Martin, an older man in a Navy uniform, pulled his car up to the doors of the ER and ran inside with a cry of “Help! Help! I need help!”
The nurse behind the counter hurried up to him and asked, “What’s wrong, sir?”
“It’s my Lydia. She’s gone into labor! She’s going to give birth any minute! She needs a berth for her birth!”
The nurse gasped. “Of course, sir! We’ll get her taken care of right away!”
The nurse looked around and motioned a couple of orderlies over. They followed the old man outside to his car, with one orderly pushing a wheelchair ahead of him. Martin opened the car door and reached inside while the nurse and orderlies drew close to help move Lydia into the wheelchair.
The nurse and orderlies gasped when Martin turned to face them with not an expectant woman but a very pregnant Dachshund in his arms.
“Uh, sir,” said the nurse, her voice calm but somewhat uncertain, “that’s a dog, not a woman.”
“I know that! This is my Lydia, and she’s going to whelp her pups any minute!”
“But, this is a hospital. For humans. You need to go to a vet.”
“Don’t you think I know that? But I don’t have time. I’m from out of town, going to a reunion for some of my old mates from the Navy. Lydia went into premature labor; she wasn’t due for another week or so. I thought I had time, so I took her with me, as I always do. I stopped at the first vet office I found, but they’re closed. The nearest emergency vet is too far; she’ll not make it in time. Please! Can’t you do something?”
The nurse and orderlies looked from the old sailor to the dog and back. “Well…,” said the nurse, still unsure.
“Please! She’s all I have in this world. I can’t stand to lose her if something goes wrong. She’s never had pups before.”
The nurse and orderlies had a brief, whispered discussion, then gave a brief nod. The nurse turned back to the old man. “It’s not normal hospital policy, sir,” she told him, “but we can’t turn down a plea for help from a serviceman like yourself. And we’re not heartless enough to turn away from an animal in need. We’ll find a room and bed to make her comfortable, while Mike here,” she pointed to the orderly with the wheelchair, “contacts an animal rescue he knows that is nearby and that he believes can help Lydia.”
Martin sighed. “Thank you! That would be very much appreciated.”
“We’re happy to help, sir. And thank you, for your service, sir.”
Martin placed Lydia in the wheelchair, and the group wheeled her inside the hospital. The other people in the lobby stared at them, surprised to see the Dachshund being brought in, and watched as she was taken into a room while one of the orderlies made a call from the desk phone.
This post is part of the Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt, “birth/berth”: