Twenty five years ago an angel woman stopped to pick up my sister’s dog on the side of the freeway. Laiya was not moving and appeared to be dead, but the woman got out, wrapped the dog in blankets, lifted her into her car and drove her to the nearest animal shelter, then waited to see if she would be OK. Laiya was a medium-sized Shepard-Coyote mix so it must have been no small feat to get her into the car. After about a half hour Laiya woke up. She had been hit by a car but was only stunned. My sister who had left her in a locked back yard of a friend for only a few hours, had been frantically searching for her. Laiya must have known the direction she had gone and was on the freeway headed toward my sister.
Later that evening the animal shelter called and said that her dog had been brought to them by a woman who found her by the side of the freeway. They said she had stayed with her until she knew she was going to be OK. Laiya was one of those human-like dogs whom none of us will ever forget. She and my sister were joined at the hip. I don’t think my sister could have survived if Laiya had been killed. She was beside herself with guilt and anguish.
My sister was able to find the good Samaritan to thank her. When asked why she stopped in the night on a dangerous freeway to pick up a strange dog who appeared to be dead, she simply replied, “I would hope someone would do this for me. I am an animal lover and my pets are everything to me.” My sister sent her flowers and a card every year on that memorable anniversary. The miraculous story became part of our family lore and was shared over and over. She was known to us as Laiya’s Angel.
I remember thinking at the time what an extraordinary person she was. I felt a deep shame because I knew I probably wouldn’t have stopped under those circumstances. That was then, but life sent me a painful lesson, and I made the transformation from someone who loved animals but didn’t take action (unless it was convenient), to someone who goes out of their way to help a pet in need.
Next: How I became a Pet Rescuer