Janene Darienzo Dutt shares this amazing story about home.
It was totally my fault. Our sweet, beloved, dog Charlie went missing a few days ago. It was me who let him out. Me who got distracted by the million things moms get distracted with, me who just plain forgot about him.
With the chaos of a houseful of kids in summer, it was hours before anyone realized he was gone. And then I saw it. Charlie’s collar, lying on the table, which I had foolishly taken off of him the night before.
I panicked almost immediately. We live in an area surrounded by dense woods and trails. Not only did he have an hours long head start, if someone did find him, they would have no idea how to contact us.
My husband, son, and myself took off in three different directions, by foot and by car. We combed the roads and trails, calling him, to no avail.
I texted a friend on the other side of our woods to be on the lookout for him, and within minutes, she had posted Charlie’s photo on some local Facebook pages on our behalf, alerting people he was missing.
I called another friend, who before I could even finish my sentence, said “We’re on our way over.” She texted everyone she knew in our surrounding area and then she, her husband, and three kids all piled into their car and descended upon our neighborhood in a matter of minutes.
Driving along a road, I saw two boys, classmates of my daughter, heading down their driveway on bicycles. I was about to ask for their help when they saw me and said, “We just heard. We’re going out to look for Charlie.”
I spoke to another friend, who contacted a local pet business to alert them. “I’ll help you look as soon as I get off work,” she said.
When I asked people out and about if they had seen Charlie, I was told, “No, but someone else came by looking for him, too. We’re keeping an eye out.”
My husband and I, in two cars, ended up on the same road at one point. A young guy on a motorcycle pulled up, spoke with my husband, and sped off.
“Who was that?” I asked. “No idea,” he said. “But he’s looking for Charlie.”
I felt my eyes well up with tears. A few tears of worry perhaps, but mostly, at that moment, they were tears of pure gratitude.
I was overwhelmed with emotion that we are lucky enough to live in a community where people truly care, where neighbors help neighbors, where people are generous with the most valuable gift there is – the gift of time.
And thanks to these good people, Charlie was found that day, not far from our home. A woman saw him wandering around her yard and took him into her house for safekeeping until she could figure out where he came from.
I sent everybody a thank you later that night and one of my neighbors said something that really struck a chord with me: “We will always rally for you.”
A simple, yet powerful statement. Because we all should have somebody that will rally for us, right? Sometimes, we are lucky enough to have many.
You know, when we moved to the Pacific Northwest from California a few years ago, we didn’t know a soul. We left behind close family and longtime friends. I had lived near my extended family my whole life, and I honestly didn’t know if I could ever call a place with no family around, “home”.
But I realized something that day.
Home can be many things…it can be where you grew up, it can be where your family is. And sometimes, home is simply the place where people have your back. The place where people will rally for you. ️