“I have a dilemma,” I sighed. I looked across the floor and noticed their eyes, both focused and wondering. Some focused on what words will come next and others likely wondering the meaning of the word, dilemma.
“My neighborhood has this social media site,” I continued, “and I came across a message…” All eyes zeroed into a deep stare, waiting to hear my next words. “The title of the message said, Hospice Patient Needs Home For Her Dog.” I closed my mouth, took a purposeful deep breath through my nose, and paused. “I probably should not have read it... I don’t need another dog,” I explained in a most unconvincing tone.
“What does Hospice mean?” announced a single voice. “Has anyone heard the word Hospice before?” I asked, as blank stares draped across each face. I began to work carefully to find my words. “When someone is very sick… and… they… “ I paused with that last word, giving myself time to search for more gentle words. “They’re gonna die?” a voice bursts out.
Firmly, but carefully I continue, “When someone is very sick and they don’t have much time left to live, they are cared for by people from a place called, Hospice. So this person who does not have much time to live has a dog. She is worried that when she is no longer living, her dog will be left alone without a home."
“Did you take the dog home?” “What if no one takes it?” “What if the owner died?” "Do you have the dog yet?" The questions poured out from all sides of our tiny read aloud area. “You’re going to take it, right?” a student asks. Her tone filled with the saddened disbelief that I hadn’t already volunteered to foster this small wirehaired terrier mix.
“I decided to wait. I’ll check again tomorrow.” I responded. With those words, the conversation was put on hold. We went on with our day, our afternoon, and then we all went home. The next morning, as we settled for our read aloud once again, a student calls out, “Did you check to see if somebody took the dog?” “Yes, I did.” I say with relief.
“Last night, I searched and searched for the posting. It took me a while, but I found it.” Again, I captured their attention. “When I found the message, I discovered a long waiting list of people waiting to care for that little dog, Teddy. His name is Teddy.”
And just like that, the dilemma that came to surround us all a few days ago was gone.
There are good people in our world. I didn’t need to tell them. They knew.