19. Memory

Cinnamon, our family’s pet for six years, was an adorable mix of terrier and who knows what else. She was a small, black, slick-haired sweetheart who loved to curl up on the sofa, but who, despite her wooziness, would always greet you with a slight wag of her tail and a kiss – if you wanted one. 

Cinnamon came to us as a special delivery in our mailbox. But it’s not what you think. She wasn’t a mail-order pet, but rather a puppy that deserved more love than she was getting, or at least that’s the story we heard. You see Cinnamon did quite literally come to us in our mailbox, but not by way of the U.S. Postal Service.  

As I remember the story, two young girls, sisters I believe, felt that their neighbors weren’t paying enough attention to their new little pet. In their eyes, she (the dog) wasn’t getting the love she deserved. And so while the neighbors were on vacation, they essentially kidnapped the dog and sought to find it a better home.  

Now this is where the story becomes sketchy. I’m not sure why these little girls decided to use the mailbox instead of maybe a cardboard box placed on the front door step. Nonetheless, it was to our home that they chose to deliver the unloved puppy. I think that we were probably the best choice because of the size of our mailbox. We had a big one, about the size of ten puppies.  

I remember the day that my sister, as was her ritual after school, went to retrieve the mail, only to be startled by what she saw when she opened the box. At first she must’ve thought that she was seeing things. I mean, how could a dog be in the mailbox? But it was a surprise-turned-delight when we brought this little puppy without a collar into our home and essentially made her our own.  

For several weeks, we enjoyed our little Cinnamon, until one day we got a call. The little girls who had rescued the dog from unloved circumstances had finally confessed their crime, and the family of the puppy was notified of its whereabouts. They called us in order to verify that we had her and to let us know that they were coming to pick her up.  

It was heartbreaking, I remember, to give her up. In that short time since we’d retrieved her from our mailbox, Cinnamon had become our perfect little pet – well tempered and loving. And I think she loved us, too. But then Cinnamon was gone from our lives just as suddenly as she had appeared.  The next few weeks were peppered with thoughts of that sweet little dog. But we were getting back to life without a pet, when out of the blue we received yet another call from the family who owned her. They told us that since the time their dog had been presumed lost they had acquired a rabbit and that they now felt having two animals was more than they could manage. They asked if we would like to have little Cinnamon back. We couldn’t believe it. Yes, yes, we would love to take her back. And for the next six years, we gave that sweet little “special delivery,” Cinnamon, all the love she deserved. I’ll never forget that dog.  

Day 19 Guide 

Look back to a time or an instance when something unusual happened, something that you didn’t expect. Enjoy life’s surprises.  

© 2006, Levi Hill

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