Skip to main content

Crazy people and stray dogs

I have a well-deserved reputation for "collecting" stray dogs and crazy people.  (I know some of you don't like the word "crazy", you prefer "mentally ill".  I mean no ill-will, but a lot of the people I'm gonna talk about are pretty...nutty....)

First, the dogs.  I find 'em all the time.  Really - I probably find strays 4 or 5 times a year.  It is not unusual for me to call ahead and tell the kids to set up the dog crate we keep in the garage, as I've found another one.  I've also got a pretty good track record for getting them back home, but a couple of times, I've had to call animal control.  But at least for a short period, they are safe, loved, fed and cared for. 

Then there are the crazy people.  I once had a really strange conversation in the National Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC with a guy that hadn't showered in the recent past.  Here I am, just soaking in the glorious art and grace of this beautiful building dedicated to Our Mother, and then I'm talking about aliens with this guy.

Yesterday, I got on the bus to go to work, and a man who obviously was living on the fringes of society offered everyone who got on a hearty "hello".  I was the only one who responded, and thus, he conversed with me for awhile.

I talked about this once to a friend of mine, who is both a Franciscan Sister and a therapist.  She said crazy people (and stray animals, presumably) had a sense of who is "safe", and I was a "safe" person.  I'm glad of this, but it sure makes life interesting sometimes.

I felt really bad for the guy on the bus yesterday.  Yeah, he was a little weird and a little dirty, but he was kind, and having a good morning and wanted to share it with others.  No one else responded...or even made eye contact.  It didn't cost me anything to converse with him, and it made both our days a bit nicer.

I cannot imagine life on the streets, either as a person or as a dog.  There literally is danger everywhere.  You are unsure about the very basics of life:  food, shelter, water, etc.  People treat you badly simply because of the circumstances you find yourself in.  It must be constantly terrifying, unsettling and sad.

Christ was homeless.  He was born homeless, and then had to flee with Mary and Joseph because of the risk to His life.  He said Himself He had nowhere to lay His head.  While it can be a bit jolting to have these incidents occur in my life, I try to look at it as the "perfect joy" St. Francis spoke of, and let Christ be present, as only He can be, in crazy people and stray dogs.


  1. the best word,I find, for those of us on temporary or pemenent sabbaticals from reality, is eccentric, or perhaps extremely eccentric , so olde wordly and yet so descriptive

  2. Congratulations for being one in a million. Is hard to find people like you and, like my mom says, we have to stick together to fight for the worlds godness. Continue your good work, im sure joys will come to your life, joys that bad people cant appreciate (poor fulls are just mistaking themselfs).
    Its a gift to have a heart these days.
    p.s. i dont have accounts to publish with name so ill just leave it here. Patricia M. from Portugal


Post a Comment

I love comments, even if you don't agree, but please don't leave anonymous posts. A well-mannered reader leaves a name!

Popular posts from this blog

Trying to "end run" God

If you're a football fan, you know what an end run is. From Merriam-Webster:
a football play in which the ballcarrier attempts to run wide around the end of the line We try to "end run" God a lot. I do. I figure I know better. I've got this - no need to worry the Big Guy about such a trivial thing.

Of course, it never works.

Like the puppy above, when we try and evade the tough obstacle (even though we KNOW we will eventually have to do it), we end up - well, off in the bushes.

But oh! How I wished my way worked. I'd love to take a flying leap and land smoothly and gracefully. People would be in awe, as if watching Simone Biles nail a balance beam routine that no one else would even attempt. I would shyly look down and blush - just lightly - and acknowledge (But humbly! Oh so humbly!) my achievement.

But no: I am the one pulling myself out of the bushes, scratches all over my legs and twigs in my hair. I'd hear that gentle but loving voice of God saying, &quo…

Secret Santa!!

Too old for Santa? I think not.

Yes, there are discussions as to whether we should "lie" to kids and tell them that Santa brings them gifts vs. We can't lie to the kids; it's wrong.

There is also the "Christmas is about Jesus" vs. "But Santa is magical!"

You know, we have so few magical and joyful moments, and less and less as we get older. Santa is fun. And the kids usually figure it out, and no one I know was ever scarred for life for believing that Santa brought them and every child everywhere a toy for Christmas.

It's the magic of looking up at the sky on a clear December night, thinking "I'll wait up to see Santa" and later, as you fell asleep at the window, being in your daddy's arms as he carries you to bed.

It's the magic of putting out cookies and milk (or beer, because Santa does like beer) and maybe some carrots for the reindeer, and then checking in the morning to make sure the food was all consumed.


Advent Brokenness

It was a lovely May evening, the kind we in Michigan savor like honey. After the brutal cold of winter, flowers blossomed, grass greened, mosquitoes flocked. School was almost done for the year - just the formalities of 8th grade graduation were ahead.

Why not saddle up the horse and go for a ride? Why not, indeed. So my sister and I did. I took Prince out across the road from our house, to romp through the weeds on a path my father mowed for us. The view from horseback on a spring night - well, nearly Heaven.

Until Prince bolted. He spooked. I fell. And my arm broke. Compound fracture.

My dog, a collie, had followed us out. He was not particularly trusting of Prince, as Prince would never allow himself to be herded, and this vexed my collie. My dog, channeling his inner Lassie, ran home without me.

My sister had been in the yard with her boyfriend at the time, Gary, waiting for me to come back. Instead, it was just the dog loping across the road. That didn't seem right, so my si…