It’s 4:30 on a dark Puerto Rican morning. The first light is just starting to break, and Jane and I are waiting for Edi Vasquez of All Sato rescue to pick us up. She has four puppies for us to bring into Boston.
We have spent six amazing days travelling around this little island, driving its highways, city streets, and small roads. We walked the beaches and sought escape from the hot August sun. We saw dogs walking with owners, proud and tall, and we saw other dogs: skinny and scrappy, hiding in the shadows, begging for food, hungry for, yet terrified, of human contact.
Jane, especially, has been a traveler all her life, seeing and weeping for street dogs in Greece, Rwanda, and Peru. When she first adopted one of these abandoned animals, she fully believed it was a way to give thanks for all she had been granted.
And now, this morning, as the sun peeks through the Puerto Rican night, we become conduits, passengers bringing dogs across the border. We are conductors on an underground railroad, legitimate coyotes for puppies, travelers on American Airlines carrying four 8 week old, 4-pound puppies to a new life.
They stop us at the airport. They tell us that one of the soft carrying cases is too big. Roberto, Edi’s amazing assistant, has to go back to the house and get a better case. I am tense with worry, but Edi stays calm. She nods and talks and wends her way through logistics and stewardesses and paperwork and dogs. I don’t know how she does it, but she makes it work. We walk through the gates, puppies in hand, and yes, even they have to be searched for hidden explosives. Damn, they’re adorable. They lick the cheeks of the security officer and she coos right back at them, squeezing their armpits, rubbing their bellies.
And then we are on a plane, puppies are at our feet. They squeak a little, but as we hurtle through space, as the engines hum, as the skies turn blue with another day, they curl up and fall asleep. Jane’s puppies find her feet tucked in under their case, and they put their chins on this warm, comforting pillow. We can almost hear them snore.
And then like magic, two women from Caribbean Connections meet us at Logan Airport in Boston to sweep these young puppies away. We say good byes to our new best friends and turn to get our luggage.
Over the last ten years, we have adopted dogs, donated money, and attended reunions. We have photographed and written stories and poems of their antics. But this moment, this brief time, suspended in the air with dogs, bringing them back for someone else – this act closes a circle that began 45 years ago when Jane started to travel, started to ache for these homeless dogs.
About the author
Marty Kingsbury is a poet, playwright and English instructor at Urban College of Boston. Her stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies in the U.S. and Canada and her plays produced throughout the world. A lifelong animal lover, she and her partner live in Cambridge, Mass. where they share their two rescue dogs. She recently published “Rescuing Oricito: The Almost True Story of a South American Street Dog” about one of her rescue animals.