Mom Sends Little Son to Walk Dog, Hours Later Dog Limps Back Alone Whining — Story of the Day
A perfectionist mother sends her boy out of sight with their pet dog so she can take her mind off things. An hour later, the dog at least returns home limping and whining, but her son… he’s nowhere to be found.
Hazel had always wanted to be the perfect parent, a good mother, even though the past few nightmarish months had changed everything. She’d discovered her marriage was flawed, and her husband was sleeping with another woman behind her back.
Hazel had closed her eyes and swallowed her tears when her husband had returned home the evening she found out about his infidelity and hugged her. He made her feel disgusted, and she wanted to push him away.
But Hazel was a stay-at-home mom with no savings. So she had secretly joined a job, gone out to make a living, and focused on pulling herself and their son out of the situation.
Alvin’s face was pale when she tossed the divorce papers in front of him and said they were over. “How can you leave me, Hazel? You’re nothing without me!” he hissed, so she confessed how she’d discovered his affair a long time ago.
But Hazel’s turbulent marriage left scars that even time couldn’t heal. It transformed her into a less emotional and more realistic being, and the victim of her ‘new me’ version was her young son, Barney…
Hazel made a good living. She always had the skills, and all she had to do was dedicate herself to the job to achieve all she could once only dream about. She was a senior teacher and the chairperson of the parent-teacher committee at Barney’s school.
What Hazel didn’t know was that Barney wasn’t cut out for the things she wanted him to pursue. He wasn’t cut out for debate clubs and literary societies, and he was not meant for the sports clubs she’d forced him to join.
Barney was an imaginative and compassionate child. The sight of beggars on the streets made him feel terrible, so he dropped money into their begging cups, and he frequently shared his meal with the students who couldn’t afford lunch. That’s who Barney was.
No life decision is so important that we forget the value of our children.
One day, Barney and Hazel were leaving the mall after shopping when Barney’s gaze was fixed on an older man skillfully shaping his brush strokes into exquisite art on a blank canvas. Barney was captivated by the man’s talent, to say the least.
Then he noticed the begging hat beside the disbelieved man and a placard that said, “I’ll draw you for $5.”
“Mom!” Barney cried, pulling her dress. “Can we please ask him to draw us? Please?”
Hazel looked at the scruffy older man and scrunched her nose. “Oh, God. No, Barney, no,” she said. “These folks thrive off of the hard-earned money of others. Why can’t he find a real job? I would hate even to stand next to him!”
Barney’s shoulders sagged as he realized the man had overheard him and Hazel talking. For a brief moment, Barney and the poor painter’s eyes locked, and a weird sadness passed across the man’s eyes as Barney got into the car and Hazel drove away.
Barney was very upset that day. He’d wanted to help the man and ask him to draw him, but more than that, he’d wanted to know how he painted with such precision and fluidity and moved his brush around as if it were nothing.
“I didn’t like how you talked about him, Mom,” Barney told Hazel as they sat down to lunch that afternoon.
“And what is this about?” asked Hazel, serving him some salad.
“That painter,” he said, moving his fork around the dish. “You were disrespectful.”
“Oh, for the love of Christ, can you not, Barney?” Hazel said. “You’re far too young to understand how these bums deceive innocent people!”
“I want to learn how to paint,” Barney said quietly. “I wanted to ask the man about it.”
“No, you don’t want to learn how to paint!” said Hazel stiffly. “I don’t want you to end up on the streets begging for a living like a homeless man! That’s not why I urged our principal to put you in all the school clubs!”
“I hate the societies and clubs you’ve put me in, Mom,” Barney hissed, forcing his food down. “Why can’t I live a normal life like my friends? I sometimes wish I lived with Dad.”
“Well, you don’t like anything ever, Barney,” Hazel muttered under her breath. “Do you even know how hard I’m trying? Your dad, who you’re worshiping, was a terrible man, and I can’t even tell you the whole truth. If only you knew how hard it was to make a living.”
“Stop talking to yourself!” Barney cried as he pushed his chair aside and sprang to his feet. “I’m done with dinner! I’m off to my room!”
“No, you’re not!” said Hazel. “You’re not going to your room until you get back from walking Cooper. It’s time for him to go for a walk!”
