First, the photo of Jake’s goofy, gentle face. Then I kept saying yes.
Deb sent me pictures of Jake and Coffee sleeping together. If I can get them both to Colorado a friend could adopt Coffee. They arrived on the Equinox. We switched to Chloe, which means the first green sprig of spring.
At the reservoir today Jake puts his entire face into water and grabs a piece of sunken wood. He prances around like he stole something valuable. Chloe runs figure eights around bushes, cuts a groove into sand. She is graceful and has street intellect. She sniffs every bit of food before eating and is shy of people. Now Chloe asks for pats every morning. She paws at a particular rock in our backyard, hopping around on her back leg. She’s as fascinated by that rock as Leonardo Da Vinci was about a certain smile and how dragonflies flap their wings. I know what I’m implying here!
Chloe loves to play with other dogs. She fits right under Jake and picks his hind end up. They run fast toward each other and fake each other out. Jake holds onto Chloe’s neck until she yelps. Then Chloe grabs Jake’s back leg and he goes down and she jumps over him. Jake falls, surprised and curious. There is no one at the dog park today except schools of minnows, and a pod of pelicans. Jake sits and watches the pelicans paddle, so close and strange. He has pelican qualities, the long nose, perfect posture. Jake has patience and good-natured gentleness of a Sage. Well, a Sage who likes to show off and steal things— with grass stains on his back knee.
Within a few days of my email appeal friends and strangers give me enough money for Jake’s travels and now I ask for more for Chloe. I am struck by people’s generosity. I write back, “Just checking—are you sure you want to give 100 dollars twice?” Sue gives the pups a free checkup. Kathleen tells me to give them chicken broth when they land. Amy tells me about her fundraising attempts for her Desi pupa nd Cliff offers a studio. Daryl designs graphics. Tom lugs a huge bag of organic dog food in my front door.
The enthusiasm from friends and strangers is profound. People listen and I learn from this. The pups are deeply quiet when they rest, delicate, tenderhearted. These are Pariah dogs, street dogs. Dogs are yelled at, stoned, hit, crashed into and left. There’s thousands, millions of Jake and Chloes that are on the street right now.
Varun sends me a picture of the pups in individual crates, ready to fly, with their water and food dishes. Send a copy of your passport, he says. Whoops! Out of date. Judy said I could use hers. A week later Judy takes the pups to her house while I go to a funeral, out of state. What I mean to say is, I am suddenly a part of this worldwide community who care deeply about living beings, particularly ones who, for whatever reason, cannot speak for themselves. In my view that’s the Sangha. I had forgotten this was possible. It was as if everyone else knows about what Sangha actually means. I begin to remember through the eyes of the pups.
When I start to say yes, others begin saying yes.
In mid March I follow the pup’s journey. Seventeen hours by car to Delhi. I keep looking at the photo of the smiling young people in their winter hats, sweaters, blankets, and pups in laps ready for night travel. I sit at my desk and call and write caregivers along the way. I follow the flight at 10 pm and then at 3am and 5. There is so much snow in Newark the airport closed so they stay in a kennel for two days. Then again a delay in Newark—agriculture. I call repeatedly. The pudgy one jumped out of the kennel and into my lap, a Newark caregiver says. Every single person I speak with is kind.
Judy, Tom and Jodie and Jodie’s son Liam who is six come to welcome the pups to Denver. While we wait other dogs are re-united with their caretakers. Then Tom says, They’re here! Chloe won’t move. Her legs buckle underneath her. Judy screws the top of the carrier off and Tom lifts Chloe up. Jake walks right out and drinks Chloe’s water as if he’s just walked around the block. I think of all the people who are also trying to come to this country. One little hitch could cause the whole project to deflate. Do they have access to their phones? Will people give them water and food during delays? Will families be separated?
At home Liam says he can see his reflection in Jake’s eyes.
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