Meet Star. I only know her name because I read it on a tag attached to her collar. When we were on our family vacation in Maine this summer, we took the ferry to Monhegan Island for one night. Monhegan Island is 12 miles out to sea. The ferry ride is beautiful–we saw the sea, dolphins, and seals. Sea gulls swooped around, and once we left the harbor, small islands, covered in guano, dotted the horizon. It was also monotonous and somewhat rolling–the low point was when my three-year-old son got sea sick and vomited all over himself and me.
But Star slips onto the ferry of her own accord, rides it the 12 miles out to sea with the tourists, and then rides it back with other tourists returning. She comes without her family, walks the gangplank with a pleasant certainty that results in no one ever turning her away, apparently making her way back to her family home at night. On the ferry, she moseys from group to group, accepting a pat on the head and scraps of coffee cake and donut. She is chubby with the success of her self-appointed role of ferry dog. She has done something the motivational books tell us we should all do–having glimpsed opportunity, she created a space for herself within it, filling a void that no one else had realized was there until her presence made it obvious.