My Hero, Dr. Patricia McConnell

When most people get up the gumption to contact their heroes, a feeling of nervousness and excitement washes over them.

There is a certain population where the universe bends all rules of probability and says this:

"Oh, that's really cute. Let's make this weird and awkward for all parties involved."

I am a part of that population.

Pretty good advice. It's served me well.

After attending a conference where Jessica Dolce of DINOS (Dogs In Need of Space) was presenting, I let her know that I loved her work and included her in the references of my book. We did a book swap. After she read mine, she suggested that I write to Dr. McConnell to let her know how much she affected my work and influenced the book. I was nervous, but whatever the gal who created DINOS says, I do.

So I ponied up the courage, contacted "her people" and in 3 minutes got a letter back from one of her assistants. "We'd love to get the book! Send it along!" She included an address.

Excitedly, I prepped the book. I thought about how to inscribe it. I sent it off.

A few weeks went by.

I received a certified letter that I had to pick up in person at the post office. I thought about all the times on Maury Povich that "the kid is yours" starts off with a certified letter...but then I remembered I'm a woman and would have remembered something like that. Then I thought I was being sued for something and totally panicked.

Turns out, a post office in Wisconsin sent me a letter. It stated that my book didn't qualify as "media mail" - which was strange because the post master at the post office told me to send it by "media mail." This includes "books" which my book actually is. They told me to cease and desist sending books as part of their book mailing program.

I was confused. I was also concerned that they didn't send my book along to Dr. McConnell.

When I called the post office and explained I sent a book, the post master on the other end of the line in Wisconsin went silent.

Then, she sighed and said the words I was a little worried to hear.

"Oh. Um...I think I know what happened."

Apparently, my book came out of the packaging between Wherever, USA and Wisconsin.

In the same shipment, a box of dentistry supplies ALSO came out of its packaging.

My envelope said "Dr. Patricia McConnell" - so naturally, the dentist supplies had to go to Dr. McConnell.

The book...is missing (later found out, because of a podcast my beloved listens to, that it is in Atlanta where all missing mail goes to stay lost.)

Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, my hero Patricia McConnell picks up a package of dentist supplies from M. McCue-McGrath with no other note. She, as anyone would, returned the package to the post office.

Some dentist, somewhere, is missing his...or her...supplies. They are in Wisconsin.

Once I found out what happened, I emailed Her People (tm). I was crestfallen, embarrassed (what on earth is she going to think?). Also, where is the book? Also, this poor dentist is missing important things!

Lisa, the Assistant Of The Year, (I'm giving her this award) laughed it off and said something about Dr. McConnell showing up with a box of dentist supplies and a quizzical look.

Two days later, I receive a letter.

Not by certified mail. Regular, won't make you crap-your-pants-in-fear mail.

In this envelope was a hand written note.

A hand written note from my hero, Dr. Patricia McConnell.

"Dear M.McCue-McGrath -

I received a box of dentist supplies from you.
I'm guessing that's not what you sent - unless you're giving me a not-so-subtle hint about my oral hygene.

If you sent a manuscript for me to read, please kindly send it again.
 - Patricia McConnell"

Yes, It's framed. This is totally normal.

I sent a new book. On the envelope I wrote:

"Includes ONE BOOK. No dentistry supplies."

The note will be framed because it's from my hero. I hope she likes the book, but right now, the universe is laughing, as am I. Well played, universe.


*Update: Dr. McConnell ended up getting her copy of the book and we had a lovely email back-and-forth about urban dogs after she read it. She ended up writing a piece on her blog about city dogs and rural dogs. Check it out HERE.*


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