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  • She was my friend.
    I had two that year in New Mexico.

    We drove a van of cats and dogs to be nuetered and spayed from Las Vegas, NM to Santa Fe twice a week for most of the summer. I could not find a job; I looked for a year.

    Diana and I bonded you see, we listened to one another... more or less. We understood each other's stories... more or less. Mostly though, we understood each other. We both had something in our past, extraordinary events, stories aching to be told. They were a part of us that others did not want to hear.

    She was a Dog Whisperer, I was an apprentice. The dogs understood a cage when they saw one. We were both trapped. I was trapped economically and she by her memories.

    Fate eventually reached out to me with a job back home in DC. My city embraced me, I was able to regain my sense of freedom. I thought of Diana sometimes, but mostly, she was just a part of me. I could feel her.

    Several years later, my other friend from New Mexico contacted me with the news that Diana had died. She had decided she would no longer be caged, and made her escape. I was very happy for her. She had managed to find her way out too. She was ok now; I understood. She was brave. I tried to be.

    I wonder if she was still working with the dogs at the time. Was she still whispering her stories to them? Were they still telling her theirs? They trusted her with their lives, they knew she understood.

    Photo: Madame Butterfly, Las Vegas, NM
    © 1997, Toni Jannelli

    p.s. Madame Butterfly was adopted soon after this photo was taken. I like stories with happy endings.
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