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Miracles in Everyday Life

A Tribute to Sugar!


 “Sam” Scarfo

She has been described as having a “regal elegance” and being the “neighborhood ambassador.”  Though she would never win a “beauty contest,” if  “the eyes are the mirror to one’s soul” one would believe she is indeed absolutely beautiful.  She asks nothing and gives much. 

Sugar’s journey began when a breeder “dumped” her on the streets in Seminole County.  She eluded Animal Control for two weeks.  By the time they finally “picked her up” she was 20-25 pounds underweight, so afraid of her world that she completely “shut down” to outside people. 

On the day Sugar was due to be put down, they called Setter rescue giving the message that if someone didn’t come to identify the breed and pick up the dog within a few hours, it would be too late.   

A phone call from a Vet was the beginning of my life with Sugar.  I am absolutely convinced that God listens and intervenes.  I badly wanted another dog after my previous dog died.  My husband wasn’t so convinced this was a good idea.  Hearing about Sugar’s plight we decided to bring her home. 

Sugar’s name came from the nickname my Dad had for my Mom.  During the first year she was in our home, I often wondered if there was ever a time when she would live up to her name.  She was so ill that, at times, I thought she wouldn’t live.  She was so traumatized that even with training, she attacked and bit me.  The Vet suggested that she may have to be put down due to psychological problems.  She literally was a dangerous dog.  He gave me one month to see if we could get her to respond to training. 

Sugar’s first “miracle” was when someone suggested an animal behaviorist.  Without Jeanne, Sugar would not be here today.  She had consulted the Vet and trainers prior to a visit to our home.  When she showed up at our door, she had chains around her neck and waist and a whip like rope.  She took one look at Sugar and declared she was not a dangerous dog.  Sugar took one look at Jeanne and for the first time responded to a human.  Within the month, Sugar and I came to “terms,” and the Vet no longer saw the need to put Sugar to sleep. 

Sugar’s second “miracle” was when she injured her hip so badly in a fall that the Vet sent us directly to a surgeon.  We left her with the specialist who had to schedule her for anything from a repair to a complete hip replacement.  She was only 1 ½ years old.  As we left her, I prayed to God to take care of her and threw in a few requests to St. Francis (the Patron Saint of animals).  Hours later, the surgeon called to tell us that incredibly “Sugar healed herself” and yes, he actually did use the word “miracle”.  Her injury was so complex that he’d never heard of a case where the bones not only came together but in the proper alignment.  He had never seen or known this to happen in any dog.  God indeed listens and as I was to discover, had a mission for this special animal. 

One day, Sugar and I were asked to visit Lake Mary Rehabilitation Center.  With great misgiving, though Sugar was now completely trained, I said “yes”.  Several of us dog owners put on a little dog show in the courtyard to the delight of all residents and workers.  We made them laugh and cheer for our individual dogs.  At the end of our exhibition, we paraded our dogs around so that anyone who wished, could pet them. 

This was Sugar’s turn to indeed perform a “miracle.”  She took one look at a man who appeared to be sleeping in his wheel chair, pulled me over to him and gave me a “do not interfere” look.  (Believe me, I had no idea what was happening here!).  She began licking his hand, working and working until she finally had his hand on top of her nose.  The man gave no response.  His aide said, “he has Alzheimer’s, please let your dog continue, in his life he loved dogs.”  Sugar continued “kissing” the man’s hand.  All of a sudden, the man sat up straight, looked as Sugar and said, “Dog!”  He petted her for 30 seconds and then went back into his “slumber.”  The aide was in shock.  She informed me that this was the first time in almost a month that this man responded to anything or had spoken a word.  Though she may not have used the word “miracle”, she kept saying the incident was amazing. 

Since that day, Sugar has made it her mission to brighten everyone’s day that she encounters (including cats!).  She is now a registered therapy dog and nothing makes her happier than visiting people in the nursing home.  She has also convinced me that God listens, hears and intervenes.  And indeed, there are miracles in our lives everyday!

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