• Laurel Contributor

Nugget & the Angels Who Saved Him

by Mary Jane McCall

Like a “Twilight Zone” Christmas story, a lost dog’s Christmas Tale serves as a reminder of the loving compassion embroidered into the fabric of life on the Plateau, and the uncanny ways in which we’re connected.

This is a simple story of how Highlanders always step out of their comfort zones to help their neighbors, or in this case, their neighbor’s dog. It is about my very own Christmas miracle involving Nugget, a dog who is a cute, joyous and mischievous handful; and, the angels who saved him.

On a sunny Christmas Eve a simple trip outdoors turned into a junket worthy of “Call of the Wild.” One minute we were enjoying a moment in the yard, and the next Nugget had disappeared around the corner of the house, and was gone in a flash.

He was not wearing his collar but a borrowed collar from a neighbor who understands that it takes a village (translation – she’s met Nugget.) He’d rolled in something stinky on a beautiful summer’s eve and she came to our rescue, loaning us one of her old collars while his was being washed.

We never returned the collar but kept it in a steady rotation, because Nugget’s collars are often in need of a thorough washing. The phone number listed on that collar was my neighbor’s and had been disconnected for the season.

His little adventure stretched into hours and eventually took him to a major highway where the story could have turned out far differently, but for a few Christmas angels who took the time from their holiday travels to spring into action.

Former Highlander and animal lover Vicky Baker spotted him in the highway and literally stopped traffic to rescue him. She was joined by others, including a kind woman who recognized the last name on the collar. She volunteered to take Nugget home with her while trying to locate his owner.

She called the number on the collar but it was disconnected. She called her friends with the same last name as that on the collar, on the outside chance they knew whose number it was. This is where the serendipitous small town Christmas miracle becomes surreal because they happened to be related and have their number. What are the chances?

Vickie made a quick phone call to my neighbor, who was leaving a Christmas Eve Church Service in Savannah, Georgia. The story could have ended here when her first reaction was “No, we don’t even have a dog”, but her mind quickly and nimbly connected and she simply said “Nugget.” Imagine my surprise, happiness, and relief when I get a call from Savannah saying “I know where Nugget is.”

Meanwhile Nugget, charming rascal that he is, was enjoying his Christmas holiday by a cozy fire with his rescuing Christmas angel, while aromas of roasting turkey wafted and danced around his nostrils. I’m guessing it was the doggie equivalent of visions of sugar plums dancing in his head.

So this Christmas story is a shout-out to everyone who goes out of their way every day to show kindness to one another in ways large and small. How blessed we are to call this area home, and these people neighbors. Merry Christmas to all.

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