September 26, Day 86 of TheHopeLine Tour of 2014
One Lost Puppy
I couldn’t help but think today about a puppy who found us along the roadside yesterday. He was a mystery dog who came packaged with a lesson for all of us.
During a rest break, Debbie and I wheeled our bicycles off the road onto a steep and narrow side road, one we knew would see little to no traffic while we were there. We were eating a snack, when all of a sudden we heard some noise in the thick woods nearby. Soon, out came a puppy! It was so enthused to see us that it tinkled uncontrollably on the road as it wiggled its body around and yelped. Its barker was obviously not fully developed yet!
The dog’s breed may have been pit bull, or a close relative. The dog’s sudden appearance seemed very unusual to us because there were no homes around. Furthermore, it had worked its way through a wire fence to see us. We’d heard of wild dogs in Kentucky, but this was as far away from our perception of a wild dog as could be. This dog was loveable, without an ounce of aggression in it. It was clearly a lost puppy, one that looked hungry, in need of some love, and downright pathetic.
We’ve come to appreciate that you don’t want to befriend dogs you meet while bicycling. They will follow you and endanger you or themselves in the process. So, we made it a point not to feed or pat this dog, even though it was pulling at our heartstrings with its oh so puppy-dog eyes, its yips, and its obvious gestures for a portion of our snacks. Even so, when we started down the road, it chased Debbie for a half a mile, while two cars negotiated around the two of them. Finally, it realized we weren’t adopting him, and so he gave up.
Today, I found myself comparing this dog with many of the youth who reach out on TheHopeLine. Both have no one else to turn to, and they are in dire need of help. Sure, many of these youth belong to families, but they may be just as neglected as those without parents. Their parents may be in the same home, but they’re absent, missing in action. They may be in the other room on the computer, looking at porn or chatting with a romantic interest on the phone, or they may be on drugs or alcohol, ready to lash out when their child competes for their attention.
As I thought about our little lost puppy today, I thought about our treatment of him. We added to his misery because we didn’t help him. When someone reaches out to TheHopeLine, they won’t be ignored if someone is there to pick up the phone or respond to the chat. However, if there is no one there to answer the cry for help, someone who reaches out will receive the same treatment as our little lost puppy received from us. They’ll go away looking for help elsewhere. Maybe they will get some, or maybe they will become embittered and repeat the sins of their angry or depressed parents. Our little dog will develop a much different disposition if he is taken in by an owner who chooses to abuse him and make him angry. Then, he’ll be the type of wild dog we had imagined before entering the state of Kentucky.
What will you do?
Just as the little lost puppy needed help, so too do thousands of teens and young adults who have nowhere else to turn. And just as we were presented with an opportunity to help this lost puppy, you too have an opportunity to help those young people who are not currently getting help due to resource limitations on TheHopeLine. Are you going to turn away and not get involved? Or will you join the many others who have decided to pitch in and help? You’ve been presented with an opportunity. What will you do?
After thinking about how we’d left the puppy to fend for himself, I felt sad. But you needn’t face the same feelings. If you’d like to join in the effort to help the lost by pledging financial support to TheHopeLine, you can do so at this webpage. To learn more about why TheHopeLine is worthy of support, check out this webpage.