Word count: 485
By Beverly Jones
The young woman sat on the cold floor tiles of the centuries old cathedral with her back against the pockmarked stucco walls. She was sure she was called by God for something, but she couldn’t discern what that something could possibly be.
Listening in the silence for whispers and intimations of guidance, she heard a minute whimper. Peering around the corner she could see a tiny figure wiggling on the floor. She crawled over to it and discovered a puppy, not yet old enough to have its eyes open. She struggled to her feet cursing the soccer injury that left her with a permanent limp. She scooped the puppy up and held it against her shirt.
“¿De donde estas? Where did you come from?” she crooned in a soft voice.
She looked around the church the rest of her lunch hour, but could find no trace of another dog. Leigh Anne walked into the searing heat, heading back to her office.
She paused at the pet store. “Necesito leche por el perrito. I need milk for the puppy.”
The clerk handed her the small feeding bottle and milk, but shook his head at her question. No, he didn’t know of a mother dog who might adopt an orphan.
Leigh Anne wrapped the puppy in a towel and squirreled it away in her bottom desk drawer. She fed it every couple of hours, and because it couldn’t use the bathroom by itself, she would stroke it gently with a warm wet paper so it would think it was its mother’s tongue.
Each store she stopped on the way home in to buy meat, vegetables and fruit for dinner had the same reply.
“No conocerlo. I don’t know a dog that could help.”
She climbed onto the bus, juggling her bag and groceries, favoring her bad leg.
“I’m sorry sweetheart. Lo siento querido,” she crooned as she petted the puppy on the ride home.
Leigh Anne limped up the cobble stoned street to her apartment building. Mrs. Garcia’s flower pot on the stoop was overturned again by the fat yellow cat living next door. She straightened the pot, told the geraniums how beautiful they looked and walked into the atrium. Mrs. Garcia’s door was open. She was crying. She explained between sniffles that her dog had birthed puppies that morning but all had died. Her dog was grieving as was she.
Leigh Anne sat down her bag of groceries and lifted the puppy from her shoulder bag.
“¿Que piensas? What do you think?”
Leigh Anne set the puppy near the bereaved mother dog. The dog smelled the puppy all over and heaved a sigh as the puppy began to nurse.
She straightened up, shaking a cramp from her leg. She had her answer. If righting flower pots and rescuing puppies was what she was called to do, that was okay. It was her ministry of small moments.