A friend on Facebook said today that she is worried that her cat has gone for his last walk in the woods since he has been gone for 5 days now. One of her other friends noted that they had a cat that went on a walkabout for 3 months before resurfacing. Which reminded me of the story of Puppy.
This is not my story. It was told to me by this wonderfully eccentric woman I met at a bridal shower of a friend. The friend doesn't have a functional relationship with her father, or most of her biological family as it turns out. She met Olive (not her real name because I can't remember her real name but I do believe it begins with an O) as a result of desperately needing some credit advice, due to years of trying to fill the gaping emotional chasm left in her life by her less than functional relationships with her family through a little eBay therapy. This is what Olive does, she gets people out of their bad spending habits and on the road to financial wellness. But she looks like that lesbian earthy crunchy eats only organic food she grew herself vegan we all know. Or maybe you don't, but I do. She is extraordinairily thin, wears no make up, has loooooooong gray hair and wears almost exclusively jeans and a faded tshirt and Tevas. She is not a lesbian, but she was going to play the role of father of the bride and give my friend away at her wedding.
At the shower, we got to talking about pets, because most of the women I knew there were from a dog walking group I don't really walk with anymore because of him.
Funny how that kid sucks up all my time on the weekends. Anyway, we were talking about the various dogs in our lives, and Olive told this story about a dog she called Puppy. At the time she lived in a very remote location with neighbors she couldn't even see, and where she often left the first floor window of her house open so her one dog could go in and out as he pleased. One day she came home to find him in the living room with a friend, a dog she didn't know. This dog hung out, seemingly content with being part of their family. Because she didn't know his name, she and her husband decided to call him Puppy.
Every few days Puppy would disappear for a day or two, and then reappear in the living room. He wore a collar, so she assumed he belonged to someone. One day she decided to attach a note to his collar, so if he was going home to someone, that person or family would know that while he was gone from their lives, he was with a family who was caring for him. She also mentioned that they didn't know his name, but had taken to calling him Puppy, but if he had a formal name, just let them know.
As usual, Puppy left for a few days and then reappeared, with a new note attached to his collar. The note read that the dog she was calling Puppy had come to them much the same way he came into Olive's life. One day he just appeared, hung out, became part of the family, but would disappear for a few days and then return. They were happy to know that while he was on his sojourns, he had found another loving home to be part of. They did not know his name, but had been calling him Dog. They thanked Olive for the note.
This went on for a few months, until the disappearances began getting longer, and then one day Puppy never came back. Olive hoped that this means he just moved further on in his wanderings, and had found other homes and families to share time and love with, and not that he had been hit by a car or died of old age.
I LOVE this story. It was one of those moments where I knew I would probably never see Olive again, but felt totally blessed by the moment, by the opportunity to hear this story. Which is why I try to find something in the people I come in contact with to appreciate, even if they are in my office whining about not having money to pay the bill so they can move on campus on Friday despite the fact that they have had a minimum a month, but more like four months, to plan. Everyone has a story to share, a blessing to bestow. Sometimes you just have to look a little harder for it than others.