Back in the late winter of 1997, I was in the habit of visiting the humane society to say hi to the dogs and wish them good luck. One of those days, I decided to see who was in the lost and found section. This isn't a public area, so I had to tell a little white lie to get myself back there. As I was saying hi to the dogs, I came across a cage with a tiny apricot toy poodle who was cowering at the back of his kennel. His hair was matted all the way down to his skin and he didn't look well. I asked an attendant what his story was. She indicated he had been found a week earlier in a snow drift in the Brookdale Mall parking lot- a dumping. When I asked what would happen to him, she said he probably wouldn't make it to the adoption floor considering his sickly appearance and shy disposition. That was all I needed to hear. The next day, I went back to the humane society, told another white lie and $80 later, I had the little poodle in my car and was on my way.
At the time, I taught basic obedience at a local pet store that also had some groomers on site. I convinced the groomers to give the little guy a bath and hair cut. After the grooming, a different little dog emerged. He was pretty bald, but cute, as all of his hair except for his ears and tail had to be shaved off to clear the mats. What had changed most though was his attitude. The little guy was obviously feeling much better because he was strutting, and had gone from introvert to extreme extrovert. He was a very sweet little guy and ended up living with Louis and I until a new home could be found.
I posted a sign advertising him at United Way, where I was working at the time. Within an hour, a co-worker, Gin, had called offering the dog a new home. Gin is an interesting woman- older, a bit shy and socially awkward, but very, very kind. She had recently lost one of her two dogs and was looking for companionship for her remaining dog. We arranged for her to get the poodle that day. After leaving United Way a short time later, I lost touch with Gin, and the story of Mickey the poodle slipped to the back of my mind.
Today, I was out for a walk with my employee Cynthia (also a former UW employee) during which we chose to walk around the United Way building, just a block from our current employer. As we passed the front of the building, who steps out? Gin. I reintroduced myself and asked what ever happened to Mickey the poodle. It turns out that Mickey had just died on Monday after developing some heart trouble. She said that he had been her best friend for ten long happy years together. I was deeply touched. I really believe that sometimes the forces of the universe align in the right way and make the right things happen. It was affirmed for me through a woman and her much loved little dog today, that doing something small, something that was almost forgotten a decade ago, can brighten a small corner of the world. Forgive me for being cheesy and maudlin, but it makes me want to do more small, forgotten things as a pawn for the universe.