CAN’T JUST SIT BY ANYMORE
With the search for Cinnamon reaching a dead end, Mark’s homecoming had an incredibly dark cloud over it. A cloud that cast a far-reaching shadow of sorrow. It wasn’t fair. He had served his country. He had stayed safe. He had done his job and was now returning home to those who loved him. Cinnamon was supposed to come home with him. She had been a puppy whose future would have been uncertain without him, whose existence in Afghanistan would have been just a step above a stray mongrel. She was supposed to start a new life.
Many people had grown to love Cinnamon. They had followed her story of life on base. They sent care packages for her. They emailed to find out how she was and what she was doing. They craved pictures of her, showing how she loved to play and how she had grown. For an orphaned puppy she was loved near and far.
As Mark prepared to head home, he carried heavy burdens with him. Would Cinnamon have been better off if Mark had never decided to adopt her and had left her back on base? At least then he would know where she was. Maybe she would have been safe there. Maybe the next troops in would have taken care of her. It wouldn’t be the American dream for her, but it might have been better than where she was now.
Mark’s email with the news of Cinnamon arrived Sunday morning. It took me hours to recover from what I read. I cried and cried. I was sick to my stomach. What’s going to happen to Cinnamon now? How can the story end here? How will Mark live with himself knowing that he’ll never find Cinnamon or know what has happened to her? My heart broke for him and for Cinnamon.
Our family had gotten through Mark’s time serving in Afghanistan. It just didn’t seem right that Mark was coming home with this burden bearing down on him. He deserved better. Cinnamon deserved better. The horrible person that caused this mess had to be found. He had to give us some answers. He had to tell us why.
Once I got my wits about me, my wheels started turning. I love Mark dearly and couldn’t stand that he was hurting. I also couldn’t bear the thought of what might have happened to Cinnamon. I wanted to help. I needed to help. I needed to do something to change the outcome of this situation. I was ready to do whatever I could think of.
Despite a great education, a good life and a fairly decent career, my life up until that point felt pretty meaningless. I had spent years in corporate America which had left me empty and uninspired. So I had quit my job and spent almost a year traveling, looking for my next opportunity. I’d then started numerous business ventures trying to find my niche, but nothing seemed to work out quite right. Given all that, I wasn’t quite sure what made me think I could find a lost dog 7,000 miles away when I couldn’t even find myself.