I’m watching news coverage of a valiant rescue effort. I heard about this story and it tugged at my heart, so I’ve been watching the live stream to follow this story. On my screen is a dark night pierced by a bright spotlight. The light shows silhouettes of about 20 people huddled around a hole in the ground. The news camera’s microphone picks up conversations peppered with “a little to the left”, “let’s try it this way”, and directions from the effort’s leader. Then, the stopping talks as they maneuver and implement a new process so all I can hear are crickets chirping on this hot, humid summer night.
The subject of this rescue effort is a deaf 7-week old puppy named Toffee. She fell into a 50-foot hole yesterday evening and a team of firefighters, engineers, Roto-Rooter employees and other volunteers have spent a full day trying to get her out. I remember watching coverage over 30 years ago of a little girl in Texas who fell into a well and was rescued. The scene today looks very similar to that one.
Not once in the coverage tonight have I heard the phrase “just a dog”. If I didn’t know the headline for this story, I would assume that they were rescuing a person. I see no less earnestness or urgency of the volunteers than I remember seeing 30 years ago.
Thankfully, there is a team of people whose hearts were so moved by this story that they have spent hours tediously hoping the puppy will recognize their system to get her back above ground. She isn’t just a dog to them. She is a helpless creature and these are heroes.
The world may not change because of the outcome of this, but how often does someone get to do something heroic? What I am watching now is the beautiful heart and kind spirit of people who see the value in this creature. These are the people who show up when you are in your worst moment and you don’t know how you’re going to get out of it. They speak assurances and bring a fervor to their mission that shows they don’t treat this as doing a favor for you.
These everyday heroes are part of the good around me. They put their day on pause to help someone who needs it. They aren’t just giving a modest effort then giving up; they are there to see the mission through to the end. I just tuned in a couple of hours ago, but thankfully I get to see the joy-filled moment when they finally have the puppy and pull her up. There are cheers, tears, hugs, and pats on the back for a successful operation. I hear words like grateful, relieved, and miracle.
Since I don’t know the rescuers personally, I could easily pass by them on the street without forming any impression of them. What a loss that would be for me when I could have met a real-life hero.