When I bumped into an old friend while taking a ferry from Townsville, Australia, to Magnetic Island ("Maggie," as the locals
call it), it was a wonderful surprise. Dr. Caroline Mann was my supervising veterinarian at an animal hospital in Australia
nearly 10 years ago.
We spent the windy ride catching up. Dr. Caroline was still enjoying island life on Maggie and working as a veterinarian on
the mainland. She'd also started a free veterinary clinic for the pets of the Aboriginal residents on nearby Palm Island.
I was honored when Dr. Caroline invited me to stay at her island house for the weekend. As we drove in Dr. Caroline's Volkswagen
bus, Dr. Caroline avoided running over startled wallabies jumping across the winding road. We joked that at least if she hit
one, she'd probably be able to fix it.
I was greeted by yet another surprise when I made my way onto the enclosed patio at the front of Dr. Caroline's house. He
was just standing there, as handsome as he ever was. Moo Cow, the black-and-white Staffordshire bull terrier, was one of the
first "Staffys" I'd ever met when I first moved to Townsville, and he made me fall deeply in love with the breed. Moo Cow
wiggled his way over to me for a scratch, and I marveled that this was the same dog I had played fetch on the beach with 10
An unexpected offer
A few days later I was back in Townsville staying with friends when Dr. Caroline called to ask, "How would you like to work
with me tomorrow?"
I immediately said yes. I was so excited, I almost didn't hear Dr. Caroline say, "I can't pay you but I can get you a free
airline ticket to work, if that's alright with you."
Did she say airline ticket? Dr. Caroline explained that we would spend the day on Palm Island and return on the last flight
leaving the island at 3 p.m. As payment for my help, Dr. Caroline would bring her famous vegetarian lasagna for us to share
for lunch. A free airline ticket to a tropical island, an unplanned adventure and the veterinarian brings me lunch? How could