Chance Encounter

An odd thing happened today.  Marie and I were at the Friends Animal Shelter in Newport to assess a dog they have there.  While that is not a common occurrence, that is not the odd thing.  After we assessed the dog we were standing outside talking to a staffer.  I noticed an Audi pull up to the front gate of the facility, which was closed. A woman got out of the car, slipped through the gap in the gate and approached the front of the building, disappearing from my sight.  Audi’s are not common here, but someone entering this way is not in itself odd, we came through the closed gate as well.  So I paid it no mind: must be someone the staff knows.

A few moments later Carol, the facilities vet tech and person in charge that day, led the woman around the corner toward us.  The woman said, “Oh, are you Doug Bittinger?” but she said my name in a manner that caused me much confusion.  She said it as though it meant something: someone of importance that she was excited to meet.  What unfolded over the next few minutes was astounding.

A man joined us and it turned out these were Marcie and Bob D., who had adopted a dog named Drake almost 5 years ago (Oct 2014). We had fostered Drake.  But, they adopted him from Eleventh Hour Rescue in New Jersey.  What were they doing here in Newport TN?  That’s the astounding part.

They have since moved from their apartment in New Jersey to an acreage in Kentucky and were on their way to Asheville today.  As they drove, they saw a sign indicating that Newport was ahead and Marcie said, “I’m sure Newport is where Eli is from (Drake is now named Eli, after their son’s favorite football player), let’s see if we can find that shelter.”  So they pulled off the interstate and poked around until they found what was, 5 years ago, known as the Newport Animal Shelter.  And they just happened to arrive during the one moment of eternity that Marie and I also happened to be there.

I am not a statistician, but I’m pretty sure the odds of something like this just happening is astronomical!

We remember Drake because he was a particularly bright, well behaved dog, and because he was one of the few dogs who was adopted the same day he arrived at the facility Steele Away Home – Canine Foster and Rescue sent him to.  Marcie has kept in touch over the years by sending occasional photos and updates (something we really appreciate, by the way). They gave us the story behind his rapid adoption and caught us up on their lives and the ways Eli has enriched it. It was wonderful meeting them in person and hearing all about Eli’s new life in the country.

But I’m still marveling at the way our paths crossed, from such distances, at that one place, in that one moment, to form that experience.  God does work in mysterious ways!

Bob, Marcie, Marie

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Author: Doug

I've been a wordsmith since the 1970s. Mostly for print magazine and newspapers, but I do have a few books, and now gazillions of web site articles.

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