My newest book is a story about Leo, Tadd, and Oliver – three will be rescue dogs from Minnesota who were rescued themselves and adopted by Mark and Jenny.
After bringing them home, the dogs were naughty and into garbage and damaged small furniture, pillows, and pet toys. Even when Mark or Jenny stayed home to make certain they had a home to come home to, the dogs still refused to behave. There were many moments Mark and Jenny questioned their decision to adopt.
They survived their first year together and became a family despite the daily challenges. One day, they met a man – Scott – who specialized in training search and rescue dogs. “Many dogs just need something else to think about than destructive behavior, ” he told Mark and Jenny.
“Can they be trained for something so important?” asked Jenny.
“Any dog can be trained,” Scott said with confidence.
So began training. Leo, Tadd, and Oliver eagerly joined Mark and Jenny, learning new things every day. They bonded with each other and Mark and Jenny in a touching and new way. Each day, there were improvements in the dogs’ behavior. After training and rechanneling their energy, they all came home exhausted, ready to sit by the fire, watch television, and have snacks before bedtime.
Several months later, the police chief called Mark and Jenny to ask if the dogs were ready to help find a lost little girl. “We can see how they do, ” Jenny heard Mark say on the phone.
“While ice skating at an outdoor rink with her family, five year old Katie wandered off into a nearby wooded area. Her parents are frantic and asking for help,” Mark explained to Jenny.
When Mark, Jenny, and the dogs arrived, the dogs were given Katie’s clothing to sniff. Leo, Tadd, and Oliver immediately began searching and did not stop until they brought the little girl out of the woods to her eagerly waiting parents! Great day for everyone.
At home, the dogs slept by the fireplace as Mark and Jenny celebrated Thanksgiving. Mark and Jenny talked as they ate turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie. Jenny turned to Mark, and in a concerned tone, said, “Mark, I think we have lost Christmas.”
The dogs perked up, ‘Lost Christmas?’ What did Jenny mean by that? The dogs knew they could find it. They are search and rescue dogs! After all, they found Katie. Leo, Tadd, and Oliver packed their harnesses full of pet food and gathered blankets and supplies to go in search of Christmas. They wanted to find it for Jenny.
A man on television spoke of celebrating Christmas in New York City – a ginormous tree lighting at a center called Rockefeller. Maybe the dogs should look there. After packing, they headed for the train station, hopped a train bound for New York city, and rode the rails like hobos for many hours. Soon, they heard the conductor say, “Next stop, New York City!”
The dogs were slightly frightened by the crowds around them. They huddled closely together as they made their way from the train station. As they walked the busy streets, they saw decorations everywhere, heard songs playing, happy people talking quickly to each other, and, as they walked, they found a little lady sitting on a bench, crying.
The dogs nuzzled her hand as she clutched a tissue that wiped tears streaming down her face. “Hello, beautiful dogs. I’m Emily,” she said as she showed them a picture of her toy poodle. “I came to New York to see the tree lighting and lost my precious little dog, Tiny.”
Leo, Tadd, and Oliver understood lost things. Leo and Oliver stayed with her as Tadd set out to find the lost little dog. After a short time, Tadd pushed through the crowd carrying Tiny by the collar. Emily was sooooo happy. Her tears turned to tears of exuberant joy!!
They all watched the tree lighting together and the three dogs were invited to Emily’s home for warmth, food, and rest. As they finished their evening, Emily’s neighbors visited with presents, cookies, and holiday decorations to share with Emily. A great time for everyone. The dogs felt the love and warmth all around.
Tune in next week for Leo’s, Tadd’s, and Oliver’s continued adventures In Search of Christmas.