Chapters of Grace I: It’s Not Just New Hampshire That’s New

I’m 11 months old.  I heard them say that, the people.  I am not sure what a month is, but anyway, I have 11 of them.  They all have been in the same place, with the people and four others like me.  I don’t see the people a lot.  I think they are what the humans call busy, which they don’t like, but they like to talk about anyway.  

The others like me, the dogs we are called, are all bigger and older than me.  They get to the food first and they get outside first and they aren’t always too nice to me.  I get scared but I pretend I’m not, so maybe they’ll leave me alone.  

Where am I?

My name is Sydney.  I don’t know who made that my name or why it is, but I come running when I hear it.  Sometimes I get a treat or at least a little pat.  Sometimes they pick me up and hold me, but not too much.  But anyway, it’s all okay.

Today all that changed and I am really scared.  I got put it in a cage and then into this big moving thing and they took me away from the room we live in and the field outside and for a long time there was this humming sound and I could see the sky outside and it was getting darker.

We came to a place where other people were there.  New people.  I didn’t really know there were other people than my people, but now I know there are.  They took me in the cage out of the moving thing and they all looked at me and talked.  I can’t understand them and they looked down at me and came close and I wanted to get away.  But then it got worse.

The new people put me in another big moving thing and I didn’t see my people any more.  Then I was alone with one of the new people and for a very long time we were in the moving thing (I think it is called a car) and came to a very different place.  It’s not New Hampshire.  It’s still new, but it’s called New York.  And everything else is new too.  It’s just me and this one new person and he talks to me and gives me food but I don’t understand what has happened.  Everything is different and I don’t feel safe.  We are in a room way up in the air with New York underneath us.  I stay underneath the bed and stay quiet.  I think he might go away, or at least leave me alone.  But he keeps taking me out and giving me food.  

I don’t know what might happen next and I am shaking all the time.


It is hard to be new in the world and to feel all alone.  And then, when your first experience of real change comes (but certainly not the last), how frightening that can be.  Sydney came to me from her first family at a Mobil gas station in somewhat rural New Hampshire.  They couldn’t keep most of their five dogs any more, and she was the low lady on the totem pole among the dogs they had.  

But she was beautiful.  Gorgeous markings, and decked out in black, brown, and white.  And deep brown eyes, filled with alertness and tenderness.  Life was still so new in her, and she needed a home.  And I, in ways I did not know then, needed in turn this little canine companion.

I remember times of newness in my life, and uncertainty.  You do too.  You are on high alert, and wondering how it’s all going to work out and what is going to happen next? You really don’t know who to trust, or whether to trust at all.  If you’re lucky in the moment, you are where you are meant to be, and the new steps you are invited to take lead in a positive direction of growth that otherwise might not be possible or ever happen.  That’s grace.

When grace is there, you are being led.  When it’s not there, or rather when it is but it is ignored and opposed, the whole world gets dark and fear is the predominant feeling.

When Sydney came into my life and I into hers in May of 2012, there was grace there.  A seed, alive but tiny and quiet.  No one could know, on this earth, what might be coming.  I just knew I was willing to bring this little one with me.  And she? The 11-month old was not so sure.

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