On my walk to the train this morning I came across a young boy, maybe 10 years old or so. He was looking a bit frantic and speaking very seriously on the phone to someone. As I got closer I noticed an older beagle mix pacing up and down the stairs to an empty house. The poor old dog didn’t seem to know what to do with himself and the boy equally seemed concerned about this little dog.
The boy remained at the foot of the stairs, describing the dog to the absent recipient at the other end of the line while his heavy book bag tugged his coat backward. I waited. Not wanting to intrude on this young boy’s attempt at solving the dog’s issue, I stood off to the side to see how the problem would resolve itself. Finally, the boy, determined to make sure the dog was safe, bravely walked up the stairs to the home and rang the door bell. The dog barked in unison.
After a short delay a middle aged man arrived at the door. The boy took in a breath, screwing up his courage to ask the man about the little dog. “Is this your dog, sir?” the brave boy squeaked out. Confused as to how his dog ended up on the porch, the man responded in bewildered agreement. Yes, this was his dog.
The boy let out a sigh, the dog bounded into the house and we were all back on our way to wherever it was that we were originally headed. The boy to school, I to work, the dog to its bed for a rest from the excitement and the man to whatever it was he was doing before the doorbell interruption.
As the boy bounced down the stairs, he held himself taller, the book bag still slightly slipping off his back. I felt proud of the boy. He understood what was more important- school could wait, there was a being in need and he was ready to help. Many adults miss this helping a fellow in need thing, especially when it walks on all fours. Often we can learn a lot from children- how to recognize the right thing to do, how to show compassion and how to summon the courage to do something good for another.