After yesterday I was planning to write an upbeat post and to start sharing a little bit more about Milly, but that might have to wait until tomorrow as a new topic has become more pressing.
Some of you facebookers may have seen this already, but over the past 10 days I have been avidly following the search for a missing puppy called Ghost (FB: Help Find Ghost, the 5 month old Labradoodle – Near Oxshott) who was lost from doggy daycare not far away from us near Chessington World of Adventures. I was planning to spend my weekend with Team Ghost, helping with the search. On checking for the FB updates when I got home from work a while ago, I saw the most distressing news – that dear little Ghost had been found dead. Any of you who have also been following along will have seen the desperation of Ghost’s Mummy in her video updates, and any of you who have a pet will know that your pet being lost is your actual worst nightmare. I cannot express how sad I am for her.
I also feel incredibly sad for two other people… two people who were total strangers to Ghost and to his Mum, but who leapt* into action on chancing upon Ghost’s advert on Dog Lost (after spending the previous weekend searching for another random dog), and who have spent hours and hours of their time joining in the search for Ghost. Out every day this week, walking in the woods in the cold and the mud, putting up posters and handing out flyers, speaking to local people, caring & giving their support. And they were not the only ones, not by a long way. The community came out in force, people took time off work, the local pub opened early to provide facilities, day after day after day people searched and spread the word. Apparently there are dog search and rescue teams who offer their professional services on a voluntary basis – they all came out searching for Ghost too. And all of these people were strangers to Ghost and his Mum as well… he wasn’t from the area and neither was she. Yet they all still did it. Every single one of them must’ve tried to put themselves in her shoes. To imagine how they would feel if it was their beloved pet who had gone missing. Hearing the news of Ghost’s death is going to be so sad for all of them.
In her sad and final post Ghost’s Mummy says she is so thankful for the kindness and support of everyone. Although due to truly devastating circumstances, things like this really restore one’s faith in people and in humanity.
In a similar vein, I have been overwhelmed by the kindness that has been shown to me over the past month. So many people taking the time to check up on me, to listen to me, to share their own heartfelt stories and empathise with what I am feeling. Nothing changes the pain you are going through, but being cared about makes a huge difference, and stops you from feeling so alone.
Not everyone can put their life on hold to go searching for a lost dog. Not everyone can give time or has money to spare. Not everyone can juggle things in their lives and be on the end of the phone 24/7. Not everyone can put their own needs completely to the side.
And yes, not everyone can do all of these things, or all of the time.
But I truly believe that EVERYONE can do SOMETHING. Even a simple smile or gesture, a hello to a stranger, a quick message to a friend, a genuine “how are you?” to then hear and acknowledge the answer you receive without just immediately talking about yourself.
Kindness is free people. Pass it on. One day it might be you who needs it… make sure you’ve got some credits in the bank.
PS. Those two other people are my amazing parents and I am so proud of who they are.
(*metaphorically leapt into action. Actual leaping should be reserved for Lords, deer and those persons under 21 years of age)
xx hold your dear ones close tonight xx