A 2020 Feel Good Story - Finally!

4 days ago

.....written by Melissa Fenton

I’m gonna tell you a little story about a missing dog, a loving community, and what America really looks like.

Last week in a bustling suburb of north Tampa, a pet grooming/day care center lost a dog.

But this wasn’t just any dog.

This was a therapy dog for a little boy named Liam, who also just happens to be a cancer survivor.

Liam’d dog is named Sully, and when Liam’s mother Laura posted on Facebook how Sully got loose at the pet center and was now lost, social media in the community blew up with calls to “Find Sully the Therapy Dog!”

Now, I’m not sure if the fact that the entire country right now seems completely surreal and out of control, or the fact that our summer is cancelled, leaving thousands of families with not much else to do on lazy summer days, but the immediate and overwhelmingly compassionate reaction to ONE lost dog, ultimately sent an entire community to the rescue.

It’s as if we all needed SOMETHING amazing, good, and collective to do, and dammit, we were NOT gonna let this particular story end badly.

And so one small Facebook post about a lost therapy dog named Sully, quickly turned into an army of people wading through Florida neighborhoods and surrounding wooded areas (and wetlands, and yes there are alligators in there) all in an effort to find both a dog, and a happy ending for people who so desperately craved one.

Reward money started pouring in for whomever found Sully, and throngs of families and teenagers drove around the area feverishly calling out for Sully. My son even went out for a few hours one day seeing if he could find Liam’s dog.

I followed the story because the community is very close to mine, and so much of my newsfeed were calls and prayers to find this dog, but eventually lost Sully became viscerally important to me, because I just needed ONE thing right now to be happy, right, just, and well, GOOD.

I needed to silence the media’s horror and hate filled doom, and replace it with a reunited boy and his dog, and from the looks of how others were reacting to it, I was not alone.

Thankfully, this story has a happy ending, because a few days after Sully ran loose, she was spotted and then rescued by a group of people that all came together in some frenzied and nervous moments to ensure her safe return.

A young man ended up chasing Sully onto a very busy road that intersects with a major interstate, and the road construction crew working there, realizing what was happening (or could potentially happen) worked with local police to ensure both Sully and his rescuer were kept from dangerous traffic and out of harm’s way.

When I read the rescue story, the thing I was immediately struck by was this one photo of the young man who found Sully, posing with the road construction crew who helped it all end safely.

Look at these people.

This is America.

These are the faces of good people doing good things together without hesitation, without judgment, without first asking the other, “Who are you gonna vote for this fall?”

These are average, hard working, unassuming Americans who go to work every day to do their jobs, just so they can return home to their families at night for comfort and hope, and then get up the next day and do it all over again.

These are white, black, brown, old, and young, who all at a second’s notice, became an instant team in an effort to not just save a lost dog, but to simply DO GOOD.

This is the America I see and know. This is just one of thousands and thousands of communities, that given the same potentially terribly sad situation of a child’s therapy dog never coming home, would all do the same thing without one second of hesitation.

Does our country have problems? Yep.

But does that mean that we’re a fundamentally hate filled and flawed people with no hope? NO.

It just means that lately the hope and goodness we share has been harder and harder to find.

But if you take the time to really LOOK for it, to look as hard and as earnest as you would to find a Sully, it’s there right in front of you.

Keep looking. Just keep looking.

And to Liam, well little buddy, the story of your dog’s return has been the best thing I’ve witnessed in 2020.

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