The Old Girl

She was lost. The old girl had traveled this trail before and it always led back home. But this time she couldn’t find the right smell to guide her.

Although it wasn’t for lack of trying. She kept her nose to the ground, searching for a familiar scent. But she found nothing.

She wasn’t exactly a young pup anymore. Her nose wasn’t as good as it had been. Long ago, she could sniff a person and tell their age, weight, and religious denomination. But now she was lost.

Still, she followed the smells until she found a highway. It was a busy highway. Big machines shot across the pavement so fast it made her ears hurt.

She looked across the road. The old girl wasn’t sure she should cross. But on the other side of the highway she saw an inviting neighborhood. She could see rooftops behind all the traffic.

Those homes looked safe and happy. She needed happy. Maybe she could find someone there who would love her. Her mind was getting so confused with hunger. Should she cross this busy road? Was it suicide? Was is salvation?

She sat on the highway shoulder and thought about it. All she could feel was starvation. The poor thing needed food and water. That’s why she’d left home in the first place.

Her owner wasn’t a very nice man. He would often go days without feeding her, which had made her lean and ragged. Sometimes, he wouldn’t even give her water, she had to drink from ditches. In fact that’s why she left. She had crawled beneath the fence in search of water.

Then she got lost.

“WOOSH! WOOSH!” went the cars.

Big vehicles rocketed past her. She should’ve turned around, but hunger made her attempt to cross the highway.

She cautiously pranced on the pavement, hoping that the huge machines would avoid her. One car sped by so fast it almost lifted her from her feet. Then another. And another. And another.

That’s when it happened.

She heard the screech. Then came the impact. The old girl never even felt it. Her body was soaring through the air. The accident was over in a nanomoment. She landed in the weeds.

The poor girl tried to stand, but her back legs didn’t work. They only twitched. She couldn’t even find the strength to whimper.

She was there for hours until a car came. Her weary eyes saw the headlights. A man stepped out of his truck. He lifted her with both arms. He whispered to her. He smelled like sweat and potato chips.

She closed her eyes and fell asleep against him. The pain was so intense she wanted to die.

Later, she awoke in a white room. There were tubes running from her body and the chemical smells made her nose hurt. Lots of strangers wearing scrubs were talking to her.

She was in a crate and she felt groggy. At first she was terrified of these new people, but something convinced her they were friendly.

When she looked over her shoulder she saw the back half of her body was shaved bald, covered with black bruises, stitches, staples, and dried blood. She tried to lick her wounds, but the people in scrubs wouldn’t let her. Around her neck she wore the dreaded Cone of Shame.

“Hi there, girl,” said a voice behind her. A man’s voice. It was the man who smelled like sweat and potato chips. He was beside her. He was stroking her brow, his hand between the cage’s bars.

She pressed her nose against his hand because even though she was wounded, even though the pain was great, she sincerely hoped against hope that he might have some potato chips.

“Where did you come from, Sweetie?” the man said to her. “Where’s your collar, girl?”

Over the next several days the man visited her often. He brought treats. She grew to look forward to his visits. She wagged her tail whenever she smelled him.

When the doctor finally released her, it was this man who lifted her into the front seat of his blue truck. Then he drove her to a house full of children. She loved children.

He was gentle with her. When he took her outside to do her business, he supported her hindparts. He gave her a soft bed. He fed her twice per day.

Over the next weeks her hair grew back. In time, her legs began working again—although not as well as before. She learned to gallop through the yard, chasing kids, smiling. And she developed quite an appreciation for cheese. You might be wondering why I’ve written this story.

Because this morning I went hiking on a public trail. It was a wooded area, full of athletes and children on bikes. I met a man wearing workout clothes, walking a gray dog with a pronounced limp. I asked about this animal.

Her name was Miracle, he told me. And I just thought you’d like to know how she got her name.


  1. Peggy Alexander - June 24, 2021 6:48 am

    I love your stories Sean. I love animals and it is so sad 😞 how they are treated.

  2. Steve McCaleb - June 24, 2021 7:34 am

    The more I’m around people……the better I like dogs. I hope the old girl has a long, happy life. Sounds like she’s off to a good start. God bless the man who saved her and I hope there is special section of hell reserved for her former owner and ALL THOSE LIKE HIM.

