In so many ways it was business as usual. The difference, of course, the absence of Dr. Greg even as the needs of the community continued on. Days passed in a haze with a number of pets requiring attention. Some had appointments to be spayed or neutered. Accidents brought in several more and then there were the rescue pets, some of which required immediate and life-threatening if not life-altering attention. It was a pet program Dr. Greg had become involved with years ago and one she was happy to continue.
The clinic only started slowing down around mid-afternoon. Linda forwarded a call without explanation and when she answered, it was to find Mr. Harewood, a local attorney and friend of Dr. Greg’s on the line. To say she was surprised was an understatement since she hadn’t ever used his services and could only speculate on what he wanted. Mr. Harewood simply indicated it was important and personal and he was looking forward to meeting her and added Dr. Greg often spoke of her in glowing terms. They arranged for a meeting at 4:00 the following day.
Jenna arrived at Mr. Harewood’s office with a few minutes to spare and was sitting down when his office door opened. Mr. Harewood opened his door and smiled at the beautiful young woman with peaches and cream skin rich brown hair and whiskey coloured eyes. “Jenna, lovely to see you. Please come in,” he invited.
“I was more than a little surprised and curious about your phone call and I have been speculating on how it could possibly pertain to me.”
“I’m hoping you’ll be pleasantly surprised.” After a long pause, he handed her a set of papers and she began scanning the document. “Last will and testament of Dr. Greg.” At her stunned look he admonished, “Please, read the document in it’s entirety and I’ll answer any questions you might have when you’re finished. Would you care for a coffee?”
Lifting her head she replied, “Thank you, that would be lovely. I haven’t had an opportunity to stop and take a breath let alone eat or drink since early this morning.” Rising, he disappeared through his door into the main office.
The format of the document was as you’d expect a will might be written. She’d scanned halfway down the page by the time he’d returned with a tray on which he’d balanced two cups of coffee, cream and sugar and tasty looking homemade cookies. When she half rose to assist he remarked, “Don’t bother yourself, Jenna. I can manage. My wife supplied the cookies. She loves baking.” He set the tray on his desk and poured. “Please, help yourself, ” he invited.
She accepted the coffee adding cream and be, snagged a cookie and foe snagging one of the delicious-looking cookies and continued reading. She read the codicil stating he’d left his practice and home to her and all available assets to assist in keeping the clinic on track. The monetary assets were substantial alone. And when she totalled the price of the house, the business on top of the bank account she was looking at tidy three-quarters of a million dollars. She re-read the document and continued staring in amazement.
“I don’t know what to say. I never in a million years expected this! I was biding my time wondering what to do, who to contact regarding the clinic and was unsure about who to contact. In the back of my mind, I knew you were his lawyer, he’d mentioned it in passing a couple of times, but I really wasn’t sure what the protocol was.”
“As you can see, Dr. Greg has taken care to ensure everything is in order from beginning to end, there are no loopholes and there won’t be any relatives showing up to claim a part of his estate. Dr. Greg left a letter for you to read as well.” He handed a sealed envelope across and busied himself with fixing his own coffee and grabbed a cookie to munch on.
“Dearest Jenna. If your reading this, the inevitable has happened. Whether it’s earlier or later than expected doesn’t matter. You have been my right arm forever – if I’m honest since you were a little girl. Your interest and devotion to the animals in our care have been touching and delightful to watch and a constant inspiration not only to me but to everyone whose pets you were responsible for and for your ability to reach and inculcate in many a young mind, the desire to become a vet. Having witnessed first hand, your diligence, your ability, your incredible aptitude for learning, I want to take this opportunity to thank you. You’ve been invaluable in your assistance to an old man who couldn’t burn the candle at both ends adequately any longer and I wanted to express my appreciation for your ready willingness at accepting and handling some of the more difficult cases and always managing with grace and aplomb.
It is my privilege and honour to return the favour. Know that there isn’t another person on this earth I would rather leave my estate to. I can only hope you’re as happy about the result as I am in offering you what you will need to continue on over the next few years. Should you wish to sell instead of keeping the clinic, that’s a choice that Mr. Harewood will assist you with.
Should you desire to keep the house make whatever changes you find necessary in order to feel comfortable. Make it your own, make it home, Jenna. It was never meant to become a mausoleum, it was meant to be lived in and enjoyed.
I shall look in on you from time to time if it’s possible and you can rest assured it will be with pleasure and joy.
You may already be aware that Marty is a valuable asset and I’ve assisted him in obtaining the schooling required to continue in this field. Should he pass with flying colours, I’m hoping you’ll consider employing him in the future.
I’ve left funds to be used at his discretion in that pursuit and similar sums for Jennifer and Linda as well. They have proven capable and a real asset to me personally and to the clinic.
Should the need arise, please feel free to contact Mr. Harewood, whom I have asked to assist you. Please accept this gift in the spirit in which it is intended. You are the daughter I never had and I’ve come to love you as such. You deserve this and more, Jenna. Run with it, enjoy it.
Your friend, Benjamin Greg.