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The Power of Community: Finding Lucy

Published in ChicagoNow, February 16, 2019

Lucy is one lucky dog. She had just joined my daughter’s family, a rescue dog with a sad two-year history of loss and disruption. Her original owner in Kentucky died. Somehow, she ended up in Evanston via Wagging Hearts, being fostered by a caring family, until she joined her forever family. For all of four hours. When a guest was leaving her new home, Lucy bolted out the door and the black dog disappeared into the cold, dark night.

For all of the knocks that Facebook and social media get these days, including from me, Lucy would have been a goner on a night when temperatures dipped below ten degrees by dawn and with some busy streets to cross. But posts on Facebook, neighborhood list serves, and even sites for lost pets yielded a small army of community members who actually ventured into the cold night to look for Lucy.

The search party included close friends and neighbors. The woman who had facilitated the rescue joined in. My granddaughter and her good friend Emma were being driven by Emma’s mother to the last place Lucy may have remembered, her foster home, when a close friend and neighbor spotted Lucy a few blocks from her new home. The search parties converged on the site and someone decided the best course of action was to get Lucy into someone’s backyard and close the gate.

Now the amazing community of dog seekers had to figure out how to catch one extremely frightened animal. The woman from the rescue group sent her son home to retrieve a slip lead and he was able to catch the terrified Lucy and carry her trembling to her new family’s car. Once back in her new home, Lucy fell into an exhausted sleep next to her new owners’ bed.

In a final Facebook posts, my daughter and son-in-law proclaimed:

Lucy has been found!!! Thanks to Amber, who is a goddess, Emma, Martha, Jarrett, Loren, Kristin, and Brian. Our village is the best village. Period. Emma and Amber and Jarrett found our dog. I shall erect a statue in their honor. We can breathe again. Thank you to all of our friends and neighbors who helped look for her. We have the most amazing, dedicated friends. You are all loved!

This is the power of community. It speaks to friends and neighbors who spread the word and to those who searched for Lucy. In a world that often seems cruel, divided, and uncaring, finding Lucy is a testament to all that is kind, caring, and inspiring in life and to the power of ordinary people who are willing to help one another. Sometimes it takes a village to find a dog.


by Laurie Levy
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