A Normal Day
She shouldered through the throng of people. They were all bustling in the crowded street, all on their way to work – just as she was. Suddenly, her heel snagged on something and she almost fell. But when she turned to look at what she had tripped over, she saw a small white creature sitting there, staring at the manhole cover.
But it was only later that she would learn the tiny puppy’s heartbreaking story.
Kang lived in Shanghai, China. She had studied hard, and when she graduated from Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, her parents couldn’t have been prouder. She then went on to work for one of the world’s most prestigious banks – the Bank of Shanghai – working her way up through the ranks until she held an executive position. Even though she had made a success of herself, there was still something missing. She worked long hours and threw herself into her job, which, unfortunately, left no room for anyone else in her life.
She had no idea that fate had other plans for her.
A Life With No Meaning
She continued to get up early and walk to work, perform calculations on her computer for ten hours straight, and then she’d walk home and go to bed, ready for the cycle to begin again.
She was a model citizen and daughter, but she was beginning to feel as though she was living her life on autopilot… until the day that she was forced to re-evaluate everything.
The Same Faces
Day in and day out, Kang lived her life alone and every day was the same. Only, she had no idea that today would be different. She slipped on her heels and rushed out the door to walk the two blocks to her office building. The faces she saw on the street were the same faces she saw every day – cold and indifferent, getting on with their own business.
But not one person on the crowded street that day stopped to notice – or even cared — that a puppy needed help.
Kang walked at a brisk pace. Her heels clicked on the asphalt among the hundreds of other feet that walked the same route every morning. Suddenly, her heel caught something and she flailed for a terrifying second before managing to steady herself. Annoyed, she turned and looked behind her and saw the offending manhole cover that had almost made her trip and fall.
But then, she noticed the puppy.
The puppy was lying on the manhole cover, near a drain. She walked toward it and tried to shoo it off the street. It wasn’t safe for a puppy to be here. But the tiny white pup refused to move. She glanced at her watch and panicked when she realized that she had to get a move on. Kang had never been late for work before in her life, and she wasn’t about to start today.
So she left the puppy on the manhole cover and began to run.
She was crunching numbers and making presentations. She completed endless amounts of paperwork between bites of her takeaway lunch. When the day was over, she hadn’t thought about the puppy once. Worn out and with figures and charts swirling in her mind, she began the walk home.
But as she rounded the corner, she saw the puppy again.
Where Was His Owner?
The tiny puppy was sleeping in the same spot, on the manhole cover. Kang walked over and looked around – surely the puppy’s owner was nearby? Perhaps he belonged to one of the street vendors or shop owners. But everyone she asked knew nothing about him. And it was getting late.
She didn’t have time for this, she thought angrily. This wasn’t her problem.
But that night, Kang couldn’t get the tiny puppy out of her mind. She saw his pleading eyes and began to wonder what his story was. She tossed and turned, unable to sleep. What heartless person would leave a puppy on the street to fend for itself? Or if he belonged to someone, why wouldn’t the puppy move from the manhole cover and go home?
But the thought that kept her awake was: why hadn’t she helped?
Late For Work
Kang awoke in a flat panic. Her heart raced as she realized that she had slept through her alarm. She’d only managed to get a few hours of sleep, and now she knew that she was going to be late for work if she didn’t run. She considered taking her car, but that would be pointless in the morning Shanghai traffic. She threw her business suit on and sprinted out the door. As she ran, another worry popped into her head: would the puppy still be there?
She sprinted past the manhole cover and her heart dropped.
The puppy was still there. Hundreds of people continued to walk past him as he kept his vigil at the manhole cover. Kang resolved there and then that she would do something about it, but she had no time now.
Distracted and worried, she went through the motions at work until it was time to begin the walk home again. Only this time, she took a different route home.
Making A Stop
She stopped at the all-night supermarket and bought some rice, a whole roast chicken, and some dog kibble. Then, she made her way back to the puppy, sitting all alone on the manhole cover. She tried again to move him from the street, tempting him with the scent of roast chicken, but he refused. Kang left the food next to him, but he didn’t seem interested.
But at least she had tried, she thought to herself as she walked back home.
That night, her worries about the pup only intensified. She knew she had to do more for him – clearly, nobody else would. But what could she do? She lived in an apartment and didn’t have the time to take care of an animal. But she also didn’t want to take him to the pound. There was only one thing she could do.
She promised herself that if the puppy was still there in the morning, she would take him home. And then, she’d take it from there.
A Strange Turn Of Events
That morning Kang held her breath as she rounded the corner, hoping that the pup had been taken in by a Good Samaritan. When she saw him still sitting on the manhole cover, she felt a mixture of joy and disappointment. But she knew what she had to do. She scooped him up and took him home. She was his mom now. She called in sick that day to make sure that she could take care of the little pup.
But as soon as she turned to put the puppy on the floor and close the door, he took off running.
Kang raced after him, through the streets and throngs of people. She couldn’t lose him now! But where was he going? It didn’t take Kang long to realize that the tiny puppy was running back to the manhole cover! And that’s where she found him. She’d caused quite a commotion in the street, running at full tilt and yelling for the puppy to come back.
A passerby saw the puppy sitting in his spot and exclaimed: “you again!” Did the woman know him?
His Heartbreaking Story
Kang turned to the woman and asked her if she knew the puppy. Was he hers? Did she know the owner? But the woman’s response left her breathless. She began to tell Kang the puppy’s story, and why he wouldn’t leave that spot on the manhole cover in the street.
And then, the puppy’s strange behavior made perfect sense.
Just three days ago, there had been an accident in this very spot. Unfortunately, the puppy’s mother had been a victim of a hit-and-run in the middle of the night. The woman had witnessed it firsthand. The driver had felt the impact, but he kept on driving. The pup’s mother didn’t survive and she had been taken away by the sanitation department. There was another of the mother’s pups that was unaccounted for.
The tiny white pup had been left there alone and had refused to leave the spot where his mother had passed.
He Was Grieving
Kang knelt down by the puppy and stroked his white fur. She understood. He was grieving. Tears ran down her cheeks as she thought about all this poor creature had gone through. But then, the pup did something strange. He moved away from the manhole cover and walked over to the drain on the pavement. Kang followed him, and then she heard a small yelp.
She knelt down again to peer inside the drain and saw a little face looking back up at her.
This must be the puppy’s sibling! Obviously terrified, he had run into the drain to hide. Had the little pup been waiting for this moment to get help? Kang lay down and leaned inside as far as she could, stretching her arms out until her hands brushed wet fur. She pulled the tiny pup out of the sewer and inspected him. He seemed hungry and wet, but uninjured. Was the little white puppy protecting his brother this whole time?
She took both puppies home with her and bathed and fed them. Soon, they were running around her apartment, playing and yapping – happy to be together again.
A Forever Home
Kang kept both puppies. She got up before work to walk them, and she always made sure to take the same route – to the manhole cover. Every morning, she lets the two pups sniff that spot and has a moment of silence in honor of their mother. Soon, she began to see a positive change in her life, too.
Her adopted puppies brought her joy when she saw their wagging tails every evening. They gave her something to come home to. But she does have one regret: she should have helped them sooner.