It was a bright October morning on Maui. The sun was shining in on Charlie, my six-month-old calico kitten, who was curled up in my suitcase watching me frantically dash back and forth, folding and unfolding “warm” clothes for my three-week work trip to New Zealand and Australia. None of my Maui clothes seemed appropriate. To-do and Don’t Forget lists were flying through my head. My cell phone buzzed. The lists blurred and I pressed answer before I could stop myself. You don’t have time to talk to anyone about anything, I chastised myself. Just hang up. Too late. Tanya—my dear friend’s name shined up at me, a welcome relief. Of all people to call at this frenzied hour, the voice of someone I consider to be a sort of spiritual advisor to me was just what I needed. I smiled. Her voice cracked. “Molly’s gone…”
She was calling from Ohio to let me know that she had just returned home from the vet. Molly, her beloved corgi of twelve years, had just been put to sleep. The tumors were too much and it was time. We cried. My packing slowed. I listened to her celebrate the life of our sweet Molly girl. I asked about Annie, Molly’s littermate and life long companion. We cried some more. I wished I had been packing to return ‘home’ to Ohio and that it was really last week, and that I had had the chance to give Molly a proper good-bye.
There was a call waiting beep. It was the housekeeper from work. Her call could wait. We weren’t done crying and remembering.
After I’d said good-bye, dried my tears and zipped my bags, I remembered the missed call. The housekeeper’s voicemail was quick and rambling. “Hi there, I’m so sorry because I know there are dogs at the house and that you all are leaving for your trip today and that you’re really busy, but there was this puppy and he’s really sick and he needs help and I couldn’t just leave him there in the middle of the road and people were honking and he was going to get hit and everyone was just driving around him and not doing anything so I have him and we’re almost at the house…”
I hung up. A sick puppy at work the morning of our trip could be a major speed bump. We were leaving the country in hours to be gone for weeks. The professional in me speed dialed my employer, brain rattling: What kind of sick? Where would we put him? Why doesn’t she just take him somewhere and come to work later? What if the other dogs catch something and die while we’re away? The animal lover in me tried to hold it together, heart pounding, Dear God, I hope he’s okay. What can I do?
My employer answered. I gave her the short version of what I knew. “Ooooh,” she cooed, “are you going to keep him?” What!? I screamed in my head, but answered, “Are you packed for New Zealand?”
By the time I arrived at work, my employers were already gone—speeding to the vet with the mystery puppy, down the road on which he was found.