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My wife, Cynthia, took our daughter to a friend's house for a playdate today and came home with a great story. Our daughter and the other little girl go to the same school, so they like to get together on the weekends to play dress-up and dolls and such. Anyway, my wife returns, laughing as she enters the house. "I have got to tell you this story," she says.
The parents of my daughter's friend had recently been away on vacation and had hired a young graduate student to dogsit in their absence. They had two dogs: both big, friendly, and getting older. One of them was not so well.
Sadly, during the vacation, one of the dogs died. The grad student called the homeowners and told them the news. That's okay, the mom said. We knew he was getting old, we're just sorry you had to be there. Could you take him to the vet and leave him there to be cremated? The grad student said she would.
Problem was, the grad student didn't have a car. And she didn't have anything big enough to use to carry the dog to the vet. She looked around the house and found a big old suitcase. That would have to do.
She packed the dog's body into the suitcase and lugged it to Metro. Now, this dog was big -- 80 to 100 pounds big. The grad student didn't weight much more herself. So she struggled with it all the way there; down the escalator and aboard the train.
When she got to her stop, she started carrying the suitcase toward the escalator. She labored with it, wondering how she would manage to get it up the stairs, when a man came up to her offering help. She gladly accepted. What a relief, she thought, not to have to carry it up by herself.
What you got in here? he asked.
Um, school stuff. Books, laptop, papers, she lied. What could she say? Oh, I have the stiff body of somebody else's dead dog! No, that wouldn't do. He bought it and helped her to the top of the escalator. Then, still holding the suitcase, he took off.
The grad student stood there, frozen. A stranger had just stolen a dead dog. Only he didn't know it. He thought he snagged a pricey laptop and expensive school books. She didn't know what to do. "Hey, that's not what you think it is! It's just a dead dog!" No, that wouldn't work.
After the shock wore off and the man had disappeared, she went back to the house and called the dog's owners to tell them what had happened. The poor grad student was apologetic, but the owners understood. Once the news settled in, they all just wished one thing: that they could have been there when the thief opened the bag.