One day Jean-Luc decided to go for a walk. He and Beverly had been on Earth for about six weeks now, he staying in their small apartment while she traveled to her job at Starfleet Medical most days. The former universe traveler was finding that time sometimes weighed heavily on his hands since he had retired. Some days he spent several hours walking or sitting in a nearby park, and others he spent catching up on his reading or playing the flute.
This particular day was warm and sunny, and the outdoors gently beckoned to him, so after Beverly had left for work, he locked the apartment and set out on foot, planning to be back at least by lunchtime.
He wasn't even sure where he wanted to go, but his feet seemed to have a mind of their own, and he eventually found himself outside the doors of the local animal shelter. Something seemed to urge him on, so he opened the door and went inside.
The cacophony of barking dogs automatically made him cringe, but, undeterred, he continued. Along both walls of the main room he saw dogs of almost every description, some excitedly throwing themselves against the wire mesh in front of their cage and barking frantically, some huddling nervously against the back of the cage. At one end of the larger room, Jean-Luc noticed a smaller room that was occupied by only several dogs.
"This is their final day here," a kennel worker explained to Jean-Luc. "If no one adopts them today, they will be put down tomorrow."
In the smaller room, Jean-Luc's eyes almost immediately met those of a very thin, but otherwise beautiful, golden retriever.
"This is Lady," the kennel worker told Jean-Luc. "So far, no one has wanted to adopt her because she has a tumor. Since she has such a sweet nature, I really hate the idea of putting her down, but we need the available space for dogs that stand a better chance of being adopted."
After one look into Lady's sad brown eyes, Jean-Luc knew that he couldn't just walk away and leave her there.
"Please, allow me to adopt her," Jean-Luc urged the kennel worker. "My wife is a doctor. I feel sure that she can help her."
When Beverly returned home that evening, Lady met her at the door, followed closely by Jean-Luc.
"This is Lady," Jean-Luc explained. "She was to be put down tomorrow, and I couldn't just leave her at the shelter."
"Aren't you adorable!" Beverly petted the dog's head, and Lady's bushy tail swooshed busily back and forth.
"She has a tumor," Jean-Luc told Beverly. "That's why she hasn't been adopted yet. I thought that perhaps you could help her."
"Well, I'll certainly do what I can."
After dinner, Jean-Luc and Beverly sat together on the sofa holding hands, while Lady lay contentedly at their feet. They both felt as if something that had been missing had finally been found, and now they were complete.