  3. Mark D MacIntyre - June 24, 2021 7:42 am

    I sure hope that God has a special place for people who abuse animals and children. All of my dogs have been rescues. I even brought two retriever puppies home that I found in a ditch after some evil thing threw them out of the car. The girl I have now I rescued on December 26th. She was on the short list to be euthanized at a local shelter and I couldn’t let that happen. Thank you for your heart Sean!

  4. Nell Thomas - June 24, 2021 8:29 am

    Wonderful story. Love my girl and she loves me.

  5. Delores Jordan - June 24, 2021 8:35 am

    I love this one and the name fits this wonderful story!

  6. Leigh Amiot - June 24, 2021 9:20 am

    So happy for Miracle and her new life, one she deserves.

  7. Ann - June 24, 2021 10:03 am

    Sweet sweet story…you show the goodness that is still around us.

  8. Betty Lowery - June 24, 2021 10:14 am

    Crying. I felt every single word.Lovely.

  9. Jean - June 24, 2021 11:04 am

    If you love animals and take good care of them….you are number one in my book. God bless all those folks!

  10. Barb - June 24, 2021 11:49 am

    That story oughta be turned into an illustrated children’s book.

    • BJ - June 24, 2021 11:56 am

      It would make a wonderful children’s book! With real to life illustrations. Please, Sean can you do it? I want that book!!

  11. Jan - June 24, 2021 11:52 am

    Beautiful story! Love how you can identify with people and animals in such a profound way that you can interpret their thoughts and feelings for the rest of us. Thank you, Sean. Stay safe, Miracle!

  12. Susan Wold - June 24, 2021 11:57 am

    I had to stop reading 3 times, waiting for the tears to clear, just to get through this. I almost didn’t finish when I suspected the dog was going to get hit. I didn’t know. I even thought ‘Darn you Sean, for starting my day with sadness.” I’m glad I finished though. I had to trust the outcome , and you. This man that you met on your hike is Miracle’s angel, there is no other way to describe him. I hope he knows how special he is….. Miracle knows.

  13. Daisy Parvin - June 24, 2021 12:00 pm

    You did it again. I’m crying.

  14. Dr. Dennis Stalvey, aka Preacher Dennis the Storyteller - - June 24, 2021 12:02 pm

    What a beautiful story, Sean. It reminds me of the Twilight Zone episode which determines whether or not dogs can go to heaven. I have always remembered this episode, especially when I hear about the demise of a dog. Here is an excerpt about that episode:
    A Man and His Dog Go To Heaven, is an adaptation of the wonderful tale by Earl Hamner Jr., an American television writer and producer. This particular tale came from one of his teleplays for the Twilight Zone series titled – The Hunt, which originally aired on January 26, 1962. The story is about a man named Hyder Simpson, who refuses to go into heaven unless he can take his dog Rip with him. Rod Serling’s opening and closing
    of the episode went like this:
    Opening narration
    An old man and a hound-dog named Rip, off for an evening’s pleasure in quest of raccoon. Usually, these evenings end with one tired old man, one battle-scarred hound dog, and one or more extremely dead raccoons, but as you may suspect, that will not be the case tonight. These hunters won’t be coming home from the hill. They’re headed for the backwoods—of The Twilight Zone.
    Closing narration
    Travelers to unknown regions would be well advised to take along the family dog. He could just save you from entering the wrong gate. At least, it happened that way once—in a mountainous area of the Twilight Zone.
    You can read more about the episode at these sites:

  15. joan moore - June 24, 2021 12:08 pm

    I knew I should have brought the 3 pack Kleenex! Thank you for your thinly veiled message of how we are to live to love the helpless.

  16. Miriam - June 24, 2021 12:15 pm

    Had tears in my eyes beginning to read this story. I’m so happy Miracle was blessed to find her human. It’s hard to understand people who feel it’s ok to mistreat animals. Thanks Sean foe the happy ending post

  17. Molly - June 24, 2021 12:18 pm

    Beautiful words! Beautiful story! We all need a Miracle!! Thank you!

