When Pauline Wayne was just a young thing, barely past her first milking, she was struck with the realization that her job as a Presidential Pet would always be different from most of the others. Unlike the dogs and cats, the rabbits and the mice, the birds and the snakes – unlike the small animals, Pauline Wayne would never be able to step into the White House and serve their President directly.
It had been a heart breaking realization, and one that she needed help getting past. In fact, a very kind goat by the name of Old Whiskers had come and given her help with the issue.
Now, she finds herself faced with that problem once more. Only this time, it’s Apollo struggling to find his worth in their strange world.
Pauline Wayne says, “I want you to listen to me very closely. We might not get the same instant satisfaction as some of the other pets. We can’t curl up on laps and you – there’s no way you to go off and put on any shows these days. It just won’t happen. Can’t happen, even. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have a whole lot of purpose anyway.”
Apollo’s eyes are large and dark and hopelessly sad. He asks, “so what is my purpose?”
“To be yourself,” answers Pauline Wayne. “The President and his family picked you to be their pet for a reason, and the Room picked you to be a Presidential Pet for a reason, too.”
“I don’t know what reason, though!”
“Because you’re you,” says Pauline Wayne, simply. “That’s it. The Room has seen a spark in you, and knows you can do great things. And maybe you haven’t been given that chance yet, but it will come one day.”
And this is the important part.
All that time ago, it’s what made Pauline Wayne’s heart feel a little bit lighter.
She steps forward, so she can rest her muzzle against Apollo’s messy mane, and she tells the little horse, “or maybe it’s already happened, and you just didn’t realize it. Just because something you’ve done might not have seemed important to you, in that moment, doesn’t mean it wasn’t the single most important thing to someone else.”
Apollo lets out a breath so hard it makes his flanks shudder. “I don’t think that’s right.”
“I do,” says Pauline Wayne. “I think that everything is a different sort of important to different folks. You could have already had a shinin’ moment. That’s why they brought you here, you know?”
Apollo’s ears twitch. “I don’t know if I believe that.”
But there’s a tug at the back of Pauline Wayne’s mind, and she knows that the doggy door has been formed again. That means somewhere in his heart, Apollo does believe it.
“You will one day,” says Pauline Wayne, instead. “Now, I’ve got to get myself out of here, before the hands come out and find me. You just try and keep your head up, alright?”
Apollo says, “thank you, for coming and talking to me.”
And Pauline Wayne just moo‘s her goodbye.
Katelynn E Koontz – Author