One of the things I loved about Natucket was the overwhelming population of sweet pups we saw while we were there. We knew what we were in for when we were in line for the ferry and we saw a dear corgi resting her (?) chin on a collapsable wagon, waiting to go up the gangplank. I just have to hope that Violet never reads this post or she'll want to travel with us next time. Once on board we didn't see that corgi again, but we did meet Maple.
As Callum, Neel and I watched Hyannis grow distant, people came out on the deck to take a peek before heading back inside where it was warmer. Maple came out with her mama, nosing around at the crisp air. We were drawn to her, of course. Who wouldn't be? Callum and I immediately leaned in to pet her, but this sweet lady was a little too curious, and maybe a little too nervous for our attention.
She was nervous, her mama explained. She didn't know what to make of the boat and every time they went back inside, Maple barked. Then there was a Brittany who got a little pushy with her. So out again Maple came. Neel and I used to joke that when we walked our first-born pup Phoebe in the park, we knew the dog's names far better than their owner's names, but we made some great friends that way. By the end of our short trip, we knew that Miss Maple, so named because she was born in Vermont, was only 14 weeks old, and she did not like the boat. I also knew that I really liked Maple's mama. Liked her in that instinctive way that you just know that you like someone. Like, I knew that we'd be friends if we lived near each other or our kids went to the same school.
They looked so sweet snuggling, and you could tell that Maple was a little uncertain about the whole adventure, I couldn't help but snap a few pictures of them out on the deck together. But I'm pretty shy when you get right down to it, so I never really introduced myself or gave her one of my cards. When I got to Megan's and we downloaded the photos, boy did I regret my reticence.
"We'll run into them, I bet," Megan said. It is a small island, after all. So every time we went out, I tucked some SPL cards in my back pocket or my camera strap, and we watched out for Maple. We looked for her at the Cold Turkey Plunge. We looked for her at the Cisco Brewery. We looked for her every time we wandered around town.
No Maple. I'd pretty much given up, but you know what? This was Nantucket, and a little tiny part of me thought how cool would it be if we were on the same ferry heading home. Nantucket is covered in magical fairy dust, you know? Those kinds of things are bound to happen. So of course you know how it ends, don't you? We wandered into a toy shop on the wharf so that Callum could find a boat to take home, and there she was. No Maple, but her mama! Of course we were on the same ferry heading out, and of course I gave her my card. I was absolutely thrilled when she emailed me (I always doubt that people are really going to want to get in touch with me, for reals), and of course she was just as delightful as I suspected. Maple's mama's name is Liza, and we've been in touch through email and Facebook, and she tells me that Maple is an Australian Shepherd. I grew up with Aussies, so I had suspected as much. That morning, as we were leaving, we'd watched Maple quite literally dig her heels in on the gangplank and refuse to get on the boat, but she tuckered out as soon as we left the dock, and everybody made it safely home.
And it turns out that Liza is a children's book author. And she wrote this. How cool is that? You can imagine that we'll be giving this gem as gifts for years to come. I love it that she's a writer, and I love it even more that I made this wonderful connection so far away from home. I harbor a little day dream of meeting again and again on the ferry. I think it would be nice to watch Maple grow up.
And I wonder if we're going to have to take the other dogs someday too.