Four Winters, Four Summers, Four Days

Four winters.  That’s how long I was there. I remember each icy blast, each deep snow, and the mice far beneath, tucked into burrows I could not hope to reach.  I slept beneath the bramble and awakened with snow perched on branch and fur.

On the days when the creek’s ice cracked along the edges and snow melted in rivulets toward the pond, I knew I would not go hungry.

Four summers.  That’s how long I was there.  Other cats came and went from this place, and I fought often and hard for hunting rights, for the right to walk this piece of borrowed earth for a time.

You saw me one summer’s day, skirting along the edge of the forest.  I saw in your eyes compassion and distress at my gristly body.  You turned and disappeared inside, then returned with two small, circular objects, one with silvery water, the other with luscious scents.  You placed them at the garden’s edge and spoke softly to me:  “This is for you.”  I blinked slowly at you, acknowledging.

The scent of food brought back fragments of memory:  an old woman, a petting hand, a warm house.

I ate and drank my fill, then slipped off into the forest.  You watched.

Four days.  That’s how long you fed me.  On the fifth day, you placed a steel box on the ground with food and water inside.  I walked around it, wary, sniffing.  It smelled of other animals, and I sensed that you meant to trap me.  What I did not know then was that you would have taken me in and cared for me.

You dreamed about me that night—do you remember?  You stood on the back porch as I walked away, leaning into the wind.  I turned back toward you, my face round and scarred, my eyes telling you wordlessly: I will not return.  Did you remember every detail of the dream as you awoke, as if it were real?

Four days.  That’s how long you continued to set the trap with food and water.  On the fifth day you peered for a long time at the place where you had seen me in the dream.  Then you put away the trap and scattered the food in the forest for other animals to find.

He Wasn’t Much of a Hunter

He closes the door of the red pick-up truck, re-positions his gun over his shoulder, and sets off into the woods.  Despite trying to ease his weight onto the twigs and leaves, toe first then heel, his footfalls snap and crackle and echo through the pre-dawn forest.

A doe lifts her head from foraging, her button-black nose twitching with scent-taking.  With noiseless ease, she lopes off, her white tail high.  A groundhog stands on the crest of his mound-home squinting into the distance, his forepaws tucked up to his heart, his teddy-bear ears angled forward.  He squeaks and retreats inside his burrow.  A flock of quibbling sparrows wheels off into the sky.  Only the cat remains.   She is motionless except for the white tip of her tail.

The hunter walks on, pausing from time to time, looking around, then moving on.  The cat follows, unnoticed, at a distance.

When the sun has climbed well above the horizon, the hunter sits down on a large, sunny rock.  He opens a thermos of steaming coffee, crinkles flat the wax paper covering his sandwich, and munches thoughtfully, his head angled to the side.  Sun-warmed and drowsy, his shoulders relax and he closes his eyes.

The cats comes closer, soundlessly.  She sits a few feet in front of him and looks up.  The hunter opens his eyes and startles, then feels foolish.  He mutters something about cats—he’s never liked cats.  He glares at the cat and looks into her gold eyes.  She holds his gaze evenly.  He sighs, then he breaks off a small piece of cheese from his sandwich and tosses it on the ground.  The cat eats it and looks up expectantly.  The man breaks off a larger piece and holds it out to her.  She gracefully leaps onto the rock, and with one paw on the hunter’s leg, she gingerly takes the cheese from his hand.  The hunter slides his broad palm down her back, then offers her the rest of his sandwich.

After a while, he gathers his things, slings the gun over his shoulder, and sets off.  The cat jumps down and follows.  Twice he looks back over his shoulder.  He opens the truck door and sweeps his arm wide in a welcoming gesture. The cat jumps in, settles herself on the passenger seat, and washes her face.

Two seasons have passed since I found my hunter.  He wasn’t much of a hunter, really—I could read that much in the way he moved.  It was plain to me that he wasn’t really interested in hunting as much as he was playing a role.  It was also plain to me that he thought he didn’t like cats.  Most people who give cats a chance find they like them after all.

These days I wait by the window for my hunter.  He comes in with a blast of cold air.  I jump down and wind my way around his legs.  He stoops to pet me and says a word or two.  Then we pass a companionable evening in silence.  His gun is in the attic, tucked away forever.

 

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Tips for Finding a Lost Dog

After 12 days of searching, he had lost hope. But then he learned about this awesome tip and how this has reunited many lost dogs with their families.

On day 12 of searching for my dog in a heavily wooded area, distraught and hopeless, I ran into a couple of hunters. They said they lost the occasional dog on a hunt but always got them back. What they told me has helped many dogs and families be reunited. I’ve given their advice out a few times in the last couple days, so I thought if reddit has any lost dogs out there, this could help:

The dog owner(s) should take an article of clothing that has been worn at least all day, the longer the better, so the lost dog can pick up the scent.

Bring the article of clothing to the location where the dog was last seen and leave it there. Also, if the dog has a crate & familiar toy, you can bring those too (unless location undesirable for crate). You might also want to leave a note requesting item(s) not to be moved.

Leave a bowl of water there too, as the dog probably hasn’t had access to any. Do not bring food as this could attract other animals that the dog might avoid.

Come back the next day, or check intermittently if possible. Hopefully the dog will be waiting there.

I was skeptical and doubted my dog would be able to detect an article of clothing if he didn’t hear me calling his name as loud as possible all day for 12 days. But I returned the next day and sure enough found him sitting there!

I hope this helps someone out there who’s missing a best friend. Good luck.
Read more at http://www.reshareworthy.com/how-to-find-a-lost-dog/#cHloHS7bVoLx6m3o.99

Reprinted from Reshareworthy Media/News website