Yesterday, I received an update on Bo, the last of the puppies to be adopted, and the story that was told to me brought tears to my eyes. I have taken the liberty of turning it into a short story by telling it in my own words, and adding my own bit of information to it, and I hope you will enjoy it.
It is, in a way, my Christmas gift to you, though only the words are mine to give. The story itself belongs to many. It belongs to an old man who died and his brother who brought a pregnant dog named Lucy to the SPCA; it belongs to the staff and volunteers who entrusted me with Lucy’s care and who helped me with the puppies; it belongs to Lucy who gave birth to Bo and his many siblings; and it belongs to Karen and Norm who took the pups at 7 weeks and introduced them to adopters. The story especially belongs to a mother, a daughter and a granddaughter, who were part of the story long before Bo was born. But most of all, the story belongs to a little pup named Bo.
The Magic of the Quilt
The woman sighs as she tries in vain to tidy the linens tumbling out of the closet. So many she has collected over the years. Do they really need them all? Impulsively, she decides to get rid of some and begins the tedious process of separating out those she wants to keep from those she can dispose of. She will send them to the SPCA, who are always in need of towels and blankets for the constant parade of dogs and cats who come into their care.
She hesitates as she reaches the pink striped crib quilt. Her mother had made this for her daughter – twenty-four years ago now – so beautifully made, hand tufted, soft and thick and warm. Lovingly sewn, by grandmother for grandchild. The woman’s hands touch the material and she gathers it close, hugging it to her heart.
Silly old fool, she thinks. Such sentimentalism. Time to let it go. Perhaps it will comfort some animal in need – perhaps some dog will feel the love that it holds.
“Help yourself to blankets and towels,” the SPCA manager tells me. “You’ll need lots for Lucy and for the pups' arrival.” I go into the storage room and grab a dozen or more towels and blankets from the top of the nearest pile. As I turn to leave, I notice a small, thick, pink and white striped quilt right near the bottom of a very tall pile of linens. I move the huge pile, stack by stack, until I reach the crib-sized quilt. It is perfect. Adding it to my already large armload, I head out the door.
I love this quilt – it is just the right size for the whelping box. It is thick and soft, the perfect mattress for mama and babies. But I decide not to put it in the box just yet – the blankets used for whelping will need to be thrown, and this will make a nice post-birth bed for Lucy and the pups.
A husband and wife talk once again about getting a pup. They’ve been thinking about it for a long while, but the right pup never showed up at the right time. But now the husband is on medical leave as he faces the challenge of living with a chronic disorder. He will be home all day. Perhaps now is the time to look again for a pup.
At work, the woman takes a quick glance at the SPCA website, oohing and aahing at the cute pups there. Later, during a rare lull in the day, she goes back to the site for another look. Her eyes are drawn to the little tan and black pup sitting up so straight, his big round eyes looking out from the page. His name is Bo. There’s something about him -- something about that picture -- that keeps drawing her back. And then her jaw drops and her eyes widen as she realizes what she sees. The quilt! The puppy is sitting on that oh-so-familiar quilt, the one her mother made for her daughter more than two decades ago, the one she sent to the SPCA last spring.
Later she phones the SPCA to ask about Bo. The pups are going quickly, she is told. They aren’t sure which ones are left. Surely not Bo – he is handsome and outgoing and affectionate, the perfect pup to attract adopters. Mostly likely he will be gone. The staff give the woman the address where the puppies are staying – there may still be one she would like.
Next morning, the couple head over to the house where the pups have been recovering from their spays and neuters. There is one left. Just one. As they enter the room, the woman sees the quilt – freshly laundered and hanging on the line to dry. And nearby, all by himself in the puppy pen, is one lonely last little pup. It is Bo. For some unfathomable reason, no one has chosen him. He has been waiting for them. And so they take him home, safely wrapped in the quilt that had once comforted their infant daughter.
From grandmother to granddaughter…..then generously donated to an animal shelter…..given to a foster mum…..used for a pup’s website photo. And now the quilt is back home, with a new young life to comfort. The quilt has woven its magic. And the universe is unfolding as it should.
Bo is now renamed Major, as he will be a major project for Gerri and Don in the coming years. He lives on acreage, a country dog with ponds and streams to explore, butterflies to chase, flowers to smell. A little pup who was meant to be theirs, a little pup who sat on a quilt that was once their daughter's, a little pup who will receive all the love and care that their own daughter received.
Merry Christmas, Gerri and Don. Merry Christmas, Major. Yours is a story I will not forget. Thank you for letting me share it.
(c) 2010 J.F.B.