Tobi's miraculous return...

Years ago I had a huge white and tan colored half pyrenees, half shepard dog we all called "Tobi," a name I had something to do with naming. He was an amazing dog, amigo, companion, guardian, and official protector of our donkeys and mules. You name it Tobi was always there and up to the challenge.

Tobi also liked riding on the back of anything that moved. Whether it was on the back of the old red 6 x 14 ft. wooden wagon, our old 1945 WC orange Allis Chalmer tractor, the old green long bed D100 Dodge or just about any 2 x 4 ft. space that also moved.

Tobi worked for his keep (most of the time) around our small farm "La Pollera" or chicken coop as our humble farm was known back then. We had learned to incubate and raise chickens and never really made any money doing it because my Viejita bless, her soul was always giving our "end product" away.

One day old Tobi decided to jump on the back of a truck that had stopped at our house. What he probably didn't expect was that they were enroute to Parral, Chihuahua by way of "La cuesta del fuste" or the steep climb of the saddle south east over the sierra madres. This road was and to this day is a very difficult and treacherous unpaved climb over the sierras that divide the states of Sonora and Chihuahua.

Later that evening there was no sign of Tobi. We didn't get too worried because Tobi was a late night eater. However by 8:00 p.m. and no sight of the old hound and I began to panic. My sisters and Viejita tried to comfort me saying that Tobi had probably spent the night across the river, and my brothers teased me that he had finally found a girlfriend.

Still I worried. I remember staying up all night and sneaking out every hour on the hour to the back of th house to see if my dear old Tobi had made it home.

I couldn't sleep. I decided that as soon as the sun came up I had to go look for my oversized companion. I searched all over including his best hiding places; like the apple orchard, by our hand made rock and mud irrigation canal and even up the road where his best friend Chocho a tan colored labrador lived.

I was walking back to the house and ran into a neighbor and asked her about Tobi. She told me that she thought she had seen him pass by the day before on the back of a large red truck. My heart sank - Tobi was headed to Chihuahua with the traveling salesmen. 

I remember trying to get anyone in my family that would listen to go to the Presidente's house (Mayors in Mexico are called Presidentes) and get him to telegraph the police department in Chihuahua to alert them of my missing Tobi.

No one would listen and told me that Tobi would be back soon. Even my Viejita said she would begin praying for his safe return to the Virgencita or Virgin of Guadalupe.

A few days went by and then it was a week and that week turned to two. I remember telling everyone in the village and or anyone I ran into about Tobi. Even the village priest assurred me he was praying for Tobi's safe return. I couldn't eat - even my favorite dish of chicken mole. I was too upset and was missing my good friend Tobi.

Soon the entire town knew about Tobi and his disappearance. Everyone I ran into told me that they were praying for Tobi. The weeks went by and I never quit looking for and praying for Tobi. I cried myself to sleep almost every night.

Usually I fell asleep waiting for his return on a wooden bench closest to the corral. My Viejita would always be the one to come find me and bring me to my bed. Summer came to an end but my dear Tobi never returned.

Each morning I would awaken and the first place I would run to was to look and see if Tobi had returned. Sadly Tobi was never on his old blankets that sat on top of the straw bed I had made for him.

Summer came to an end and Tobi was still missing, but he was never absent from my heart. I remember I was over at Tia Tencha's house one day when Yoyi came running in and was screaming, "Tobi has returned! Your Tobi is home!" Everyone in the house cheered.

I ran as fast as I could to my house and saw a big truck parked next to the barb wired fence in front of La Pollera. I was screaming "Tobi, Tobi aqui estoy! Tobi, Tobi here I am!

I looked for him in his bed and he was not there, disappointed I ran to the irrigation canal. I looked all over and he was not there. Out of breath I then ran to the apple orchard and thought I saw him laying under the shade of one of the trees.

Yes, there he laid!

I ran over to Tobi and as he saw me, he ran towards me - we jumped on each other, rolling on the ground and I remember he lapped and licked me from ear to ear. I held him close, putting my arms around him tightly and telling him how much I loved him and had missed him.

I didn't even bother to scold him. I was just so happy and grateful to have my old amigo home.

That summer brought a lot of people together. Tobi's leaving caused a lot of people to talk to each other and pray for a common goal. And when Tobi returned everyone was grateful he had made it back home.  

To this day I appreciate every change in my life as gifts, that deepen my sense of gratitude.

There is so much we all can be gratefule for - even when experiences that may not on the surface appear to be positive ones.

Make it a grateful dia!

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