On Sunday evening I received a FaceTime call from my husband and our two boys. I was out of town at a conference, anticipating a quiet evening, when the bomb dropped that our two puppies were missing.

Their names are Comet and Luna (you know, to carry on the celestial theme of pet names in our home – our cat is Soleil). Luna is the spirited mastermind of all sorts of naughtiness! Comet is her dutiful and happy-go-lucky sidekick. We’ve loved them through snuggles and playtime, as well as broken limbs and the sickies.

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They are part of our family.


I listened Sunday evening, feeling powerless, to the tearful upset of my children and the anxious strains of my husband as they drove around in the dark and the pouring rain hoping for a sighting.


That night there was a terrible wind and rain storm, knocking the power out to many homes, including ours. There was no sleep to be had anyway.

The kids woke up and my husband packed them off to school, faces pale and hearts worried. Meanwhile, I woke up a plane ride away with an unsettled stomach and a need to be home so I could just DO something – anything, really – to feel like we were on this.

As soon as I arrived home Monday afternoon, the search kicked into high gear on social media. Facebook, Craigslist, missing pets sites – you name it, we were on it. And into the dark and rain, we walked – forests and neighborhoods turned upside down.

Still nothing.

Our eldest son retreated into silence in his sadness. Our youngest dissolved into tears too many times to count. Our home was weird in its quietness without those two crazy pups to stir things up. Off we went to bed again, not really to sleep, but more out of routine. I think I checked my email and Facebook every 30 minutes throughout the night, hoping for a break in our search.



At 4:30 am, I finally got up and decided to be productive with my sleeplessness. I would conquer my email inbox.

At 6:45am, I received an email from someone who had seen my Craigslist post. Just a random kind of person. She said I should hop back on Craigslist because someone had just posted two found pups in our area and she wondered if, after having seen our “missing” post, the two found pups might be ours!

I quickly found the post and managed to sit on my fingers for 15 minutes, convincing myself that 7am was a more sane hour for a phonecall than 6:45am.

At 7am, I dialed the number in the posting and on the other end of the line, a friendly voice answered. We quickly figured out that the dogs he had were, in fact, ours! And it wasn’t too early to call at all – he had just had the pups out for a morning walk.

At 7:02, we were in the car and heading across town to the home of “John” and his wife. He promised to turn on their outdoor Christmas lights to make their home easily identifiable to us in the dark and the rain. We knocked on the door and it opened to the friendly face of John and two seconds later, our crazy dogs jumping and licking and wagging their little tails.

But where the real heart-warmer comes is in learning what John and his wife had done with our two missing pups. The morning walk he had taken them on was just a small example of the caring that had gone on in their home. Our dogs got walked morning, day and night. They slept at the foot of this couple’s bed. They were fed and snuggled and loved.

They weren’t just sheltered. They were cared for.

Last night we headed back over to this home with a thank you for that couple. We ended up having a conversation with John’s wife who shared with us how they had lost their own furry family member a year ago, and she said only now is she able to talk about it without crying.

She showed us pictures of their “Emma” and told us how much they had enjoyed having our little guys to care for. They had even given them nicknames – “Salt and Pepper.”


So there we were – saying thank you to these amazing angels who had given us the best possible early Christmas present. And in return, they were thanking US for the gift of having that little window of caring for our puppies.

Wow. Now that right there – that is the true spirit of the season.

Although I would never have asked for this upset for our boys, this is what I mean every time I talk about gratitude as an experience rather than something you teach.

Our boys knew deep sadness and loss for two very long days. And then they saw the incredible gift offered by the boundless compassion of our dogs’ rescuers. And if you could see them over the past two days you would see evidence of their experience of gratitude in the way they are walking and talking.

It is magic – pure magic. The are grateful – so grateful.

There is love seeping out of their pores – for their dogs, for our family, for life.

In fact, Maxwell said yesterday, “Mom – it is great to be alive isn’t it?!”

Oh gratitude. Be still my heart.


Thank you to our two South Surrey angels. You embody every single trait of the true spirit of the season and the neurons of my boys’ brains have had the most amazing experience of gratitude. What a gift for this momma! A Christmas miracle played out thanks to your caring souls.

You are the definition of “community” and we will always remember you. xo

Dr V