For months, I’d been carrying around a seed of worry in my belly. I had a dog that needed a home but no one wanted her. I’d picked Miel up off a busy Mexico City street. She wore a collar and was dragging half a leash. Both looked new. I spent hours tacking up flyers, checking the internet and driving around looking for signs Miel’s owners might have put up. But I finally realized no one was looking for her. She’d become just another one of Mexico City’s suffering street dogs.
Miel was smart and singular and incredibly sad. I don’t know what she’d been through but she emanated sadness. She stayed close to me, often gazing up with her striking orange eyes. She didn’t need a leash. She walked by my side as if we’d been together for years. But we hadn’t and I couldn’t keep her. My house is full. We already have a street dog from Mexico, as well as a stray from New Mexico and South Africa. Plus a few cats thrown into the mix. I’d promised my husband, no more dogs. And so I sent Miel to a kennel while I searched for a new home. I posted ads on the internet, put up photos, contacted everyone I knew. Nothing. No one wanted this dog, no one even wanted to meet her. She just wasn’t extraordinary enough. It’s true, Miel was just a dog. She wasn’t strikingly gorgeous, she didn’t have expensive blood lines, she was average sized. In four months I received exactly ZERO inquiries about her. The kennel was expensive. I’d lost my job. I was despairing. And then, during an early spring trip to Denver, I had the idea to post Miel on Craigslist. People in Mexico might not want her but maybe someone in Denver would.
That’s how I met Sarah. She and her sister sent me a note, saying something about Miel struck a chord. They believed she might be the dog for them. Sarah and I talked for a long time. Sarah was only in her twenties but she’d been through a lot. She was a self-professed punker with piercings. I loved that about her. She said that Miel’s sadness sounded like her own. I told her adopting a dog, unseen, was an act of faith. I asked her to think about it. She called back about an hour later. She and her sister had said a little prayer. She told me, “We’re in”. And so I brought Miel to Denver. It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t cheap. A neighbor asked me if I was crazy, “It’s just a dog,” she said. And she was right, it was just one dog. But it’s one I can help. I can’t help them all. But a few, I can.
At the Denver International Airport, in customs, there are no carts for dog kennels. So I had to push Miel along in her kennel through the long inspection line. It took about an hour. Then I shoved the kennel through the big double customs exit doors. As promised, Sarah was there. Her smile radiating joy.
I told Sarah, before parting, that if Miel wasn’t working out for her, I’d do whatever I could to help. She looked at me and said, “Don’t worry, she’s my responsibility now. And she will be loved.”
Miel was home.
Sarah wrote me a few days ago. She told me Miel was great. She’d taken her to the mountains for the first time and said Miel was pure happiness, running free.
In the midst of all the suffering in this huge, polluted city of bone-thin dogs, I’m going to hold that image, of Miel in the mountains, in the front of my mind.