  18. Te - June 24, 2021 12:19 pm

    Been there, done that. For 20+ years. Cats and dogs. My heart goes out to all the innocent lives at risk because of humans – and all the ones who are saved because of humans.

  19. Sharon - June 24, 2021 12:20 pm

    Forgive me for sobbing while I write this. I’m watching my “old girl” sleep and remembering her story before the kids and I were lucky enough to be rescued by her love. She was found as a puppy walking the streets in the dead of winter and thankfully she was brought to the place where we met. It was love at first sight and for years, she has held our hearts in her sweet paws with her beautiful brown eyes and kind soul. Sean, I’ve told you before how wonderful you are and I want to say that again. Thank you on this beautiful morning, while I hear the birds, for bringing your heart into your stories. May G-d bless you:)

  20. Pamela Williams - June 24, 2021 12:22 pm


  21. Sharon Mohr Stucky - June 24, 2021 12:28 pm

    I’m new to your stories. I loved this tender-hearted story. Brought me to tears. I will look forward to more of your writings.

  22. Mimi Cramer - June 24, 2021 12:49 pm

    Had tears in my eyes first for fear, then for happiness. Peace, love, dogs.

  23. Lisa - June 24, 2021 1:00 pm

    A friend shared one of your emails with me while COVID was in full swing. I’ve been reading them ever since. Thank you for all the tears and all the smiles you bring me everyday.

  24. Melanie - June 24, 2021 1:00 pm

    ❤️❤️❤️to Miracle and Miracle’s dad❤️❤️❤️

  25. Priscilla Maxwell - June 24, 2021 1:04 pm

    I think we’re all just Miracles, walking around. Hurt by others, banged up, limping, but still hopeful of love. I’m glad Miracle exists still, to remind us how alike we all are, and to be gentle with each other.

  26. Linda Clayton - June 24, 2021 1:12 pm

    Well, you did it again, Sean, made me cry and give my little old girl Dixie an extra hug. And hugs to you for sharing your beautiful stories.

  27. Gloria Knight - June 24, 2021 1:24 pm

    Okay another morning with tears in my eyes but i do love a sweet story like this one. Yay Miracle!!

  28. Shelton A. - June 24, 2021 1:28 pm

    Thanks for a story of kindness and love. I pray for many years of Miracle chasing children and enjoying cheese. God bless the family who took her in.

  29. Christina - June 24, 2021 1:29 pm

    We need miracles more than ever!

  30. Bob - June 24, 2021 1:41 pm

    Good Morning and thank you Sean, for one such example of what happens so many times each day in America. A dog, a stray or runaway makes that call to cross the highway at great peril. Many times it is last decision they will ever make. Your story has both sad and ultimately happy components. Other times the dog lays and has a horrible death and others a more merciful instant end. And some, like Miracle find a burst of humanity and goodness from a human who cares enough to stop and adopt or at least take the four legged soul to help. Thank you for making me smile this morning in place of the tears that fall when I see a lifeless canine on the side of the road. Much less these days Thank God, than it used to be.

  31. Carolyn Bryan - June 24, 2021 1:58 pm

    Love all of your stories. All different but you find beauty or good in every day things.

  32. Anita Smith - June 24, 2021 2:15 pm

    I’m in love with your writing. Thank you for brightening my day.❤️

  33. Sandra Krym - June 24, 2021 2:23 pm

    A heart wrenching story. I had sad tears for the old girl’s neglect, desperation and horrible predicament. More sad tears when she was hurt and left for dead. Then the tears turned to happy tears when she was rescued and given the care she needed. Tears of joy when her rescuer took her home to his happy, loving home and was named Miracle. My husband and I have rescued many fur babies over our 50+ years together. Each and everyone has a piece of our hearts, never to be forgotten.

  34. Tom Wallin - June 24, 2021 2:33 pm

    Great story. Good for the Potato Chip man. God bless him and Miracle.

