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Mount Creative Writers

The day I became fearless

Alexandra Tyminski
MSM Class of 2015

(12/2012) I was told that I was going to have to move to a smaller home. I was unsure of what that exactly meant, but hopeful it wasnít going to change much. When I showed up in this smaller home, I found that it was a bit too crowded for my liking. My faithful owner Neil, the only friend Iíve ever had, was in trouble. I didnít understand why he had brought me to this place though. I watched him as he exchanged a few sad glances with the man at the counter.

"Goodbye Spark, you were the light to my life," Neil said. He bent down, and I felt his elderly hand smooth over my right ear.

He stared in my eyes, and I watched a tear roll down his face.

"I have to leave you here. The doctor told me that Iím dying, and I canít take care of you anymore," he said looking down.

"Iím sorry bud."

He handed my leash over to the hippie looking man at the counter. I watched Neil walk slowly with his cane to the door and to the red beat up Ford truck we had spent years in together. I ran towards the door pulling the attendant behind me.

Neil turned towards me. "No, stay Spark stay, someone will come here and get you soon. You are a lovely dog, and," he began to choke up.

"I love you, we are both getting old now and you must trust me when I say that it will better this way. Be fearless for me." He wrapped his arms around me quickly, and I licked his face for one last time.

I felt a strange peace in my heart, and I sat down on the cold floor beneath all of my fur. As he pulled out of the gravel lot, he glanced over and caught my eye. He smiled and nodded. I nodded back, and he winked at me as if our minds and hearts were in sync.

The attendant walked me to a cage. This was the time of day Neil and I would take our long walks in the country, now all I had was four feet of the cage to walk in. I didnít want to be here.

Iím not sure what was worse, not knowing what was happening to my old owner, or not knowing what was going to happen to me. After 13 years of the same routine, I was too old to learn new tricks. I just wanted to go home, but I no longer had a home.

Every time I heard a door open, my heart jumped. I keep looking for my old owner Neil. Was he finally coming back to get me? It had been almost a week and I was beginning to give up home of ever going home.

I heard a door open slowly, and tuned into the conversation hoping that it would be something of interest to me.

"I was wondering if I could take some dogs out for a walk. I want to adopt today, and Iím curious to see how the dogs are. I think it is important to well, ya know, get to know them if you understand?" The man said.

"Yeah that is totally fine, what are you looking for? One friendly enough with other pets? A puppy? An old fart? What is this for your children? You got any children at home sir?" The attendant asked the man.

"No, no children at home, just my wife and I now. I was thinking more of an older dog, male maybe," the man said.

The man had on bright colored clothes, thrifty wool sweater, and had gray hair. I watched as the man and attendant began to walk down the rows of cages. My tail began to sweep across the floor faster and faster as they got closer and closer. But they turned just before my cage and went down another aisle. I looked down at my paws thinking about Neil, I really missed him.

I donít know what made me do it, but something made me look up. I was surprised to see the man staring directly into my eyes. His eyes told me he was searching for something I wanted as well.

"Iíll take him," the man said pointing to my cage.

"You sure?" the attended said. Thatís the oldest one we got in here. You might want one you can have for a bit longer wouldnít you?"

"No, thank you though, I think he will do," the man replied

"Well, Mister, youíre going to be that dogís hero today. I head his old owner died today. I was here when he brought the dog in. It was a pretty sad scene. He couldnít take care of him anymore and had no family to give him to. Iím not sure who took it worse, the old man or the dog. They both lost their best friends. His name is Spark."

The attendant unlocked my cage and looked me in the eyes. "It looks like Neil made it to heaven and is looking out for you. Now you look out for this old man. Will you do that for me?"

I ran up to the man and jump up on him. It was probably the most active I have ever been in a long time. I could have sworn that man knew that I was attempting to hug him.

The man Ė Sam - hooked me onto my new black leather leash. "Sometimes I think that the older you get, the more love you need," Sam said. He gave me a look as if I didnít understand what most humans said, but I licked his face to let him know I did. His smile was so genuine. I knew Neil would have approved of my new friend. Be fearless I thought.

"Click, clack, click, clack." The sounds of her heels were coming.

She approached the counter where the attendant was standing. Once the dogs settled down, I began to key into their conversation.

"I just think that it would be nice to bring a new pet home, and adopt an animal."

