Today we welcome back Taylor Jenkins Reid. Her latest novel, Maybe In Another Life, just came out last week! In addition to writing books, Taylor has written essays, which have appeared in numerous media outlets, including The Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, Pop Sugar and Writer's Digest. Her debut novel, Forever, Interrupted , has been optioned with Dakota Johnson to star. She also co-wrote a web series for Hulu called Resident Advisors, which was produced by Elizabeth Banks. Taylor lives in Los Angeles with her husband and dog, Rabbit.
Visit Taylor at her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Taylor is here today to share a heartwarming story with us. Thanks to Atria Books, we have one signed copy of Maybe in Another Life for a lucky reader in the US or Canada!
What Would Owl Do?
I went to Chipotle yesterday and ordered a burrito. When they rung me up at the register, my lunch was $1.95 less than it should have been. They forgot to charge me for the guacamole.
I had a choice: stay silent and take the free guacamole, or be honest and pay the $1.95.
So I did what I always do when I am faced with a moral dilemma. I asked myself, “What would Owl do?”
Owl was a brown and white pit bull mix. She was barrel chested and jowly, with floppy ears and tiny, kind eyes. She was already ten when my husband and I adopted her.
Neither of us were intending to adopt a pit bull, but we became interested in the breed when we found a cute, little white pit online. We scheduled a time for his foster to bring him over to meet us. But when this little white pit showed up, he wasn’t alone. He had a friend.
She was old and had been through a lot. She had a split ear and a snaggletooth, the result of a tumor that had recently been removed from her face. Her tail and belly were missing fur from having spent so many days and nights lying on concrete. But she walked right over to us, turned on her back, and asked for a belly rub. When we gave her one, she licked our faces.
We adopted them both. We named the little one Rabbit since he was white with big ears, and we named the older one Owl, since she was brown and wise.
The more we learned about Owl, the more impressed we were with her endless capacity for love. If you had a face, she wanted to lick it. If you had hands, she wanted you to rub her belly. Owl wasn’t discerning. She just wanted to love you. No matter who you were.
Over time, Owl grew sicker and sicker. She was in and out of the vet, sometimes on a weekly basis. She had moles that needed to be removed, skin allergies that wouldn’t go away, mange problems, arthritis issues, and other chronic ailments. You’d think, because she was always going to vet, she’d hate the car. Or she’d hate the vet’s office. But she didn’t. She was happy to be wherever she was. The vet techs started calling her “Grandma” because she had such a nurturing old soul. And everyone at the vet cheered when they got to see Grandma.
I never knew how she did it -- how she could be tough enough to withstand what humans had done to her in the past without becoming wary of people or holding it against us, how she was full of unlimited generosity and affection despite the physical pain she lived with. But that’s just how she was. She took whatever the world threw at her and gave only love to the world.
It’s been almost two years since we lost her and I still find myself tearing up when I think about how hard it was to say goodbye. But instead of dwelling on the loss, I try to focus on who she was. I reflect on how much she taught me about resilience and kindness. And when I come across a situation where I don’t know what to do, no matter how big or how small, I ask myself, “What would Owl do?”
As I walked home, I found I had a hint of a spring in my step. I was proud of myself. Not necessarily for copping to the guacamole, but for being just a little bit more like Owl that day.
She may have been a dog. And she may be gone. But she is, always and forever, my hero.
Thanks to Taylor for sharing Owl with us and to Atria for sharing Taylor's book with our readers.
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US/Canada only. Giveaway ends July 20th at midnight EST.