Meant to Be

Meant to Be

From Chicken Soup for the Grieving Soul

Meant to Be

A few years ago, we had a Lab puppy named Blue whom we loved very much. But because everyone in the family spent so much time at work or at school, it soon became obvious Blue wasn’t getting the attention and training she needed. It was a difficult decision, but we decided to see if we could find her a better home than we could provide at that time.

I asked around at our church and at work, looking for a special home for Blue. A coworker told me that she had a friend whose old dog had recently died. The family was looking for a puppy. I knew of the family: the husband was named Frank and his wife, Donna, was a Lamaze instructor who worked at a local hospital. Their children, my friend told me, were crazy about dogs and missed their old dog tremendously. It sounded like the perfect place.

I spoke to Donna on the phone, and she was thrilled about taking Blue. I arranged for my husband to deliver the puppy the following day, which was a Friday. Frank gave my husband their address, 412 Adams, and told him that he would be home all day, doing work on the house, so my husband should look for ladders in the front yard.

The next morning, my husband took Blue and set off in the car. Our sad good-byes were lightened by the knowledge that she was going to a wonderful home.

Donna and Frank lived an hour away, on the other side of the nearest big town. My husband found the house; the number 412 was clearly displayed and there was a ladder in the front yard. Taking the puppy in his arms, he went up to the house and knocked on the door. There was no answer. He waited a moment and knocked again.

A man in the next yard called over to him, “Who are you looking for?”

My husband said, “Frank.”

“Oh, Frank went to the hospital,” he said. “I don’t know when he’s coming back.”

My husband was irked. Frank had said he’d be home all day. Maybe he’d had to give Donna a ride to work at the hospital. But my husband couldn’t wait around. He had made appointments for the rest of the day and had to get going. Something of this must have shown on his face, for the man in the next yard said, “What’s the problem, young fella?”

My husband explained his predicament and the neighbor offered to keep the puppy at his house until Frank returned. The neighbor had a fenced yard and said it’d be no trouble at all. He was a nice man with dogs of his own, and my husband decided it would be all right. He gave the puppy to the neighbor and left for his appointments.

The following Monday when I returned to work, my coworker said to me, “Did you change your mind about giving away Blue?”

Surprised, I answered, “No. Why?”

“Well, Donna told me you never delivered her on Friday. They figured you’d had a change of heart when it came time to really say good-bye.”

I told her we certainly had delivered Blue. I called Donna and told her about the neighbor taking care of Blue until Frank returned.

“But Frank was home all day!” she insisted. “And we haven’t heard from any of our neighbors.”

What on earth was going on? We finally figured out that my husband had made a wrong turn and had gone to 412 on the next street over. There had been a storm not long before and many people had ladders out to do roof and gutter repairs. Could it possibly be that the man in that house was also named Frank?

My husband and I got into the car and drove over to see what had become of Blue. We saw immediately that he’d gone one street too far and we knocked on the door of the house where he’d left Blue.

A red-faced man in his sixties answered our knock. When we explained that we were looking for a puppy that had been delivered here last week, the man answered, “Oh, you mean the one that Frank ordered.”

Realizing that the man at 412 on this street was also named Frank, we explained the mix-up. The man’s face grew somber.

“What’s wrong?” I asked. “Is the puppy all right?”

“Oh, the puppy is fine. In fact, I’m sure the puppy is great. But . . . well, I hope you don’t want it back,” he said seriously. Seeing the question in our eyes, he continued, “When you came with the puppy on Friday, my neighbor Frank was at the hospital. He’d been out in the yard working and had started having chest pains, so his wife took him to the hospital. Frank never did come home. He died of a massive coronary Friday afternoon. It was a terrible shock for his family, and I decided not to bother them until things had settled down a bit. Yesterday, I brought the puppy over and knocked on their door. Frank’s eldest daughter came out. I told her that her father had ordered a puppy and since he hadn’t been home, that I’d taken delivery on it for him. I said I didn’t know what to do with the little dog now that ‘things had changed’ at their house.

“The daughter just couldn’t believe it. She said, ‘My father ordered a puppy? This is Dad’s puppy?’ Then she reached out and I gave her the pup. She hugged that little dog real tight, stuck her face in its fur and just began to cry.

“I wasn’t sure what to say, so I just stood there. After a while, she looked up at me and thanked me. She said, ‘You don’t know what this means to me. I’m so glad to have my father’s dog.’ The puppy was wiggling around, trying to kiss the daughter any way it could and her face was just lit up with love.”

Amazed at the story I turned to my husband, “We can’t take Blue back now.”

The man nodded in agreement. “Folks, some things are just meant to be. I’d say that puppy is in exactly the right place.”

Cindy Midgette

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