5: Home for the Holidays

5: Home for the Holidays

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles and More

Home for the Holidays

There’s no place like home.

~Dorothy, The Wizard of Oz

Just after Thanksgiving, I awoke to the sound of footsteps in the kitchen followed by the aroma of freshly brewed coffee. Home from college, my daughter, Carolyn, surprised me with a special birthday celebration beginning with breakfast in bed. On a tray adorned with fresh flowers were my favorites: an omelette, hot coffee, and a homemade muffin, along with handmade cards revealing the day’s events, including “Picking out a Christmas Tree.”

On the way to pick out our tree, I surprised Carolyn and myself by suggesting that we stop at Petco and look at the dogs that were up for adoption. I had been saying that I traveled too much to get a dog, and I was trying to focus on my freelance writing career, but something was nudging me to look anyway. Nevertheless, I confidently announced to Carolyn that we would not be getting a dog that day. We were just looking.

All that changed when I held tiny Ebenezer in my arms. He was a two-year-old Yorkie-Chihuahua mix and he fit perfectly in the crook of my arm as his big brown eyes stared up at me. As I cradled him like a baby and rubbed his tummy, he dozed off, completely oblivious to the chaotic surroundings.

After about twenty minutes of cuddling, I asked the 4 Precious Paws rescue representative, Julie, for more information. She shared Ebenezer’s story, explaining that he had been in a hoarding situation with fifteen other dogs. They lived in a small partitioned area of a patio and, at the time of their rescue, were filthy, flea-infested, and in need of heavy medication for parasites. She added that Ebenezer was a sweet dog with a delightful personality. The more I heard and the longer I held him, the more difficult it was to let him go.

After my questions were answered, I remained curious, asking, “Ebenezer seems like an odd name for this dog, especially since he’s so sweet. He’s definitely no Scrooge.”

“Oh, that was just the name we gave him when we rescued him a couple of weeks ago,” Julie explained. “We gave all the dogs Christmas names. Jingle is right over there.”

“So what was Ebenezer’s original name?” I asked.

“His name,” she said, “was Toto.”

With that, Carolyn broke into a grin and said, “Looks like you found your dog, Mom.” I had recently launched my blog called “Tales of Oz,” inspired by my nickname “Oz” (for my last name — Osborne) as well as The Wizard of Oz.

As I finished the adoption paperwork, I gave Julie my “Tales of Oz” business card, complete with its yellow brick road theme. She smiled and said, “Looks like it’s a match made in heaven.”

And it was.

Since Toto’s arrival, we have enjoyed a smooth transition, and I can’t imagine my life without him. My quiet empty nest is now filled with a new energy as well as occasional barking, and my exercise routine has improved with our mile-long walks each morning. Toto is the inspiration for many of my stories as he sleeps on my lap while I write. He even has his own column in our local newspaper called, “Toto Around Town.” There’s no doubt in my mind that we were destined to meet — not in Kansas, but in Indiana.

And so there is a happy ending for this tiny, lovable dog. Just as Dorothy landed in Oz in her dream, a rescue dog named Toto landed in Oz, too — Oz’s lap, that is.

I’m sure Toto would agree: “There’s no place like home.”

~Julie Osborne

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