On May 28th last year, R and I were on the way to the grocery store, when I said, “Is that a dog?” It was a dog. A white Jack Russell terrier that had been so recently hit by a car that it was still in the middle of the road, still moving. I turned the car around, drove back, and sat with the dog for the seconds it had left before it died. It looked at me, saw me, then its eyes glazed over. I brought the body home and buried it in the back yard. We never made it to the grocery store.

The next day, I went back to that neighborhood, looked for signs. Every telephone pole had one. I called the owner. The dog was Hugo. 14 years old. And Jay, his owner, needed to see him. So I dug the dog back up and Jay came and took his body away.

Exactly two weeks later, Karen called with the news about a “suspicious nodule.” Over the next nine months, Mom died, Malcolm died, Sharon died, Michelle died.

Yesterday, R and I were on the way to the store, when R said, “Is that a dog?” It was a dog. A Yorkie in the middle of a busy road. I stopped the car immediately, annoying the people behind me. R got out of the car, annoying the people ahead of us, and managed to scare the dog off the road. I pulled over and together the two of us herded the dog back into a safer place, and started trying doors. The owners were in the second house we tried and very happy to get their dog safely back. They hadn’t even realized he was missing yet.

I think the best part is that I had made a wrong turn — yes, on the way to the store, I made a wrong turn, this is why I get lost so easily — and we should never have been on that street at all. I know that it’s a meaningless coincidence, but it feels like a sign of better things to come.

And even if not, we get to know that a dog is safe at home tonight because this time, we were there in time.