Even the bravest dogs need saving now and then.
Nell is a border collie who has been specially trained to find lost hikers in Dundonnell Scotland. Last week two ultra-marathon runners became lost in the Dundonnell mountains. Nell, a master rescuer, was one of the first dogs to locate the missing runners.
She barked until the two-legged rescuers reached the runners. They contacted the coast guard who dispatched a helicopter to airlift the stranded couple to safety. Nell dutifully stayed by the runners until the plane arrived, but the sound of the engine, and the chaos caused by the rotors, scared Nell, and she dashed off high into the mountains.
She tried to find her way home, but she kept coming upon cliffs that blocked her way. The temperature dropped. She was cold, hungry, and ashamed. Nell was a professional who had allowed herself to get spooked and ran away. She didn’t know if she could show her face at the rescue station again. When night fell, it grew cold, and her chances of reaching camp were diminished, she began to pray for help.
The humans at the camp were distraught. They had searched for Nell until it became too dark and cold. Finding her was made more difficult because she was their primary rescuer. When they returned to camp, they prayed also.
The combination of Nell’s prayers, joining those of the human members of her team helped me find her. I could not get her down the mountain that night, so I showed her where there was a small divot in the ground. Nell laid down and covered herself with leaves to keep warm. I was with her when she awoke. I was going to have to think hard about how to get her back to camp when she stood up and began to wag her tail.
“What is it?” I asked.
“I smell sausages,” Nell said.
I sniffed too. She was right. It did smell like sausages. I flew up and saw, at the base of the hill, two men cooking sausages on a grill, and they were calling Nell’s name. I was stunned. How did humans think of this without angel intervention? This was unprecedented. If humans started solving problems without angels, we could be put out of business. I flew back to Nell.
She had a big smile on her face. I asked her what she was doing. She said she was following the smells, getting reunited with her friends, and eating breakfast.
“You can’t go,” I said. “I have to think of a brilliant way to get you back with your parents, and they need to find you at the edge of the cliff.” She asked why. “Because if you just go down the hill because you smelled the sausages, it is so anti-climatic.”
But Nell didn’t listen. She used her superior nose to sniff out the smell and ran down the mountain like it owed her money. She had a joyous reunion with her humans. I was thrilled to see it.
When I got back to the Bridge, I did fudge what happened to make it look like I intervened. I didn’t do it for myself. If angels knew humans could solve their problems it would be horrible for our morale.
It is up to me to make sure the angels are happy and ready to serve. Anyway, how likely is it for humans to figure out how to save someone again.
I can always count on the incompetence of your species.