A Christmas Serendipity Story (There are no coincidences)
This has nothing to do with teaching or education or Fremont, except for those fleeting moments when I think about leaving my “data driven” job to go back to work as a Registered Veterinary Technician. Then I remember the at least 25,000 dollar a year cut in pay I would take. This is the second such serendipitous experience in the past 25 years. The other one is at least as complicated and I will leave that for another post.
Earlier today, I overshot my destination, the Backdoor Bakery, an oasis in the desert of Denny,’s Coco’s and Tommy’s burgers that dot Sunland-Tujunga. So I went around the block and found myself on Sherman Grove Ave in Sunland, when a fur ball of brown and white chasing a Siamese cat dashed in front of my car. I turned into the nearest driveway and found a harried woman trying to chase down the dog. “Is he your’s,” I asked. “No, I’ve been chasing it though,” she replied. Just then, a young women came across to meet us and said. “He belongs to the people across the street. They found him today on the freeway- near Santa Clarita and are giving him to their son for Christmas.” Hmmm, my intuition kicked in and so I snapped a few pictures of the dog, who had actually jumped into my car.
I proceeded to the Backdoor Bakery where I feasted on a large pancake and iced tea. I also perused the Craigslist lost and found ads and thought I hit pay dirt when I saw an ad for a missing lhasa apso with similar colorings in Northridge. I can’t tell the difference between lhasas or shi-tzus and never could, even after 15 years as a vet tech. So I went back to the same street and located the father and son, who wove a convoluted, hard- to- follow tale. Apparently, the dog had been found by a friend of theirs several days before in Lancaster or Palmdale. It had a chip that was from Fresno (turned out later it was from Washington state) that was a dead end. This means that either the owner of the friendly shi-tzu never registered it or they had forgotten to update it on the microchip company’s website. I figured with such a friendly dog, it was the latter. Armed with this information, I perused Craigslist again, this time in the Antelope Valley section. More pay dirt- “lost shi tzu with light brown spots.” The time frame didn’t exactly match up but it looked like the dog. So I called and spoke with an anxious young Lancaster woman named Brianna who had never lived in Fresno. Still I was not discouraged. I posted a Found ad on Craigslist with the picture of the pooch. She called back and said excitedly, “That’s my dog!”
Above is one of the pictures I snapped of the lucky canine. So I took down her information and gave it to the family that had the dog, hoping they would call Brianna and they did. The family that originally found the dog will take him back to Brianna. It turns out that the chip was registered in Washington state and she had not re-registered it when she moved. I know she’ll never forget to do that again.
Really what are the chances- that I would not go to a concert with my sister today because I just didn’t feel like it; what are the chances I would overshoot the Backdoor Bakery and turn the corner just at the instant the dog would run in front of my car. I always stop for dogs- but then I got nosy. Just found today??? Hmmm, something’s not quite right. Neutered male, well kept dog? Has an owner, for sure. I barely got time to snap off those pictures too and am damn happy I got over my disdain of cell phones.
So Brianna and her dog- whose name I never did learn- will have a Christmas to remember and I’ll remember that there are no accidents, there are no coincidences. And I’ll try not to think about what would have happened if I had just decided to do nothing.
I guess the connection I could make to Fremont and the reconstitution is that our experiences, no matter how painful, no matter how inconsequential they seem, no matter how much they don’t make sense, are not accidents, nor coincidences; they happen to teach us and remind us of things. Sometimes though, it takes a long time to learn what we’re supposed to. I am still learning. I’m not the teacher I used to be at Fremont, not the teacher I should be. I can’t quite get back to that place where teaching is natural. I’m not sure what lesson there is in that. Not yet, anyway. But I do know the lessons I relearned today: Always get involved. Always follow your gut.