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Mitsy's Miracle: The true story of a plucky beagle who found her way home
It will be a quiet moment like this as I sit with Max A Pooch I recall my first dog Mitsy taught me about courage and not to give up, and most of all how truly incredible dogs are.
Mitsy was a little beagle hound who had a big heart, incredible spirit and boundless energy. Together the two of us rambled in the nearby woods and fields; the iconic boy and his dog. I’d watch admiringly when she flushed a pheasant or chased a bunny. She’d watch with amusement when I splashed in a nearby pond clumsily attempting to catch frogs and pollywogs. She slept on the foot of my bed, and I was always awakened by her in the morning as she licked my face saying, “It’s time to get up.”
One summer my parents left Mitsy with a friend while we were on holiday. They thought it would be a much more pleasant experience for her than staying in a boarding kennel. As soon as we returned from our vacation my father received a phone call from their friend who was “dog sitting” Mitsy. He explained that Mitsy had scooted through the door the previous evening and disappeared into the darkness. He had searched for her, but couldn’t find her. We were all heartbroken and immediately drove the twenty five miles to his house to look for her.
After a few weeks had passed my parents attempted to convince me that she was gone and nothing would change that sad truth. They offered to get another puppy. “I’ll have no part in that.” I told them, “Mitsy is coming home!”
One morning as I looked out of my bedroom window I was amazed to see the body of a small emaciated, filthy, beagle lying on our lawn. Its eyes were filled with vile puss. The dog was so still I thought it was dead. I couldn’t believe what I saw as I ran from my bedroom shouting, “Mitsy! She’s outside. She’s returned!”
Dad said, “Impossible! It can’t be Mitsy.. How could she ever find her way home? It’s more than twenty five miles from where she was lost.”
I was right. It was Mitsy. Tears welled in my eyes when I looked at her. She was still as death. Her ribs were protruding and her stomach was shrunken so much that I could have encircled her abdomen with my fingers. My heart stopped, I thought she was dead. Then she looked at me and weakly wagged her tail. She tried to stand and walk, but she collapsed and laid on the ground whimpering.
We immediately took her to the veterinarian and he diagnosed her as having distemper and several other maladies. His advice was “Your dog is so sick it will be best to put her down.”
Dad hesitated then he said, “I’ll stay here with her son you go to the waiting room with your mother.”
“Noooooooooooo!” I wailed, “Mitsy deserves a chance to live… she didn’t find her way home just to have us kill her!.”
As I pleaded Dad looked at Mitsy, and she stared back at him, wagging her tail feebly as if to say, "Give me a chance. He’s right you know." Then Dad looked at mom and knew that he would get no support from her.
The veterinarian said, “She can’t stay here she’s too contagious. If you take her home it’s going to require a lot of time. Your work and her suffering may be for nothing. You’ll have to bottle feed her and clean up after her. Are you willing to put in the effort?” We shook our heads yes.
In less than a year Mitsy was accompanying me again as we rambled in the nearby fields and woods. It was like old times. No one could explain how Mitsy had found her way home. I thought her return was miraculous.
Mitsy died seven years later when she was eleven and I was seventeen. I buried her at the edge of the garden where she had loved to sniff for and to chase bunnies. I found a flat rectangular rock in the nearby field. Tears streamed down my face as I chiseled the word “Mitsy” on the surface of the rock and placed it on the ground as a headstone for my childhood friend.
Today, decades later I still remember Mitsy and how she travelled and travailed to find her way home. She made my childhood richer and taught me that there are things that happen that can’t be explained. Those things are called miracles. I’ve also learned that as time passes and families dwindle, even memories of miracles fade until all that is left is a man who remembers a plucky little dog who found her way home.