to leave for work.
That worked pretty well for a week. Until yesterday.
Chris came home in the evening to find the leash and an empty collar hanging from the zip-line. Diego was nowhere to be found. It was after 10 p.m when Sarah returned from work, and Diego was still missing. They searched the roads and woods with no success. Sarah sat up most of the night, crying and praying, pleading with the Lord to guide Diego home. She says she fell asleep about two hours before she had to get up and get ready to work at 7:00 this morning.
Meanwhile, here at our house we were totally oblivious to all the drama going on at an apartment seven miles away. Today being the first day of school, we were focused on getting Dylan out the door in time to catch his bus and me on my way to the high school to greet my new students.
Dylan and I were standing in the kitchen talking about the day's plans. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a dog slowly walking down the road toward us. No big deal; we have lots of dogs who roam our rural neighborhood. Yet something about the way this dog moved caused me to do a double-take, and I suddenly realized it was Diego who was now standing at the end of the driveway, looking at our house!
It was such a surreal moment, seeing him there. He was supposed to be seven miles away, with Sarah and Chris. I looked harder out the window, half-expecting to see my daughter come walking up the road next. When I said, "Oh my gosh, that's Diego out there!" Dylan thought I was joking at first. Then he realized I was serious and hurried out to let him in the gate.
Poor Diego was dehydrated, exhausted, and weak. His legs dragged and shook, but he perked up after I brought him a bowl of water. He was clearly happy to have found us. Sarah had already left for work, but I immediately called Chris to find out if they knew their dog was missing. He filled me in on the whole story.
The amazing thing is, until he moved to the apartment, Diego had never been through the area that lies between the apartment and our house. That's seven miles of unfamiliar territory, much of it wilderness. He also had to cross a busy 4-lane highway at some point in his wanderings. How did he know to go south instead of north when he came to the highway? How did he know to go up the mountain instead of down? How did he find us?
His safe return to our house is nothing short of a miracle. My husband scoffs. I think he believes that a mere dog is not important enough for Heavenly Father to trouble with. I don't agree. I know that each of God's creations, great and small, is important to our Father and He looks after each one with infinite love. I also know He heard the broken-hearted prayers of a young woman who deeply loves her pup. I believe He sent His angels to lead a confused and frightened dog through an unknown wilderness.
I believe He guided Diego home.