“You’re so bossy! I just hate you, Mum!” Barney muttered as he buckled Cooper’s leash and left the house.
Hazel finished her food, cleaned the table, and retired to the living room couch. Then she turned on the local news and relaxed for a few minutes before checking her planner for the next day.
Usually, Barney would walk Cooper around for an hour and then return home. But that day, an hour passed, and there was still no sign of Barney and Cooper.
Hazel looked at the wall clock and expected them to be home soon.
She carried her work to the living room to keep herself occupied, but she couldn’t focus for some reason. She finally grabbed her phone and walked over to the living room window, which overlooked the street. Every evening, she watched Barney and Cooper return home from there.
But that day, her stomach churned, and her heart skipped a beat when she saw Cooper alone, limping on the gravel outside the house. Barney was not with him. Hazel could barely contain her heart palpitations as she dashed out the front door to Cooper.
“How—How did you hurt yourself, Cooper?” she exhaled sharply. “And where is Barney?”
The dog did nothing except whine and glance behind him as if Barney would appear at any moment. But Barney was nowhere to be seen, and Hazel knew something was very wrong. Her gut told her that her son was in danger, and without a second thought, she immediately dialed 911.
“My son!” she cried over the phone. “He’s been missing! Actually, no, he’s not exactly missing, but he went to walk our dog and hasn’t returned. And the dog’s back, and he’s injured… please, I need help! There’s something wrong!”
“Ma’am,” said the responder. “Please calm down. Only then would we be able to help you out. I have your address right here, and we’re dispatching a unit… Help is on the way.”
But Hazel couldn’t calm down. No mother would calm down if her son did not return home from walking their dog and the dog returned limping and whining. So Hazel quickly took care of Cooper’s first aid and said, “You’re going to be a good boy, Cooper, and stay home, alright? I’m going to look for Barney, and I’m going to find him, no matter what!”
Minutes later, Hazel was scanning her entire neighborhood for Barney and the routes he usually took on his way to walk Cooper. When she arrived at the neighborhood park, she ran into the cops who were dispatched to her house.
“I’m Officer Knox, and this is my partner, Reece,” he said to Hazel. “Ma’am, please calm down and elaborate on the events of this evening, okay?”
Hazel was out of breath. She couldn’t make any sense of anything. She could only tell the cops about Barney’s attire that evening and that the park was where he usually took their dog for a stroll.
By this time, it was almost dark, and the officers joined Hazel in her search for Barney. The park that evening was tranquil and eerie, with not a single person in sight.
“Barney!” Hazel screamed as loudly as she could. “Can you hear me, honey? Barney!”
Hazel and the officers searched the entire park, and as they neared the end, something on the tarmac drew Hazel’s attention. She knew she wasn’t hallucinating about it out of fear because Officer Knox knelt down and rubbed the scarlet liquid between his right thumb and index finger.
“It’s definitely blood, and it’s not very old,” he sighed, and Hazel felt like she would collapse. She pressed her palms to her lips, and tears gushed out of her eyes.
“My son… I just want him to be okay!” she sobbed. “That’s all I want! Barney… where are you?”
“Knox!” Officer Reece yelled at them right then. “I think we tracked the kid down! I’ve got his right shoe!”
Officer Reece was pointing behind the bushes, and as Hazel and Officer Knox followed the blood traces from the tarmac to the shrubs and joined him, they discovered a shack. It was made of logs and grass straws and emitted light from the window, indicating that it was inhabited.
“Shh… don’t make any noise!”
Officers Reece and Knox took careful steps up to the house and noticed the blood spots vanished at the cottage’s entryway. They took their positions and signaled each other with their eyes before busting open the cottage door.
“Hands up! Freeze!” Officer Knox yelled at the older man wiping blood off his hands in the living room. Officer Reece cuffed the man’s arms and pressed him against the wall.
“Where’s the boy?” Office Reece asked. “What did you do? Where the hell is the kid?”
Hazel was in shock as she walked inside the shack, holding Barney’s shoe. The house looked so worn and dirty. She couldn’t picture her beloved son living in such circumstances. “WHERE IS MY SON?” she screamed. “What the hell did you do? Look, we’ll let you go, okay? Please tell me where Barney is!”
