You can practise mindful compassion and good customer service any time and with any sentient beings as long as you actively choose to do so.
I was reminded of this truth earlier today, and then discovered Seth Godin’s pithy take on the whole deal in my in-box at lunch time when I began to write this post. Call it kismet, call it synchronicity, and never call me late for dinner.
Here’s how today’s everyday memoir went down.
This morning on our walk we came across two dogs strolling around the neighbourhood without a care, or any visible owner.
There was that nano-second of temptation to turn the corner and struggle up the hill to home and breakfast and copious cups of black tea at Veranda Life – so close and yet – and then the actual response, which was to call out to them and see if they went the other way, or came to us. They came to us as though we’d been mates forever, tails wagging, smiling – they’re both smiley dogs, you know the type – and our morning became another kind of Saturday entirely.
The dogs were two labrador retrievers, or close to it, a male and a female, older, calm, well-behaved and friendly, not barky or scratchy or rowdy. Let’s call them Sweetheart and Darling, two of my favourite diminutives for my cat, Dotty, also known as Dotteleh, O’Dot, Dotskoya, Dottelini, Dottois, Dottybaba, and any other nationality that springs to mind at any given moment. She is well travelled herself, this Dotty Donut, if only nominally, never mind the wayfaring dogs.
But let’s mind them for a moment, because the moment we made contact, Sweetheart and Darling became, in effect, our customers. They had a need and we could provide the service. So we brought them home and parked them on the patio where Dotty could observe proceedings and keep them in line.
We watered and fed them (Dotty’s lamb and vegetables casserole) and we registered them as found with the city council and the RSPCA. I snapped their photos, my partner phoned a dozen vet surgeries in the area, took them to the vet around the corner to scan them for micro chips (no luck), and then made up some Found posters with the photos and went for a long walk to staple them to handy power poles.
One of the vets we called offered to take them for a few days before the pound beckoned. We decided this was the best option given our lack of dog facilities and our desire to see them reunited with their owner and not with dog heaven. So we drove them to that vet, who both refused our offer of cash to pay for food and so on, and said she’d also look at the minor injuries on the male’s face and head and give them both the once over. You’ve got to love a loving vet.
We left our details and left for home, hopeful for Sweetheart and Darling.
Enter Seth Godin in my in-box and his post about Moo business cards with a variety of his aphorisms on the reverse side. The one that struck me, given our experience, was this:
Care. That, in just one word, seems to be the essence of good customer service.
I realised that that was what all of us had been doing all morning. It had been a mindful effort of community care, from our accidental meeting with Sweetheart and Darling, to notifying the RSPCA and the council, to the vet with his microchip wand, and the other generous vet willing to care for them for several days at her own expense.
And if Seth doesn’t mind, I’d like to slightly revise his little gem of wisdom to this:
Care. That, in just one word, seems to be the essence of good human service.
I think it’s Wayne Dyer who says, Don’t die with the music in you. Let’s not die with the care and compassion in us, all dressed up and nowhere to go.
Don’t turn the corner and leave – take a mindful nano-second to welcome the opportunity to help, however you can.
As Saint Mary Mackillop said, Never see a need without doing something about it. Mindful compassion: it’s a wonderful way to create our legacies as memoir detectives and strengthen our ties with one another.
Postscript: At 1.05 this afternoon, Brendan from the council phoned to tell us that Sweetheart and Darling’s owner had contacted them and explained they’d escaped during last night’s thunderstorm. We told Brendan where they were, and a little while ago we learned from the vet that their owner, Cathy, had picked them up and taken them home to their own comfy beds. So there you go.
Who says the days of Happily Ever After are over. Not me, grasshopper.