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Story Archives

Hope Story

Sarah DiLeo

Last year, I began volunteering at the dog rescue shelter near my home. The backstories of the dogs read like a Debbie Downer routine—elderly, blind, diabetic, etc. But I felt sustained by the very existence of this place—the relentless optimism and abiding hope that I saw in the people who keep it going.

A few months in, I fell for a sassy 12-year-old pug named Midge (picture the personality of Susie Essman, curly-haired opinionated voice of reason on Curb Your Enthusiasm, with the stage presence of Tina Turner), and decided to adopt her. Sharing this news, I was met with a variety of incredulous reactions, from my wife’s genuine concern for my well-being, to a stranger at a holiday party who gasped, “But she’s just going to die!”

Mostly, people asked why? Why would you knowingly enter into an emotional attachment that’s likely to end in sadness so soon? It’s a divisive question, one that forces us to consider the value of love and hope. To me, it’s worth it. As renowned pug enthusiast W.B. Yeats said, “Man is in love, and loves what vanishes; what more is there to say?”

When has hope paid off for you?