Between the two occurences of dad’s accident and me finding him, he had a terrifying dream in which he was wandering aimlessly through a very dark, brambly section of forest. He happened across an old, deserted mansion, the type you might see in old horror movies, the once white walls now showing a mildewed gray peeking through the kudzu.
Dad somehow found himself taking refuge inside this place, only to find it in refuge at all, but a place of horror and neglect; an old forgotten insane asylum, reeking of urine and regret, a true Casa del Whackos if you will, but instead of being populated with goofy dogs, it was full of shuffling monsters and freaks.
The place was full of inmates, some chained to walls, some strapped to beds, some so far gone mentally that they were allowed to wander the creaking linoleum halls aimlessly, but it was obvious that they all needed immediate help, but how to help them? They needed feeding, but what did they eat, and where was it kept? They needed freeing from their bonds, but then what? Wouldn’t the unseen guards detect this as an act of insurrection and imprison dad as well?
He happened across an especially pitiful specimen, leather restraints holding the man immobile to an old hospital gurney; he was evidently mute, but his eyes conveyed despair and apprehension better than any words. His arm was actually growing from the side of his neck, and was a mass of erupting boils, sores, and other corruption, and it occurred to dad to put his hands on the man’s arm, not to heal in any way, but to show support.
Are you freaking kidding me? Touch THAT nasty thing? What if he were to catch whatever disease was afflicting the man? But the impulse was too strong to be ignored, and when he obeyed and placed his hand on the arm, the man’s countenance immediately changed to one of peace and acceptance; he didn’t necessarily want to be helped, he just needed someone that wasn’t afraid to touch him.
When dad found me in my awful crate, the situation was much the same; how to help this obviously hopeless case? And wouldn’t my diseases and vermin infect the other dogs of the Casa? But he remembered that dream, he and Zach took a chance, and here we are today.
Then last weekend, at the very spot where found dad found Buffalo Joe the starving cat, we happened across a weatherbeaten older woman in an emaciated old SUV parked beside the river. It was obvious that at one time she had been very attractive, but time and possibly chemicals had not been kind, and the last vestiges of her former beauty were her brilliant blue eyes, but instead of sparkling with life and vitality, they were filled with fear and confusion.
They were the eyes of the man in the dream.
How to help this person? Like most of the stray animals we encounter, she was obviously beyond dad’s meager ability to assist, but the very least we can do is not be afraid to touch someone, in a figurative sense of course, to not be afraid to possibly pick up someone else’s disease. I think that possibly the Good Samaritan rule could apply in cases like this, and our good intentions somehow makes us immune to any negative affects, but what if it doesn’t? We still have to take the chance, secure in the knowledge that, if needed, you can still buy Pine Sol and hydrogen peroxide down at the local Wal Marks.
Her name was Sara; dad told her the story of the crate, offered what encouragement he could, and we went on our seperate ways, feeling pretty inadequate in our ability to help, but hey, you can only do way you have the ability to do. Even though we tend to focus on helping animals in need, sometimes it’s people that need rescuing.
People remember very little of what say, they remember most of what you do, but they remember ALL OF THE WAY YOU MAKE THEM FEEL.
Make someone feel today; the life you save might just be your own.