Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans. – John Lennon

Giving back to the community is an important part of Cisco culture, and Cisco encourages volunteerism. They make it pretty easy, too, by planning volunteer opportunities–such as the company-wide event, Day2Give–and allotting us a certain number of days off to work with local charities. Participating in big, company-sponsored activities isn’t the only way to get involved, though, we’re free to choose our own path. The spirit of giving is simply to help make things better than we found them.

So, on May 11, Cisco’s Day2Give, I picked up my friend and fellow technical writer, Anne Robotti, and off we went to the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina. (As technical writers working with the XS Experience team, we write excellent, customer-facing technical documentation to support the amazing demonstrations hosted on Cisco dCloud.)

A few blocks from the Food Bank, we saw a hungry puppy in the middle of the road.

When you say to your traveling companion, “We’re stopping for this puppy, right?” and the answer is, “Hell yes, we are!” you know you’re in good company. I pulled over and we got out of the car.

Gracie before
Gracie the puppy when we found her and took her to the vet.

Imagine this puppy: A starving, mangy creature too afraid to let us approach, but too weak to do a very good job escaping. This was not the first time I’ve found an abandoned dog on the side of the road, so I keep a leash and other useful dog-rescue items in my car. Anne and I caught the dog and got our first good look at her–which wasn’t good.

Covered in cuts, gouges, scabs, and blood, her skin told the story of weeks of neglect. Head-to-tail mange had left her almost completely bald. She was so malnourished, we could count every bone in her poor body. And yet, all it took was a little food and some soothing attention, and in moments we had a new best friend. Anne picked her up in a blanket and (SPOILER ALERT) fell immediately and hopelessly in love.

With an exhausted, stinky puppy in the back seat, we went to Grace Park Animal Hospital for help. Dr. Traficanti examined the puppy and said that this dog was in the worst shape of any dog she’d ever seen. The staff treated her immediately, pulling thorns out from between her toes, giving her food, medicine, and a much needed bath.

Gracie After
Gracie is all better now, and has a home with Anne.

We named our foundling Gracie to honor the compassion and generosity of the Grace Park staff and shared the story of her rescue and on-going recovery on social media using the hashtag #SaveGracie.

The feedback we’ve received has been heartwarming with everyone from our XS Engineering Director, Jason Angelus, asking “Can I bring her home to Zurich??” to complete strangers thanking us for saving this dog and asking how they can help. If you want to help, please spay and neuter your pets. For every puppy that finds a home, there are nine more that don’t. Gracie is one of the lucky ones.

Gracie now
The two of us with Gracie now!

More than a month has passed since Anne and I found Gracie. Her skin healed, her fur grew back. She looks nothing like her former self. She looks healthy. With excellent medical care, proper nutrition, and lots of love, Gracie got a second chance. She also got a new home at Anne’s house!

So Cisco’s Day2Give didn’t turn out quite the way we thought it would, but that’s OK. Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.



Do your future plans include working for a company that gives back? See openings at Cisco!


Laura Marsh

Technical Writer

Cisco dCloud