April 27, 2012
Mum was at work and Daddy was getting dressed to go out so he let me out the deck door and I ran outside into the cool spring air. We had been napping most of the day in our cozy, warm huddle on the TV room bed. Mum has lots of pillows and soft blankets in there and Daddy is one of the best blankets there are – he rumbles and vibrates like a dirge and I drift away.
The cool, brisk air hit me full in the face as I bounded off the steps; which way to do today -- down to the pond that sparkled like a sapphire in the emerald setting of the lawn around it or to the fence line that held endless fascination with the cars and trucks thundering by not to mention the stream of people walking to and from the gas station to the apartments down the road.
What Mum and Daddy didn’t know was that someone or something was dropping bones and eggs and other goodies into the yard in the farthest corner beneath the old rotting cottonwood tree.
Mum knew about the tree. She scolded my constantly, like a chant, to stay away from its fallen down appendages – that they weren’t stable, she said, and could shift and trap or even hurt me beneath them. I wasn’t worried – I didn’t really know what she meant about the trapping though I thought the hurting thing might be like a spanking. I survived spankings daily so it didn’t dissuade me from exploring the bugs and other things buried in the fall leaf carpet beneath it. I loved the wet in the leaves (but not on my head) and the smell of them mingled with mud and new weeds and the smell of the wet wood stayed with me for hours reminding me of the branches I loved to chew into toothpicks both outside and inside the house.
Without Lily to watch I had to push forward myself and find my own adventures so I had discovered the back of the garden along the oldest part of the fence that divided us from the people and houses behind us. Now that the snow was gone I could hear first, and then see the little ones playing in their brightly colored little buildings and boxes close to the back door of their house. I loved the sound of their high-pitched voices laughing and shrieking almost like a song in their joy and abandon.
I decided to see if I could get to them – it must be so much fun (like my cousin Breanna) so I nosed along the old fence line to the other corner from the old cottonwood. Here, the fence changed into a light, almost flexible wire that was bent and looking not at all like a fence. I looked down toward the garage and saw the old cedar gate. Mum must have suspected it because she had put a heavy metal shepherd’s hook across it wound into the fence around it.
Even though this corner didn’t look much like a fence anymore I pushed my nose against it with all my might and it gave way, a little, so that it kind of shook. Well, I thought I’ll give it a push and a jump and see what happens and, suddenly, I was half tangled in the fence and half standing on the other side of it. I kicked the tangle off my back feet and was on my way to the other side, around the neighbor’s privacy fence but still not in the back neighbor’s yard. Finally, I found a spot where the old fence met another fence and I was able to get through.
I couldn’t hear the children anymore but I went up to the swing set and box of sand. They were gone! Hmmm. I was thinking about scratching at their door when I saw a woman who at first I thought was Mum so I ran over but it wasn’t her and I got a little scared of the sounds of the cars on the busy road behind her. I decided to follow her – surely she must know my Mum – but she shooed me away so I wandered down the street a little. A man who was short and strong looking came down his driveway and called me over. He looked so friendly! I looked at my neck for some reason, shook his head and suddenly, before I knew it; swept me up in his arms.
I was glad to be in his house except he had two big boys of unknown parentage that made me cower, a little. The man said, “Poor little girl; where did you come from?” and kept shaking his head. He and the boys looked out the window several times, and then he picked up the phone and called somebody. In no time a great, strong fellow in a uniform knocked at the door. He picked me up and felt my neck. “No tag” he sighed and the other man nodded kind of sadly. “Well, we’ll take her in and hope that her owner calls for her.”
“I’m sure they will,” said the house man. “She’s definitely a purebred –“ he said as he ruffled my neck. “It will be alright, little girl, someone is looking for you even now.”
There was a kennel on the backseat of the uniformed man’s car so I got in it – it had so many odd dog smells I was rather swept away and forgot to look around at my surroundings. Then the man took me into a building full of animals coming and going and sitting in kennels with their people standing nearby; some smiling at me, others seemingly caught up in their thoughts and worries.
“Just picked her up off of East River Road. Maybe her owners don’t even know she’s gone. I’m sure someone will call for her soon.” With that he handed me to a very nice girl who reminded me of Jessica. She smiled as she wrapped her arms around me and then slipped a leash around my neck.
