He collapsed getting out of the car. He lay on the ground and wouldn’t move, just staring in front of him.
My collie, Nunuk, had just had surgery to remove two tumors on his hind leg, and his leg gave way as he walked the two steps down from the car.
At 65 pounds and with with two fresh 5-inch long incisions, it was clearly impossible for me to lift safely on my own. And there was nobody home and nobody coming home to help, a decided down-side of living alone.
Finding a warm blanket to cover Nunuk, I sat next to him hoping he would recover enough to walk the few steps into the house. With no improvement after 20 minutes, an emergency vet helpline suggested giving him additional painkillers. While waiting for those to take effect, I texted the neighbor to please not drive by for a little while, as Nunuk is a guard dog by nature and it was vital to keep him quiet.
We sat quietly, waiting for those painkillers to take effect. Hoping against hope they would work and he would be able to walk inside, in truth I felt unsure and worried.
And then, out of the silence of the early evening, my neighbor and his wife wordlessly appeared. With a bare minimum of words, we quickly formed a plan to scootch the blanket under the dog, each person taking one or two corners, and then carry him inside. The usually-reactive Nunuk did not protest beyond a few quizzical looks, and within seconds he was inside, warm and safe.
The neighbors disappeared as silently and wordlessly as they had appeared. It was as if two angels had appeared, completed their good deed for a being in great need, and then vanished.
Nunuk did not move for three hours, and then took only two staggering steps to his sleeping place.
I can only count my lucky stars that those two angels appeared in that hour of need. It was a beautiful reminder of the threads of connection that weave together a community, a neighborhood, and individuals.