  35. Nedetria Talbot - June 24, 2021 2:43 pm

    You can bring me to tears and make my heart soar at the same time. Thank you for being the voice for so many animals and humans.
    Take care and keep writing, you bless our souls.
    Nedetria Talbot
    Brundidge, Al

  36. beachdreamer1 - June 24, 2021 3:08 pm

    I almost stopped reading halfway thru, then I thought, no way would Sean write something not ending well! A truly beautiful story. So glad you saw potato chip man and Miracle that day. Everyone has a story , even our four legged furry friends. God bless them both. I agree with the comment that this should be a children’s book. In fact, would be great if you would add children’s books to your repertoire 😀…children and animals. What could be better than that!!
    Thank you again for your heart filled stories that remind us of the good still out there ❤️
    God bless.

  37. Peggy S Campbell - June 24, 2021 3:48 pm

    To tell you the truth, I finished reading and laughed out loud. Because, of course, once again Sean of the South (who I “met” only months ago–I know, where have I been?!) has made me cry. Jeepers. Unfailingly. Unrelenting evoking of that beautiful mix of sweetness and sorrow. What a gift. Thanks for this–and all the others yet to come!

  38. Paul Yarbrough - June 24, 2021 4:04 pm

    Great story

  39. Bill Harris - June 24, 2021 4:12 pm

    Thank you Sean

  40. Jakki Stephenson - June 24, 2021 4:25 pm

    I cried! Thankyou, Sean Dietrich, for telling the stories of the good in people.

  41. Patricia Gibson - June 24, 2021 5:15 pm

    Tears falling! God bless this man!!

  42. Susan Kennedy - June 24, 2021 5:18 pm

    I just cried all over my lunch.

  43. Lulu - June 24, 2021 6:11 pm

    You and the potato chip man are very special!

  44. Karen Snyder - June 24, 2021 6:13 pm

    ❤️❤️❤️ Here’s to love and miracles! Thank you.

  45. Linda Moon - June 24, 2021 6:51 pm

    Another story of Hope. You simply asked a man about his dog. That’s wonderful and just about miraculous now…to be on a trail after being cooped up for so long. And you’re here, still writing. You ask and people tell….so simple yet so profound. Thanks for letting me know about Miracle and bringing some miracle into this LIFE of mine. Just BEING HERE and reading are my miracles. I’ll be at HOPE for a kitty-kat tomorrow, and I’ll be thinking of the dog whisperer and Miracle.

  46. MAM - June 24, 2021 7:27 pm

    Sure glad I don’t wear eye makeup any more. gave it up with COVID. Your dog stories are always miracles in words. I like stories only with happy endings. I hoped Miracle wouldn’t get hit, but it was inevitable. I trusted you enough to know that the story would come out happy, and it did. Thanks, Sean.

  47. Beverly Wynn Bua - June 24, 2021 8:23 pm

    Oh, no… Tears again…. But I loved it❤️ Thank you, Sean

  48. Lauren Lopez - June 24, 2021 8:51 pm

    What an awesome story! Thank you for sharing this, Sean!!

  49. Suzi - June 24, 2021 10:22 pm

    Straight to the heart ♥️

  50. Kathy - June 25, 2021 1:01 am

    You made me cry again. Extreme kindness has that effect.

  51. Rhonda Hooks - June 25, 2021 2:02 am

    Wonderful. Thank God The man is a miracle too!

  52. CarolM - June 25, 2021 3:01 am

    You got me…bless this gentleman

  53. Stephanie Rice - June 25, 2021 3:39 am

    Who doesn’t love cheese!! Great story.

  54. Denise - June 25, 2021 4:53 pm

    Sean, I’ve got Maggie May, a chiweenie. She came to our house in a special way and we’re so glad she didn’t meet a bad fate after someone put her out. But I think now we should have named her Joy because that’s what she has brought to us!

  55. Regina Chandler - June 26, 2021 1:52 pm

    Your stories never cease to amaze me. Thank you for your insight and inspirations.

  56. Vicky - June 26, 2021 5:27 pm

    I couldn’t comment on the 24th when I read it, as it had me crying. Nothing gets to me more than animals and this story was just lovely. Thanks Sean, for your amazing writing!

  57. Denise DeVries - June 27, 2021 12:07 pm

    Miracles still happen. I see more than one in this,story.

  58. CHARALEEN WRIGHT - July 6, 2021 12:39 pm

  59. Susan - March 26, 2022 10:43 pm

    Just read this, dogs are God’s angels designed to get us through this life on earth. I’ve had many rescues but the question is, who rescued whom?


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