When HCF Rescue Farm owner, N, heard we would be traveling north, she asked how far North we would be going, and could we be the first leg of the Doggy Express carrying doomed puppies north where another rescue is more certain to find homes for them? She cc'ed the other rescue, who was beside herself with delight that they might be able to save the puppies. If we could get the pups to her, she could find them forever homes.
So far on the list of things I had to fit in my van for the trip were:
3 kayaks, one kitchen table, 2 kitchen chairs, a dresser, a bookshelf, a cabinet, a computer desk and hutch, a large kitchen garbage can, a sleeping bag, 3 paddles, 3 life jackets, and our suitcase.
"How big are the puppies?"
"Small- we can squish them into a small crate. And also if you can take Pickles, he has a better shot of finding a home up north."
I went to their website to remind myself which of their dogs was Pickles, all of which I have met but can never remember the names of all but a few. Pickles is a bassett hound, young, friendly, housebroken, loves people. His ears scrape the floor.
"I'm not sure I can fit Pickles...." I wrote back, "Maybe a small crate of pups though."
"That's ok, Pickles is not under an immediate death threat. If the pups don't go, they die."
I knew that meant she had found them on a euthanasia list and they had hours to live unless claimed immediately.
I glanced again at the photo of Pickles.
"Lemme see what I can do," I wrote back, "Measure Pickles."
So even though we don't leave for a week with this load of furniture for Matt's new apartment, I decided I needed to find out if there was any possible way to load that list of heavy large furniture and leave room for a crate of pups and Pickles.
It became a very intellectual exercise in spatial relationships and physics. I discovered immediately that steel doesn't bend, at least not easily. First, I knew that the kayaks had to somehow go on top of the van. As Asherel was still sleeping and so could not be immediately roped into this project, I dragged one kayak out all by myself, hoisted it up on the van alone, and then managed to wrangle it to a sideways position against our kayak stop on the roof rack. I strapped it down and wriggled my sore wrists. One item down.... twenty to go. Next I collected the assortment of heavy furniture in a pile. There was 1,000 square feet of furniture that had to go in 100 square foot van. This meant I had to outsmart wood by a 10 to one ratio. By now Asherel was awake, so I had her take the legs off the kitchen table. She helped me wrestle the two heaviest pieces to the van. We loaded them in the back of it, and stared glumly. The van was full. Not only was there no way Pickles would fit, but the pups would not either....in fact, neither would 80% of all the things I needed to bring.
Asherel waved goodbye to go do her dogwalk job while I contemplated this unsolvable dilemma.
When the going gets tough, the tough pray. Then I noticed that if I turned the desk upside down, I could pile things inside it. With extreme contortion and grunting and groaning I got both chairs in that small space, with some room for other stuff. I measured the three largest pieces, and measured the van's width. I had 1/8th inch to spare! So I heaved and turned and trialed and errored my way into stuffing the three largest pieces in the back right behind the middle seats. For Pickles and the pups to fit, I had to leave those middle seats open. The desk upside down went in next, and then the inflatable kayak and garbage can inside it with the kitchen chairs. Only one large piece left. I measured it. It would fit exactly to the exact millimeter. I didn't know if the hatch would close but I hoisted the last huge piece in, laid the dissembled kitchen table on top of the wooden puzzle of furniture parts all perfectly interlocked into every molecule of space, and carefully shut the hatch. It clicked close to the applause of Heaven.
Asherel returned and helped me hoist the last kayak up top, and I can't say we did it with the exact perfect amount of sweetness and joy, but we did it. The middle seats remained open. Pickles and the pups were saved.
It is a little thing in the grand scheme of all the suffering and horror in this world to be able to take a few little pups and a dog whose ears scrape the floor to a new lease on life. It amazes me sometimes how if we all did just a few little things, they might add up to a big thing. There is so much I can't do. It feels so good to do the little I can...and how blessed I am to have Someone who does Big things rooting for me.