For two full days, a vast network of folks fanned out across the Hollywood Hills, searching for a very scared dog that had bolted from the dog sitter’s yard. Pup “Rooney” had been rescued by Dr. Rise Hoffman who had left for Africa and her AIDS clinic project that morning. A frantic sitter called one of the neighborhood watch captains and the search began. In challenge and crisis, having a supportive community is an essential for making it through, but community doesn’t happen just when one needs it. No it must be deliberately built and nurtured over time. It can’t be forced or coerced. It grows from demonstrated actions of concern and love for the stranger as well as the friend. Upper Nichols Canyon is just such a community. Thanks to the efforts of my sister and a handful of dedicated volunteers, they have created a network that protects children, holds block parties, participates in the most successful ever evacuation drill the LA Fire Department has ever seen, and helps the police teams with surveillance. Here is a letter my sister emailed today which details what can happen when a community member–even if working in Africa—needs help.
Dear Neighbors, It's a great news day! Rooney is home!! She was found during the night in the hills above Sunset and Kings Rd. in West Hollywood (!!!) She kept bolting away from the man's food offering when he approached and out into the dark. The kind rescuer, who got the flier from a friend, called me at 7:30 this morning while I was at LAX. Dog-sitter Tara went immediately to the area and an exhausted, hungry Rooney came to the special friend she knew. Her (and our) 40 hour adventure is over! Lots of tears of joy this morning! Especially in Malawi, Africa where our Nichol’s neighbor and Rooney's "mom" Dr. Risa Hoffman got the good news on a text at her AIDS clinic project. Risa texted me to "please thank everyone for all their efforts, caring and prayers. It means so much to me! I'm so grateful and happy!" Friends, I want to thank everyone as well. This was a very real example of how our community works together in tough times. Tara and her team of wonderful pet caregivers worked tirelessly as we created and executed a search plan. Together our Nichols neighbors, other neighborhood associations surrounding ours, pet rescue groups, and folks who saw the fliers, helped widen the search and get more eyes looking for Rooney. Even one of our 10 year-old neighbor printed up fliers to give out at Wonderland School since we knew Rooney might range that far. The guys who ran off our fliers said they'd pray for Rooney's return as did others who took them. We were grateful for any kind of help. Though some may say, "it's just a dog!", I tell this story because yes, it was a dog today but it could be a child, a neighbor, an earthquake or something else another time. We have experienced again our capacity to care, to organize, to pitch in not just in our neighborhood but in the wider community. This is our reassurance that when called upon we will be there for each other. That means something to me. So have a happy day! Hug your pet or someone else you love! And many thanks! Best,Susan President, Upper Nichols Canyon Neighborhood Assn.
I think my sister is pretty darned spot on.