By Kim Hasty
Fayetteville Academy fourth-grader Carly Reeves figured everyone could use a story with a happy ending these days. But though she never gave up on her great-grandmother's missing little dog, no one was sure how this one could possibly turn out well.
Fayetteville Academy fourth-grader Carly Reeves with her great-grandmother Ginko Reeder and "Miracle Minnie."
In fact, it took a miracle.
At just 9 years old, Carly, who loves to write and draw, put pen to paper to share this amazing saga with everyone else. It all started in mid-April, as the world was trying to cope with a virus that had grown into a pandemic. Ginko Reeder, known as Baba to the family, let Minnie, her 18-year-old Chihuahua, outside before bedtime just like she always does. Something must have startled or confused the little dog, who is both blind and deaf. Minnie had always come right back inside, but this time she ran away.
Laura Reeves, Carly's mother and Ginko's granddaughter, suspected the worst for the little dog. After all, Minnie had no experience with surviving on the streets. Her age and her health compounded an already gloomy situation. Following Japanese tradition for mourning, a despondent Baba did away with Minnie's toys and food dishes.
Meanwhile, Carly kept the faith.
"She has such a heart for animals," Laura said. "She prayed every night. She prayed a very specific prayer. That Minnie would have food. That she would be safe. That someone would care for her."
Laura Reeves posted information about Minnie on a social media site dedicated to lost and found pets. She checked the site every day and even saw a post from AnnaMarie Musso, who had found a lost Chihuahua. That dog, eventually reunited with its owners, wasn't Minnie, but Musso assured Reeves she would keep watching for Minnie.
"I figured I would never hear from her again," Laura said.
The days turned into weeks. In the middle of May, Musso called again. She'd read another post about a lost Chihuahua. This post not only looked promising, but would eventually reveal a story that showed both the terrible cruelty and, ultimately, the incredible kindness people show toward animals.
A couple in Fayetteville had watched as someone laughingly dropped a little dog - deaf and blind Minnie - 4-feet down a storm drain where she was certain to suffer an awful death. But the woman managed to slide down the drain and retrieve Minnie. The couple couldn't keep her, so they asked their daughter in Fuquay-Varina to give her a temporary home. That led to Cause for Paws, an animal rescue organization, taking Minnie in as a foster. It also led to AnnaMarie Musso learning of Minnie's whereabouts and notifying Laura Reeves.
On May 19, National Rescue Dog Day, Minnie came home.
Encouraged by her mother, Carly began writing the story on a family vacation.
"It was really fun to sit outside and write," Carly said. "I figured other people needed a little positivity."
The result is "Minnie's Miracle," a 32-page book complete with Carly's words and illustrations, with a little help with coloring the illustrations from her mother. The Pilgrim Gift Shop in Westwood Shopping Center recently hosted a book-signing attended by Carly, Baba and Minnie. The books are still for sale for $15 through Lharsant@yahoo.com.
The Reeves family made a $500 donation to Cause for Paws.
And Minnie? She'll soon turn 19 and is doing well.
"She's great," Laura said. "My grandmother feeds her sautéed chicken and rice every day."