|Today was fucking surreal.
||[Mar. 23rd, 2009|09:35 pm]
There is a charitable foundation in NYC, Earth Angels, a non-profit strictly no-kill shelter which was founded, and still run, by a 71 year old woman. (Who, I swear, doesn't look a day over forty.) It's been in the papers a few times.|
Anyways, they've been in the neighborhood for years, in the spring and summer she sets up outside on the sidewalks of Union Square collecting donations, accepting dropped off animals, and trying to get the dogs adopted or fostered. When it's cold out she is inside the Pet Co. there doing the same thing. She is a devoted and passionate woman who has raised two upstanding sons, one of which is adopted
I pass her by often, usually stopping to make conversation at the very least, and sometimes dropping off a donation as well. (I do that with all animal shelter displays, if they like me I get to pet the animals and maybe take them for a short walk.)
I've minded her table a few times for her while she runs to the bathroom or for some food, walked the dogs so she doesn't have to get up, etc.
In short, she knows me.
Last night I was buying cat food at Pet Co. before they closed up shop, she was there also closing up for the day outside. That day she got four drop offs--animals people brought for her to take in.
While she was cleaning up I took a little poodle, gray and white un-neutered male, out for a short walk while they cleaned up because he was crying and upsetting another dog. (The other dog had the look of a pit-bull, and would have been put down in other shelters because he guards his food.)
I brought him back, noting that though he lifted his leg often (and he half circled the trash cans while doing it) urine rarely came out. I was told he has a urinary tract infection and he just finished his antibiotics and was getting his surgery tomorrow. I was further told he was a drop off that came in today, and she couldn't fit them all into the car, she had four drop offs, the cages, the supplies... The woman, she...
I don't know how it happened. Somehow I got roped into fostering the dog for the night. I dug out my ID card that I rarely ever have on me, and filled out the papers and signed it all while she was praising god that I came and said I was sent by him, etc. We set up the pick up time, she gave me food for him and I was off on my bamboozled way.
I took the dog, Donny, home--slowly because he tried to pee on anything sticking out of the ground on the way over. I called my grandma telling her what I did; and ended up making a toy and a blanket for him out of a pair of children's pants in my grandma's scrap pile. While I had a migraine. I don't know what came over me.
Today I got up 4 and a half hours early so I could turn over the dog. I waited for an hour and she didn't show, making calls to her cell only to be informed her mailbox was full. I left a note in the building door with the business phone number on it so she could call me, held in place by the deadbolt. (Somehow my grandma didn't see the white piece of paper there and ripped it in half while coming in. There was enough scrap so I could set it up again.)
I went upstairs with the phone, waiting for her call, some hours later it comes and so I come down and let her in. Her phone was dead and she had spent a significant portion of time on the sidewalk begging people to let her use their cell phone, even willing to pay for it, but no one did until this one lady.
I let her in, she's carrying this largeish pekineses dog because he had started bleeding last night and just had surgery and so...Anyways, I let her charge her phone and am treated to her story as my grandma comes in from outside.
Her van had broken down last night. Aamco refused to take her in because she had so many dogs, and she couldn't leave them, there. So she slept in her van with the shivering dogs, not even getting out to eat because she was afraid someone would come for them. She got off a few phone calls before her battery died and, her boys were worried sick about her--apparently it was all over the police networks too.
Anyways, she walked to me this morning while some police officers were fixing her car and her boys were bitching out Aamco (she told them to be polite, I doubt they listened). Aamco made a note in her file to accept her in dogs and all next time.
She started to work, going through the messages, getting backup, telling people she was okay, so I went and helped my grandma.
Turns out this woman hadn't eaten since 5 o'clock yesterday, I insisted on treating her to an omnimeal at the family restaurant. (BBQ, 8th Street between 5th and 6th Avenue, north side of the street.) I get her order and call ahead to grandma so it will be ready when we get there.
Homemade coleslaw, and sweet potato pie, chicken soup, cornbread, and a whole rack of ribs (which we split) and saved the bones for the dogs.
Donny (originally Don, but he's tiny and only a year and a half old. I call him Quixote because his face and coloring looks like when Cervantes puts on the beard and eyebrows to play Quixote in the play), was apparently abused. The family that had him were apparently not allowed to have animals in the building, so they hid him, not even taking him out for walks--by keeping him locked in a closet for 4 months.
He was sheered last night, the woman begging Pet Co to do it before they closed up because his fur was so matted he couldn't even turn his head.
Anyways, we finish our meal, she goes to get her van and I head to Pet Co. with Donny. I help them set up there, etc. While I was looking for the woman to help her unload some stuff--well her assistant doesn't give good direction. (Yes, direction, turn right--never minding the exit is literally on a bloody corner.) So I wander and get the correct directions (I knew she was parked in front of a certain store) and head back.
I see a small gray, nylon shoulder bag (like a small duffel bag) in the middle of the street. I blink, bewildered, and run out and rescue the damn thing before it's run over. There's plastic bags packed ontop in the main pocket and I cautiously pick through it to find out if I need to call the bomb-squad or not (there are tons of "If you see something, say something" ads all over the city), and I find a wallet.
Now I'm in the restaurant business by association. If someone leaves their cellphone, you open it up, get a likely number from the contacts, and call to tell them that the person who's phone this is left it here. The same thing can apply to wallets, driver licenses have your home address on them; if your stuff doesn't get lost an honest and nonlazy restaurant can return it to you.
So I start picking through the wallet. I see money, and I say, quietly, "Why do I have to be tempted?" I find a prescription, an appointment book, an American express gold business card, and a platinum one before I find the ID. Seeing that the person lived near by I packed everything up but the ID and go looking for the address.
As I stand outside the door looking at the buttons to see who I'm supposed to buzz someone comes up behind me, guiding their bike. Lo and behold it's the person who's ID I have in my hands.
Apparently this person rides with their 'purse' on the back of their bike, has done so for years, but she was so tired and stressed out she forgot to secure it today. The person had gotten to the bank and found their bag missing, so the person turned around to look for it, "And here you are," she said, sounding like she was marveling.
There is small talk, during which I rescue her fallen glove. She insists on rewarding me and gave me all the money in her purse.
I shit you not. I did 3 good deeds and was fucking rewarded for it, right out of a fairytale.
(It was mostly singles, but when you do restaurant business those are a life line. I counted it later, 33 dollars, so I donated some to Earth Angels and headed to the restaurant to help grandma.)