Hazel almost charged at the man in desperation when a soft voice from the corner caught everyone’s attention. “Stop it, Mom!” it said. “Leave him alone! Don’t touch him!”
Everyone turned around and was shocked to see Barney appearing from a room inside on crutches. “Colin saved me,” he cried. “What are you trying to do? Back off, officers!”
Officer Knox and Reece uncuffed the man, and Hazel rushed to hug her son. She showered him with hugs and kisses until Barney told her to stop. “I love you, honey,” Hazel cried. “I love you so much! Oh, I’m so glad you’re safe!”
“Mom, you need to thank Colin! He saved me!”
Nobody understood what was happening until Colin shared his heartbreaking story and how he couldn’t leave Barney in danger.
“I heard a dog barking and the loud brakes of a car coming to a halt, so I dashed to my window,” Colin admitted. “The car had hit them and was gone by the time I dashed outdoors. I found this kid on the ground. Your son’s leg was twisted in the accident, and he needed immediate aid,” he told Hazel. “I couldn’t leave him alone and carried him home. I thought the injured dog was following me, but he was gone when I turned around.”
“How come you didn’t contact the police?” Officer Knox asked. “You should’ve done it first thing!”
“Well, er, officer, I don’t have a phone,” Colin admitted shyly. “Sorry.”
Officer Reece scoffed. “You know we aren’t buying that story, right? Don’t trust him, Knox! Hey, man, tell us the truth, or you’re spending nights in prison from now on! And yep, no phones there, either!”
“I’ve got nothing to gain by lying,” Colin said sadly, and Hazel suddenly felt like she knew this man.
“I have no one to talk to,” Colin continued. “My wife kicked me out years ago, and I never had children. I now live alone in this hut with my art. I call it my mini-gallery. Those crutches belong to my late brother… the ones Barney is using. I figured it might help him move around.”
“I recognize you,” Hazel remarked, looking around the room that displayed Colin’s artwork. “I saw you outside the mall. You’re the same guy, aren’t you?”
Colin nodded. “You’re right,” he said. “I recognized your son too when I met him. He seems to love art.”
“Thank you for helping my son. I’m sorry I was rude the other day,” Hazel apologized.
“Did you notice the car’s license plate?” Officer Knox asked Colin. “Of the car that hit the boy and his dog?”
Yes, I did see it through the window, but I don’t have a good memory when it comes to digits and numbers. However,” he added. “I could draw you a model! If nothing else, I’m a decent painter!”
So Colin drew a painting of a red Chevrolet pickup, and Barney was fascinated again as he saw Colin drawing. Officer Knox and Reece thanked Colin for the tip, and a week later, they tracked down the car and caught the culprit.
To Hazel, this experience was life-changing as it made her reevaluate her life choices and attitude toward Barney.
She resolved never to impose herself on her son and planned a surprise for him. She visited Colin and hired him as Barney’s art teacher. It helped the older man earn a livelihood, and Barney was over the moon when he learned Colin would teach him to paint.
But unfortunately, Colin and Barney’s time together was cut short when Hazel was promoted and had to relocate to another city.
Colin cried as he looked at the box Barney had given him as a goodbye gift one fine morning. It was a phone. He remembered his young pal hugging him before departing and saying, “Call me whenever you want, Colin! I’m going to miss you!”
Colin was disappointed that he would no longer be able to teach Barney to sketch, but he had no idea Hazel had taken care of the free time he would have now. When Colin awoke a few days later to a knock on his door, he found dozens of children and their parents queued up outside his cottage.
Hazel had recommended Colin to the students at Barney’s school, and parents wanted to have him as their children’s art teacher after seeing his work.
That day, Colin hid his tears as he glanced at the gleaming sun in the blue skies and remembered Hazel and Barney. Then he twisted his lips in a big, fat smile and whispered a thank you to God for everything, for making him cross paths with the kind mother and son.
What can we learn from this story?
No life decision is so important that we forget the value of our children. Hazel was putting so much pressure on Barney that she forgot he was her child and had the right to make his own decisions.
Look beyond a person’s appearance, and you’ll see their heart there. Hazel and the officers thought Colin was responsible for Barney’s disappearance. Little did they know he’d saved the boy’s life.
Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them.