A black man
who lives in my building got on the elevator a few weeks ago and said to me as he looked down on Lilly Belle Pi, whom I was holding on a leash, “that’s a valuable dog you have there”.
I thought how would he know.
As he was getting off the elevator I said, “no, no, she’s not valuable; she’s a rescue dog, she’s a rescue dog”, as I tried with words to show him, tell him, that she’s not valuable.
I knew the way he said it, that he was sizing her up – for sale.
Long before that, a black woman who lives in the building, whom I consider a friend, told me that she knew Lilly Belle Pi was “all God”. I acknowledged that, while she and I both agreed that nobody should ever know because, as she said, “somebody will try to steal her”.
Lilly Belle Pi loves black people. Maybe the people who abused her were black and she loves them anyway.
Lilly Belle Pi loves all people – of all races, ethnicities and genders – and all other animals too – and has brought joy into the lives of others, just by being who she is.
Many a night when a black man would leave the building with his angry face on and as we approached from the outside coming home after a late night final walk, that anger turned to a smile, then relief, as Lilly did her dance for him. Then I’d get a smile too. I knew that night (and any night thereafter) that the angry man would be okay.
I cannot begin to tell you the wrath I feel thinking that somebody would want to do the most horrific thing by separating her from the family who adopted her bringing her from darkness into light.
I share Lilly Belle Pi with the world. Lilly Belle shares herself. But at the end of the day she comes home to a secure, loving place. Everybody should be happy for that, and confident in knowing that they will see their Lilly Belle again. She knows who you are. She goes looking for you once the two of you have met.
You are not my friend Mr. black man on the elevator.
There is no price tag on my daughter.
P.S. The first dog Steve and I had as a couple, named Phoebe, was kidnapped during our first year of marriage from the home we house-sat in Florida, never to be seen again.
We kept her in an enclosed patio with a door that led to a fenced in yard per orders of the landlord, Ron Turcotte (a retired Canadian thoroughbred race horse jockey best known as the rider of Secretariat, winner of the U.S. Triple Crown in 1973), as a condition for house-sitting his home. Steve and I both worked at the track where his father was track physician, I worked as one of the nurses, and Steve worked in the mutuel department.
The pain of that loss never left us – till Lilly Belle came into our lives . Even though we had dogs most of our married life, and endured many painful good-byes (as all dog caretakers experience), with Lilly it was like we got Phoebe back.
I don’t think I need to say any more on this.
~ Sharon Lee Davies-Tight
© 2017 by Chef Sharon Davies-Tight, artist, author, animal-free chef, activist