Hope enters

Not so long ago, in a place that often feels like a galaxy far far away, a little girl appeared at our door.

Emily was sweeping and then carrying the dust mop outside to beat and sweep again into a dustbin. Out of the corner of her eye she saw a quick blur. Hearing her startled reaction, I came to the door. There was Emily bent over a tiny little dog.

The small dog was a reddish-brown poodle, with large intelligent eyes. Hope was so small and underfed that she looked like a puppy. She looked like a puppy that hadn’t been cared for, not for a long time.

We put out a bowl of water for her and started quizzing some of the building’s workers and passing residents. They replied with variations on a theme, “Just ignore her. It’s not your problem.” Their shrugs were almost audible.

Wyatt and Emily showered the little girl, and the name Hope was chosen. After her shower, I toweled Hope off and held her while Emily used a blow dryer and comb. The messy little pup was now clean and fresh. Hope was almost immediately at home.

That afternoon and that evening we watched her closely.

The next morning Wyatt, Emily and I went to Walmart. We bought a chair cushion that became Hope’s bed, and some dog biscuits and chicken sausages. I ordered some dry dog food online. We were worried about the effect of heavy meat on her shrunken stomach. That night Hope slept in with Wyatt. The next few nights her seat cushion bed and towel/blanket were placed beside our bed, on Emily’s side.

Emily gave Hope a haircut and combed out her hair.

Between meals, walks, belly rubs, and the occasional mess, we grew very attached to Hope.

We knew we had to find her a home. We must return to Indonesia each summer, so I can renew my permanent residence. As with last summer, we were home for two months. This summer it will be for a minimum of six weeks. We can’t depend on people we barely know to shoulder the responsibility.

We started to canvas the neighbourhood for Hope’s previous owners. We weren’t optimistic, but we were hoping that this lovable, intelligent fur baby might have a family that was missing her. We found no one. Then we put a notice up in our school’s online groups. Someone close to the school wanted a dog. We asked our Chinese co-workers about this woman’s character. Emily went to meet her to judge for herself.

On Friday morning I took Hope for her walk, brought her back to the apartment, rubbed her belly, and left for school with Wyatt. That would be the last time we saw her. While I was at school, Emily cut and shaped Hope’s hair and gave her another bath. Hope would meet her new family fresh and happy.

Yesterday we said goodbye to Hope.

Hope is the name we chose for a little poodle that wandered literally into our home, and into our life.

Emily met the woman and they discussed Hope’s situation and agreed that Hope would have a new family.

This is not an easy decision, and I keep asking myself if there’s another choice. I know there’s not.

Hope’s new family sent two photos of a very happy fur baby enjoying her new home.

Dear Hope

We will miss you, and we were so happy to share a few short days with you. So long, and good luck. Have a safe and happy life.

Regards, your family

Author: duplezwrites

I have been in Asia since early 1996, and have taught in local schools, universities and language schools in South Korea, Indonesia, Thailand, and China. I was a director of studies at language schools in China and a secondary school administrator in Indonesia. Along the way, I've been a teacher-trainer in Korea, China, Thailand, and Indonesia. More importantly, and I hope more efficiently, I've been a husband, father, and grandfather.

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