A story to remind us of what joy looks like


Jordan Palmer, Chief Digital Content Officer

I remember back in 2011, a poll came out that said Jews are the happiest people in America. I remember it because the Cardinals were on their World Series run, and my colleagues in the sports office at KSDK (Channel 5) would bring it up when I got upset after a loss. I took them in stride, as they meant well, but I remember feeling like an outsider because if all the Jews were so happy and joyful, what was I missing?

Since then, I’ve been both happy and joyful hundreds and hundreds of times. I have plenty of joy in my life. But not until this weekend did I fully understand and appreciate the giving of joy to someone who was in the pit of their own despair. I gave a stranger joy by finding her puppy.

You know the feeling

The idea of losing a pet is paralyzing. Luckily, I have not had this happen, but I will admit to experiencing that deep in the gut, hopeless nauseousness when my now 20-year-old daughter lost her “Lovey” 16 years ago.  We found Lovey, but the thought of her being in someone else’s possession haunts me to this day.

That was how my neighbor Kelsey felt the moment she discovered her French Bulldog Jax missing on Friday night. She did what anyone would do that late at night, she posted a picture on social media and asked for help.


My French bulldog Jax was stolen out of my backyard at 11:00 pm last night. If anyone has seen him, please message me. He is very friendly and he’s part of my family. My three year old is devastated. We need him back.

That feeling is haunting

Only now do I appreciate the sleepless night she and her daughter endured that night.

On Saturday morning I got up to take my own two dogs on their morning walk with not an inkling of the adventure that was coming. We walked north on our street, and as we looped around to return home, we approached a neighbor a few doors down preparing for a yard sale. She asked me if I knew of any neighbors who owned a pug? Not really knowing what a pug looked like, I said no. She then told me another neighbor found one in our alley overnight, and brought it to her house, as she could not care for it overnight. The pup was in this neighbor’s backyard.

I said I’d keep an ear out and took my dogs home for some water and to cool off.

Here’s where it gets strange

I have been unsuccessful in trying to stop getting alerts from the Nextdoor app. I’ve gone as far as deleting the app and changing my login and password, but the alerts keep coming. I never open them, but on this day I did.

I’m not sure what it said, but I opened it and was immediately drawn to the address. The person missing her dog was on my block, just one street east of me. Our homes are 100-feet apart, separated by an alley. My mind began to click.  “Missing pug, missing Frenchie, my block. Ding, Ding, Ding.”

I quickly Googled “Pug” and saw this picture:

John Attebury

Pugs and Frenchie’s might as well be twins, or close enough that anyone who found a Frenchie could call it a pug by mistake. I quickly grabbed my leash and ran back to my neighbors.  I showed her the picture and she said, “That’s him!”

I then posted:

This poor fellow did not have a collar on, so I hoisted this 30-pound pup up and carried him to his home.  As I walked up to the door, I remember a Zen-like feeling. From all the posts I’ve seen about lost dogs and cats, I never stuck around to find out how each of the stories ended, but here I was carrying this snorty little guy up the stairs to his home. What a stroke of luck.

I rang the bell and my new neighbor opened the door, tears flowing from her eyes. She looked at me, looked at him, back to me, and then bellowed, “Oh my god!” She began walking in a semi-circle, almost not believing I was in the door with her dog, Jax.

“Oh my god, oh my god,” she continued as her daughter came to the door, her teared-out eyes, red from sadness. I put Jax down, and the little girl hugged him tightly.  Kelsey, my new neighbor, hugged me as well as I began to explain that Jax was not stolen but had somehow gotten out and another neighbor found him in the alley. Not knowing what to do, that neighbor took him to another neighbor who had dogs.

I did a check of the backyard for Kelsey to see where Jax might have gotten out, but the “how” remains a mystery as the yard and fence were secure. Nonetheless, Jax was home and all was right with the world.

Later, Kelsey posted this picture and in it I saw the true meaning of joy. I finally understand what it feels like to give such joy. I hope to give it again, soon.