One of the greater mysteries in life is how we are in the right place at the right time. We always seem to remember every time we are in the wrong place at the wrong time, but seldom remember when things go right or to question why. One day while my father and I were trying to get a front end alignment on his old truck I was confronted by a very embarrassing situation as I followed the service manger behind the counter.
I found myself intruding on a tear filled telephone conversation. I stood looking at my feet nervously fidgeting as men do when confronted by tears. The phone conversation seemed to last an eternity I found my self fighting a inner battle should I just walk a way? Was the information the service manager was going to supply worth this? Just as I was about to walk away I heard the sound of the phone hanging up. A sob broke the uncomfortable silence my eye’s slowly switched from my feet to her feet as I looked up I made eye contact with sorrow filled eyes.
“My dog” she seemed to choke on words. My mind fill with visions of dogs hit by cars, lost lonely starved. “Oh no that’s not good.” My voice sounded distant and unfamiliar. Our eyes met once again instantly creating an atmosphere of trust and understanding in the way only eyes do. Her words flowed from her mind more as thoughts then words. “They can’t take him, there landlord won’t let them have a big dog” in more of a sob then words she ended with “Now I will have to take to the vet and put him to sleep I can’t do it.”
A puzzled look must have come across my face, because she slowly tried to dry her tears and started to explain from the beginning. “My husband and I split up, I have to move into an apartment in town.” “They won’t let me keep Duke he is too big; I have had him for 9 years he’s the only friend I have left!” “He is to old no one wants him.” “What am I going to do?”It’s not fair.” A feeling of relief slowly started to flow over me. I started to speak but was interrupted as the door to the shop opened as the service manager entered. He studied the situation before him and got a look of disgust on his face. He promptly issued a cold scolding stare at his employee, and began to walk away with the expectation that I would follow him.
When he realized that I wasn’t following he stopped and gave me a puzzled look. I ignored him and began to explain who I was, and that my parents ran a no kill animal shelter up north and that her and Duke were in luck. My dad was right here in the store and was planning to journey home tonight, and I was sure that there would be no problem with Duke jumping into the front seat with Dad accompanying him back to the shelter. I also explained that I was confident that Mom would have no problem re homing Duke, and that there would be no expiry date to his stay he would be welcomed there till he was re homed.Her tears were quickly replaced with huge smile. Followed by a question “How much is this going to cost me?” I replied “Mom usually asks for a surrender fee not much usually about what it would cost to have him put to sleep at the vet’s, but if that was a problem Duke would be still be welcomed.
A sparkle filled her eyes as she said “Just a minute; wait here while I go to get my wallet” She returned a minute later with a bounce in her step and a 50 dollar bill clenched tightly in her hand. We entered the store to look for Dad, and soon discovered him at the far end of an aisle. As I pointed Dad out to her, she began to run down the aisle and startled Dad as she threw her arms around him to give him a huge hug. Dad looked at me with a very puzzled look. As I quickened my pace, she released her grip on Dad’s neck and thrust the 50 dollar bill into Dad’s hand announcing that it was for Duke. Dad just stood there with a blank look on his face and slowly mumbled “Duke. Duke who?” As Dad was placing his hand on his forehead in his usual expression of confusion and shock I explained to Dad what was going on, his look of confusion was replaced with a smile. After Dad agreed to pick up Duke he was promptly issued another squeeze the stuffing out of you teddy bear hug.
It would seem that this story has achieved a happy ending, but as is so often the case in life we have forgotten the unwanted and the lonely. Some people say that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Maybe that might just mean the unwanted are wanted when the lonely seek companionship?
Duke arrived safe and sound but a little lost and confused the decision was made that he reside in Mom and Dad’s home instead of the shelter to allow him an opportunity to be surrounded by a loving, healing environment. To aid him in his rehabilitation, slowly over time a bond was developed between Dad and him. Duke proved to be a very loving enjoyable dog that soon learned to follow Dad around the yard to assist in all the yard projects. Not getting in the way but offering his companionship to dad never allowing dad the opportunity to be lonely. When Mom wrote Dukes bio for the Pet of the Week in the local news paper she focused on Duke’s willingness to offer his companionship and follow Dad around the yard. Unwanted Duke’s picture and bio caught the attention of a lonely eye.
A new shiny diesel pickup truck pulled to the shelter driveway one sunny afternoon, driven by a elderly gentleman enquiring about Duke. His mind was made up by the time he got here. He wanted Duke. As Mom yelled across the yard to Dad to bring Duke over she was asked how much Duke was going to cost. She replied “Here at Turtle Gardens all seniors are by donation, because of their age we can’t comfortably predict their longevity.” “That’s not right” the elderly gentleman exclaimed “There are twice as valuable as the young. They are educated and have gained the wisdom of experience” and promptly pulled two crisp 100 dollar bills from his wallet and handed them to Mom. With those few words the unwanted became the wanted and the lonely received companionship.
There was only four more words that needed to be said, “Let’s go home Duke.”