Then it was time to go

On Sunday, we said our final goodbyes, made a day of it. Then we did our final packing.

The cargo manifest: four 70 lb bags, five 50 lb bags, two carry ons, two backpacks, one large, airline-approved dog kennel, one airline-approved 65 lb dog, two eager travelers.

Then Dahlia and I went to bed early.

It was still light out. I watched it grow dark. I listened to the crickets, to Dahlia’s gentle, rhythmic breathing, to a neighbor coming home late. The air cooled. A gentle breeze ebbed and flowed through an open window, leaves rustled on swaying branches.

I patted the Dog of Destiny curled up between us, felt her warmth, scratched behind her ears, whispered to her, “Don’t worry girl. It will all be okay.”

The words were for me.

I felt guilty—about confining her to a kennel, about entrusting her care to strangers, about her long flight over the Pacific, about her quarantine upon arrival in Taipei, about everything we were about to put her through.

“She’ll think we abandoned her,” I had said.

“She would choose to be with us—you specifically,” Dahlia had replied.

I didn’t sleep that night. Dawn came slowly.

Then it was time to go.

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