"Ah, yes, I see you want to be a hero too. You know a man earlier came to pick up another lucky animal this morning," the attendant said.

"I guess so," She laughed.

"Do you have cats by any chance?"

The attendant raised his eyebrows, "I havenít heard that question in a while. Yeah, we recently got a new cat that was rescued from a horrible environment; she was used as bait to train dogs to fight. Needless to say, she has a fear of dogs. I mean naturally since she was used in such a horrific situation."

"I want to see her," She said.

"Thatís me they were talking about," I thought to myself. Yes, I finally will get out of here. My heart began to beat as I saw the attendant heading her my way. She stepped in front of my cage, and it was something unsaid that spoke to her. I stared into her eyes, and she smiled with them, so gently.

"I want her," She said.

"It is this cat that needs a new home and a first real Christmas."

The attendant pulled me out of the cage and into her warm hands. I have never been handled so nicely, it felt comforting.

She carried me to her car, and she placed me in a new cage in the backseat. Inside was a maroon colored blanket. Ah, I havenít felt a warm blanket since well really ever? Her car smell was amazing, sweet cinnamon and coconut. She looked back at me, and I back at her. As I observed her car, I somehow began to think she was looking for more than a new pet to feed. Everything seemed like a normal car except when I noticed the cracked picture of her and some handsome looking man with blue eyes and a scruffy looking beard. It sat on the other side of the backseat along with the millions of tissues.

She sighed, looked back at the picture, and quickly turned it over. I placed my paw up against the cage and it began to make noise. She noticed my way of reaching out to her and put her focus back on me.

"Youíre the nicest little cat Iíve ever known," Jane said.

"I donít know why anyone would ever use you as bait. You deserve better than that."

She smiled her sweet smile with a similar understanding of my response she saw in my eyes which was, so do you.

"Mom, Dad, Iím home!" She brushed through the door.

"I finally made it! Anyone?" She yelled again.

"Ah! Yes yes, finally you have made it Jane!" Her dad came down the stairs.

"I have a surprise for you!" He said.

"Ha! Well thatís funny because I have a surprise for you too." She answered back.

"Well, let me see yours. I donít know if you will be able to handle mine."

"Okay well, here he is," her dad said. He headed towards the kitchen. The side door creaked open and then shut really quickly. Next thing she knew, a dog was running straight at her. A big black and tan colored German shepherd.

"He came from the shelter a couple miles uptown in Springfield where he used to volunteer," her mom chimed in as she came into the foyer from the kitchen.

"His name is Spark," her mom said again.

"The guy at the shelter was trying to talk me out of getting him because he was older than the other dogs," her dad said.

"Oh Sam, you did such a good thing to bring that dog home. He needed one. We all do," Janeís mom said.

"Now for your surprise Jane!" her dad exclaimed.

Jane went to the car and came back with a small crate in hand. I sat in the crate as she recounted to her dad my story. I didnít get it all, but what I did get worried me. There was talk about taking me back to the shelter.

"Let not do make that call right off. Lets let her out and well keep and eye on them." Her father said. "Remember, itís Christmas Eve. Tonight is the night lions will lay down with lambs and all will be safe. Maybe tonight we will witness the true spirit of Christmas. What do we have to lose?"

"Your right dad, " the women said, Ďsomething tells me there are angels watching over both of them."

"Her name is Lily," she said handing me over to her father.

Janeís dad held me like Iíve never been held before. I hands were warm and full of love. "What a great Christmas Eve Surprise! Now we can add one more to our family."

I donít know what I am going to do. I noticed the big dog across the room. I havenít met any nice dogs ever. I could quickly feel the fur on my back stand up. But, I caught a glimpse of anxiety in his eyes as well. He wasnít sad, but looked concerned that I may not like him. He was scared too.

"This is Spark. Lily, meet your new friend," Sam said, putting me on the ground, all the while petting me.

Spark began to take a few steps forward. I glanced up at my new family. This was going to be the first Christmas Eve Iíve ever experienced happy and safe. Something told me I need to trust, if just for one last time. I stared back at Spark. His big brown eyes met with my green ones, he placed his paw out just like I did with Jane, and I could have sworn he was saying Merry Christmas, welcome home, and letís be fearless together. I decided to trust one last time.

It was the merriest of Christmas one could hope.

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