“C’mon,” she said as she started through a door. I hung back a little. I don’t like being led, at all, and the firm tug irritated me. Strange country, I thought to myself. I was just taking an adventure and now I was ready to go home. Still, the sounds of barking intrigued me so I followed her hesitantly until we got to a large room with many kennels of all sizes. In the bottom kennels were a few large dogs; most of them whining to be let out. In the middle row were dogs a little smaller than me and in the top smaller dogs some of them even tinier than Lily. The girl let me go along the bottom row and look into the kennels and then she put me in one at the end and said, “Don’t worry, little girl; it won’t be too long and you’ll be home again!”
I settled down, listening to the odder sounds. I could hear the strange whir of a soft rumble and “meow” from the next room. What was that rumbling – but it reminded me of Daddy so I put my chin down until they brought some food. It wasn’t the delicious food Mum gives me but I was tired and a little hungry (it was actually my suppertime) so I licked it for awhile. Almost immediately, it seemed like, another girl came in, peering into each kennel. When she saw me, she smiled and said “Your Mama called and she will come in the morning to get you.”
“But I want to go now! I miss Mum and Daddy and I want to eat my own food out of my own dish and cuddle up with Mum and play with Daddy . . .” I tried to explain to the girl but she just put her fingertips against the mesh so I kissed them but she still walked away.
It seemed like forever before another girl came to take me outside. All the strange smells and sounds along the little green patch where we were suppose to potty! It took a minute but I had to go so I did and the girl said, “What a good little girl!” just like Mum and Daddy would have said. Even though I was tired, I couldn’t sleep without the sounds of Mum’s breathing next to me so I just laid there and laid there until morning when another girl came to take me out, then put me back in the kennel with a dish of breakfast.
It seemed to get very noisy and busy when I could hear all sorts of people and dogs and cats coming and going. Then, the girl appeared with a leash that she slipped around my neck and led me back out to the front. There was Mum & Daddy, looking nervous and Mum’s eyes glistened as I jumped into her arms and covered her face with kisses.
“Molly . . .” Daddy said with a disapproving but kind tone in his voice. He reached over as if he would take me out of Mum’s arms but seemed to think better of it and patted my head, instead. “What trouble you are – Mum was so worried!” I kissed her again, loving her smell and her arms around me. Too soon, she put me down and turned to the front desk where they talked in low, serious voices. “Her rabies vaccination is out of date a month or so, so we will have to do an examination and give her the vaccination before we can release her.” Mum nodded and said “yes, yes!” very earnestly “can we do this today so that we can take her home today?”
“Yes, of course,” the girl replied. Mum was smiling when she wrote out the check and filled out some paperwork. Daddy took me into the front waiting room and I wandered around at the end of my pink suede leash after Daddy put my halter on me. I was already used to the smells and sound and, now that Mum and Daddy were there, I was more than ready to go home. Mum came out and we waiting a little while; then the girl said to go to ‘exam room 2’ and we went into the little room with the high stainless steel table and Mum lifted me up onto it with a groan. There were three little windows next to the table so I stood up and looked out, recognizing the patch of green where they took us to potty.
Not long later an older man came in wearing a smock that said Dr. Kevin. His voice was soft and gentle as he and Mum talked about my experience and he looked me over. Then he had Mum put me on the floor and he checked me over some more, pulling back my mouth so that he could look at my teeth. “She’s in great shape,” he reassured Mum and she smiled, though there were tears sparkling at the corner of her eyes. He stuck something into my neck but I really didn’t notice – there was so much distracting me.
The Daddy came into the room and took my leash. We sat together as Mum talked for a while more with the Dr and then with his assistant. Finally. Mum and Daddy shook hands with everyone and we went out into the brisk, rainy day; up into the truck and finally home.
Ah, home. There is nothing like it. Warmth flooded over me and I ran from room to room to make sure everything was the same.
I jumped back into Mum’s lap and she laughed but instead of saying “you’re too big for my lap” she said as she nuzzled my neck, “Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam, be it ever so humble, there's no place like home, eh, my Molly May?
I snuggled against her and drifted off . . . Absolutey; there’s no place like home.”
P.S. Mum wants me to send a special thanks to the neighbor, Fridley Public Safety and Brighton Vet Clinic.