Our Third Anniversary Trip, Part 2 || July 24, 2016 || The Eventful Trip Home
On Sunday morning, after breakfast and drinking our fill of delicious chocolate milk from the hotel, we packed up and set off for home. The plan of the day was to drive home in the most roundabout way so that we could see some of our favorite road trip sights: Whispering Giants, new counties, and a historical site. We drove West on highway 76/74, and made our first stop North of Bolton, in Buckhead, NC. Here, we saw our first Whispering Giant for the day – #71, carved by Peter Toth in 2005 to replace the 18th Giant in Wilmington that had decayed. Along the side of the road, there was another “giant statue” – or someone else’s attempt. 😉 There is none that can compare to the great work done by Peter Toth!
Next, we drove to Whiteville, NC, to see another North Carolinian giant. (North Carolina has had 5 official giants, compared to the typical 1 in each state!) This one, #72, stands outside the North Carolina Museum of Forestry. We spotted the giant while driving by, then parked behind the museum to take a picture. A surprise awaited us behind the museum – standing against the back wall was the face of Giant #18 that had decayed and been removed from Greenfield Park in Wilmington! We were really excited about this find – now we could say we saw 3.5 giants today! We took some pictures then got back on the road – it was just too hot to enjoy being outside.
Back on the road, we altered our route plans and took highway 130 to I-95 near Rowland, where we hopped on the interstate and drove a couple miles into South Carolina. By doing this, we managed to get 2 more NC counties. Once in SC, (another new county – Dillon! 2 more to go!) we exited on highway 9 in Dillon and headed West. Once in Bennetsville (in Molboro County! One left!), we went South on 15 and once in Society Hill, we briefly drove West on highway 52 entering Chesterfield county – WE DID IT! We crossed into all 46 counties in South Carolina! Time to celebrate!
Are you still reading? If so, congrats and great job making it through all that! Now you get to read about where things actually got exciting. 😉
Our last stop for the day was visiting Francis Marion’s Burial Site. This site is pretty out of the way – West of the small town of Pineville, SC. I doubt it gets many visitors. We read the plaques and took pictures while letting Charlotte sniff around the little clearing. I set up my camera on auto timer to make sure Curtis and I had one picture of the 2 of us from this trip. We took the picture, then Charlotte started barking at something. Curtis went to go letterbox while I grabbed Charlotte and put her back in the car. She usually only barks at living creatures so I thought I was protecting her from whatever it was. I looked back and saw something moving. A little head popped up, then went back down. At first glance, it looked like a puppy, but I was sure my eyes were playing tricks on me.
I called for Curtis, feeling cautious in case the creature was harmful. We wandered over to check it out – and found not one, but 2 hound puppies! The poor babies were just lying there, looking up at us, too weak to stand. I ran to the car and grabbed Charlotte’s food and water bowls and a water bottle. The food bowl had some of Charlotte’s dry food in it and I didn’t plan on giving it to them, but they all went after it immediately – the poor things were starving. “We have to take them with us” I said, and Curtis agreed. He went to go clear out the back seat in the car. Suddenly, off to the side I thought I saw something move. I stood up to get a better view. Another puppy! “Curtis, there’s another one!”
“Are you kidding?” Curtis asked, and went to go bring it to the food. “Oh my gosh, there’s 3 more!” He brought the other puppies over, and they all went after the food as fast as the first two had. Curtis searched the area, checking to make sure there weren’t any more. We didn’t really question what we should do, we just knew we couldn’t leave them. I went and sat in the back seat, and Curtis brought them one at a time and handed them each to me. As he gave them to me, he gave each one a name after a Greek god. Once we had all 5 puppies in the back with me, and Charlotte in the front with Curtis, we took off for home. All 5 of the puppies cuddled up together and fell asleep for the entire ride. When we came into cell service, I looked up our local humane society and saw that it was closed. Without a second thought, we drove straight home and set up a spot for the puppies in our laundry room.
Curtis went to pick up some wet food – we thought that’d be better for their stomaches – and I took them all outside to our back yard to let them play. It was amazing how much energy they gained with just a little food in their bellies – they wandered and sniffed all around, yet still staying close to me. They really liked our garden, and were totally fascinated by Charlotte and would literally just sit and watch her walk around. We closely monitored her interactions with them, concerned that they might have fleas or some kind of sickness that they could pass on to her. After a few hours of play and loving on them, I put them all on a couple blankets in the laundry room where they slept through the night.
The humane society didn’t open until noon the next day, so I spent the entire morning playing with them and giving them the love they deserve. They were seriously the sweetest little pups ever, and it was a dream come true to be able to rescue and care for so many puppies at once. At the same time, it was heartbreaking to know that if we hadn’t found them, no doubt would they have starved to death out there in the woods. I can’t believe someone would do this to such cute puppies. I invited our neighbors over to come love on the puppies, and they just soaked all that love up.
Curtis came home for lunch, and after that we put the blankets and all the puppies in our laundry basket. I dropped Curtis off at school, then drove to the humane society. I did a considerable amount of research to make sure we were doing the best thing possible for the poor little pups. The puppies slept the whole way there once again. I scoped out the place a bit before handing them over, and gave a donation along with them. It made me feel better to see the worker’s face light up when she saw the puppies. I knew I was doing the right thing and that they can all get the medical attention they need, and hopefully when they’re old enough, they can all find their forever homes. Still, I couldn’t help but cry on the way home. I so wish we were in a situation where we could keep all 5. I definitely got way too attached to them in our short 20 hours together.
And that’s our story…definitely one of the craziest things that’s ever happened to us. Also one of the best. And the most hearbreaking. And if it hadn’t have happened, this day wold have been super boring to read about. 😉 I know that in such a broken world where terrible, heartless acts happen all the time, that abandoned puppies don’t hold a candle to, say, the loss of a loved one, but it makes me so sad to think that things like this happen. No amount of preaching “spay and neuter!” or “adopt don’t shop!” will make it stop. That’s just the reality. No slogan, no hashtag, no politician, no laws can stop bad things from happening. This world is filled with sin and darkness, and I know that things will continue to get worse before anything can get better. The only solution to this broken world is to have a perfect Savior come and restore things to the way they are intended to be – perfect and spotless and in the image of its Creator.
Now, in case reading this leads you to think that we are good people, always ready to jump in and help out, let me share what happened before we found the puppies. While driving through a small town along highway 52, we saw a hitchhiker along the side of the road. He just wanted a ride to the next small town down the road, only 15 miles away, but we didn’t give a second thought to helping him out. Once we had all the puppies loaded up in the car, I felt a wave of guilt that I was so willing to save puppies, but refused to help out a fellow human.
I realize that when I look at the events of the world, I can be a “realist” in that I recognize that nothing I do can stop the world from its downward spiral. If this planet is so messed up, why even bother, because I know that someday Jesus will return for His Second Coming, and will reign on earth in the Millennial Kingdom and eventually the New Heaven and the New Earth. Only He can fix the world. But I realized through these events that happened to us that the change that needs to happen for me comes from within. I need God to change my heart and how I look at things, and to show me how to love like He does. I can’t change the world, but I can do whatever He has called to bring light to my corner of this dark world. Pray for opportunities and wisdom, and to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Love like He has loved me. Always be prepared to help and share the gifts that God has given me. And continue to long for the day when Jesus will restore this broken world.
I thank God that he brought these puppies into my life to teach me all of this.