There’s a stranger at my door
I wasn’t scared then, but then I thought, should I be?
I had just finished fixing dinner. Some sort of mini turkey moatloaves I make for the kids because they’re smaller and cute and I’ll try just about anything to get them to eat something healthy. My husband wasn’t home yet. I don’t know what it is about Thursday nights, but drivers seem to be less careful and more likely to crash into each other, backing up traffic.
I put the plates of food down for the kids and sat in my chair. Suddenly my BIG boxer jumped up from his spot at the top of the stairs. He rushed down the steps barking his voice of threat, shaking the house.
I called him back. He wouldn’t stop. I turned all the way around and my heart jumped. I expected to see the rear of a car, backing out of one of our neighbors’ houses, a common trigger for his alarm.
Instead, I met a shadow at the door—a giant dog stared back at me with his nose against the glass—a German Shepherd. I got up from the table. It’s not entirely unusual to have a dog at my front door. Our neighborhood is full of them and sometimes they run loose.
I started to walk down the steps to get a better look, but it was dark and I couldn’t see all that well. I kept staring at the glass and I jumped when I caught the outline of a tall man standing behind the dog. Maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but he was almost as tall as the door.
I pushed my dog aside and I cracked the door open with my leg in the space. I looked the stranger in the eyes and he had the lightest eyes I’d ever seen.
“Hey, what can I help you with?” I said.
The stranger smiled.
He said something like, “I found this dog up the street and wanted to see if he belonged to anyone in the neighborhood.“
I studied the German Shepherd again. His gray hair. The bald spot on his back. Strangely, he wasn’t scared. He was wagging his tail, and I didn’t know what to think right then.
I said, “I’ve never seen him around here. He’s probably been wandering for awhile.”
And that was that. The guy said thanks. I said thanks and I closed the door.
Two seconds later, my phone rang. Our neighbors warned me about the strange man going door to door. I told them I thought he was harmless. Just a guy hoping to find a home for a stray.
They sighed with relief and asked if they could come over.
Then I started to wonder, if they were scared, should I be?
Maybe I did the wrong thing. Maybe I did the right thing.
I guess I have to do the right thing for me, and in moments like this, I have to go back to my philosophy of believing the best in people. I couldn’t imagine what my life would be like if I lived each day thinking everyone has a clear dirty motive. Yes, there’s bad out there, but there’s also a lot of good. Maybe the stranger at my door was honestly trying to find a home for a dog. He didn’t want to see the dog roaming the streets alone.
I’ll believe in the best. I can only believe in what I know and what I see, and anything else would be just a guess.
And most certainly, I wouldn’t want anyone to think the worst of me.
Posted on December 20, 2012, in do you answer the door to strangers, doing the right thing, erika b, Erika Beebe, strangers, stray dogs. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.
You responded exactly as I would have! 🙂 I have to believe that the person standing next to me at the grocery store is a fellow well-meaning, good person for my own sake. I refuse to be suspicious…just not in me.
I totally agree with you. New follower.
A wise teacher once said to me: Expect nothing, but be ready for anything. You handled this situation just right. We can't walk around fearful of people, but we do need to handle unexpected events with caution and balance.
Thank you everyone for reinforcing my decision. Trusting too much has also been a problem of my past. I suppose there's a balance somewhere. But I'd rather fault on the side of trust and believing in the best.