One evening about 20 months ago, my son, who is a young man and not quite flown the nest, came to me asking if he could get a dog. As we already had three cats living with us at the time and all belonging to my son, I said no. "But, Mom, I promise I will do everything," said my son to this most gullible of women. "You won't have to do a thing."
After much brow beating I relented and said yes. It didn't take more than 24 hours for my son to come home with Wilbur, a little Dachshund puppy with floppy ears, a silky coat, one blue eye and one brown. He was adorable. We made a home for him in the kitchen, and that was the beginning of a HUGE shock for me. There started to appear animal droppings everywhere in the kitchen. Heaven forbid Wilbur got upstairs to the bedrooms where he'd do his doggy best to mark his territory!
Now, to be fair, Wilbur has always been the sweetest of puppies. He is loving and good-natured. He's also one smart dog. Wilbur loves to play and go on walks. My son says he's a chick magnet. I can see that this might be so as all kinds of people stop to say hello to Wilbur.
I love Wilbur, I really do, but there is one big challenge with this little fellow. Wilbur is a chewer. He started with the pedestal of my Duncan Phyfe mahogany dining table, worked his way through part of the kitchen door and the frame of the backyard doors. He also chewed through the upholstery and down to the stuffing on the kitchen banquette.
He seemed to relish working away on my brand new Ecco shoe, but the cause of his fame and notoriety has been the work his did on my passport the night before I was to fly to Mexico for a holiday. When I realized that the passport I had been frantically looking for had fallen out of my back pocket and was now in Wilbur's paws I quickly grabbed it away. He had chewed it in the corners but, fortunately, the photo and all the print were fine. I didn't think there would be any problem and went to bed anticipating being in Mexico the following day. Wrong.
When I got the airport the next morning I was told by the Air Canada personnel that there was no way I was going to Mexico with my chewed passport. "Mexico will send you back," they said. I needed to get a new passport they advised. I was in shock.
It was possible to get a passport in one business day, expensive, but possible. I needed to go into downtown Toronto to the passport office. I checked my bags at the airport and attempted to rebook my flight for the next day. "There are no available seats on that flight," said the Air Canada employee behind the counter. I started to cry. "Let me just check with my boss," she said. She did that and, lo and behold, a seat became available.
I went back into the city in my snow boots and light spring jacket. It was well below freezing. When I got to the passport office I was told that, even though I had a passport, I would have to go through the whole application process again. "Oh, no!" I cried. Off I went on a marathon of having my picture taken, finding three people to sign and vouch for me and needing to get back to the passport office with all of that plus my birth certificate by 2:30 if it was to be processed that day. No birth certificate! I couldn't find it anywhere.
I returned to the passport office hoping what I had with me was good enough. No dice. I cried. A nice young man who worked there handed me a box of tissues, reassuring me that everything would be all right. "Go to the nearby Staples Business Depot and apply for a birth certificate online. We will accept that."
Off I sped only to find the only customer computer in Staples occupied. I waited and waited and finally begged the occupant to let me go on. "I'm busy," came the impatient reply.
I raced to another Staples store several blocks away. A kind young employee helped me through the whole application process and wouldn't charge me. She is a saint. Grasping my receipt in my hand, I hailed a cab and got back to the passport office just as my time was running out.
Everything after that ran smoothly and by 4:30 I had my new temporary passport in my hands. That day had cost me $400, and I was now several years older than I had been the day before. The next morning I went back to the airport and the start of a wonderful Mexican holiday, but not before saying good bye, with a hug and a kiss, to Wilbur, sweet, sweet Wilbur (alias Wilbur, the Devil Dog).
There are fifty stories in Heartbeats, True Personal Stories of Love which will soon be published as an Ebook and available on Amazon. In Heartbeats people share deeply personal stories that uplift and inspire. For me, love is the most important thing. It has been my privilege to gather these stories to share with you.