Volunteer helps a “Buddy”

One of some 230 meals on wheels volunteers with Diakon Community Services, Michelle Eshelman enjoys helping people. Sometimes, that help takes a different turn …making her a new “Buddy” in the process…. She writes about the experience:

The first time I delivered meals to “Buddy’s” owner, I could not help but notice Buddy. He barked from the time I pulled in until the time I left. This continued for the next three or four deliveries. Every time I made a delivery, I would talk to him, but he just barked.

I asked his owner if it was all right if I brought Buddy a treat. He said sure, so I went to the butcher shop and got a big smoked bone. When I arrived on my next visit, I was greeted with barking until I walked over to him with the bone. He retreated into his doghouse, but I could hear his wagging tail hitting the sides of the doghouse. I coaxed him out and threw the bone to him.

The next time I pulled into the driveway, he barked until he saw my car, retreating again into his doghouse. Again, I could hear his tail banging against the sides. Slowly, he slinked out and took the bone back into the doghouse. As a result, I asked his owner if he was friendly and he said yes, he would never bite anyone.

Over the next few months, he became less shy and would let me pet him. One day, the dog’s owner told me he was moving a short distance but would not be able to take Buddy with him. He wondered if I would take him.

I told him that I would love to, but that my husband and I live in town and really have no place for a dog. I told him I would make every effort to find a new home for Buddy.

I began asking around and sending emails to friends. Finally, after weeks passed, Buddy’s owner said he would be moving the following Wednesday. I told him I would be there Tuesday to pick up Buddy—even though I had no idea what I would do with him!

The day I picked him up, however, I called a friend who has rescued animals. She agreed to keep Buddy until we found him a home. That meant his days would be spent running around with other dogs instead of staying in our basement when we were at work. I had the vet do inoculations and a few other treatments and Buddy seemed healthy enough to run and play.

While I located someone to take Buddy, that situation was not ideal either, as the dog would be caged—and that is not what I wanted for Buddy. I told him I would let him know by Friday of that week. By Thursday night, it was crunch time. A friend, Sally, called at 9:30 that night and asked if I had had any luck finding Buddy a home.

When I told her of the current situation, she suggested I contact Kim Pribilla with Golden Acres Rescue. Although I planned to call the next morning, within 10 minutes my phone rang and it was Kim. Sally had already alerted her and she wanted to hear Buddy’s story. Kim operates a rescue that adopts dogs only with people who will keep them indoors. She assured me they do background checks and find him a good home.

It was difficult for my husband and me to leave Buddy but we had grown really attached to him. However, Kim soon called that her friend, Ali, was interested in Buddy and was coming to see him that weekend. However, we soon received a text that Ali couldn’t wait to meet him and was coming then to see him.

She fell in love with him immediately and planned to take him home as soon as she could gather supplies.

I have since received many updates and photos from Kim and I can tell you: Buddy is one happy dog!


Meals on wheels is designed to provide nutritious hot and cold noontime meals to homebound individuals. The program not only provides short-term assistance to individuals recuperating from surgery or illness, but also offers longer-term service for those who qualify.

Many volunteers go above and beyond their regular duties to help clients in need. Michelle is just one example of that outstanding service to the neighbor!

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