Furball & Jake

     Hello friends, my name is Jake, I’m a two year old husky who was found in the cold regions of Alaska by a young girl named Polly. At the time I was abandoned at the age of four months.  So I was barely alive, cold, and hungry.  Now this young lady was a feisty one when she wanted something and that something was…me. But what happened when I met the ball of fur was another story.

   Polly fought with her parents for near an hour on that cold winter day to take me home with her.  After much yelling and etc, they finally gave in to her cries. Excited she picked me up from the snow where I laid down in fear and tried to shove me under her coat. Well, since it was too small for both of us she carried me to the warmth of the vehicle where we crawled into the back seat together.

   She quickly got some smelly food from the seat and struggled with the plastic. As hungry as I was  it didn’t matter as I watched her tear open the crinkly wrapper. I could fell my mouth water the longer I watched. By the time she pulled a thing she called ‘hot dog’ out of the package, I was in agony with hunger.

   Softly she said, “Gently now.” Like the pup I was, took the food with tenderness from the shaky hand and chewed. It was soft and gooey but good. Licking my drooling chops, I whined and wagged my tail for more.

   She never hesitated when she said, “You are starving aren’t you?” She fed me all she had until I satisfied. Finally, with a full tummy and a warm place to rest, I took the chance and licked the side of her face. Waiting for the slap that didn’t come, I laid my head in her lap because I was so grateful for her. I couldn’t talk so I had accomplish the thanks in other ways.

   The ride was short when the man pulled up to what looked like a creature of sorts. I begin to whine and hunker down in fear thinking I was going to be given to the thing. But when the girl got out she took me with her into the mouth of the thing; with me whining all the way until she put me down. I was so afraid I peed on the floor. I just knew I was in trouble then.

   I heard the big lady shout at the little girl with a finger pointed to  me. “Polly…” she said putting a hand on her hip. “He’s your responsibility now.”

  In the childish voice she had, she whined, “Yes, mama.”

   Polly pouted but done as she was told if she wanted to keep me as a pet. While she cleaned up the wet spot I wondered off to explore this thing that had soft stuff to walk on. It wasn’t grass or dirt but it was nice and smelled good even if it did tickle my nose. The place was huge with so much to explore until I came to something that was bare and spooky looking.

     I sat on the floor smelling the air at something unusual. I didn’t know what it was or where it was coming from but it was strange and frighting. I didn’t expect Polly to suddenly pick me up laughing as she stomped up the things that carried us higher. I struggled to look over her shoulder at where we came from and whined. She soothed me softly stroking my fur until we reached the top and she put me down.

   My four feet no sooner touched the cold thing under them that I heard this thing that sounded like a snake hissing at me. When I turned around there was this four legged, fluffy thing with green eyes and long teeth staring at me. I froze until Polly got on her knees and stoked us both but my legs wobbled anyway from the sight of the creature even more when it came closer. I couldn’t stop when I took off whining like the pup I was hunting for someplace to hide.

   I rushed though an opening and under a cover scooting as close to the cold wood as possible with my tail under me.

   I heard Polly call for me, “Come on Jake; it’s just Furball. She’s a  kitten and won’t hurt you, I promise.” I watched her feet come closer to the thing I was hiding under and got to her knees pulling up my shield. I yelped with fear and tried to run but she caught me at the right moment.

   Struggling with all four off the ground I wasn’t going anywhere. She hugged me and I looked over her back at the thing coming toward me again. That’s when I learned to growl for the first time. I even excited myself with it and done it again. The creature stopped and bared it’s teeth again and I whined. Polly called for the thing and I couldn’t run when it came closer.

   When the thing stopped next to Polly she picked it up and pulled it around to face me. My nose was touching this thing that had a wet warm nose too. It tickled at first then I liked the disliked thing when it begin to make a different sound. I noticed it got louder every time Polly stroked it. If I listened long enough I liked it too. When it became soothing, I hesitated before licking the thing on the nose. Oddly, it licked back and I liked that too.

    So as we grew older we grew closer; like best friends. We were inseparable–inside or out of the house. The man–Gary; the woman–Beverly, Polly, and Furball became my only family. I needed nothing, except my shots for the year. Over the short years that followed, I noticed Furball getting slower with age. But she was just a month older than myself so I never gave it much thought.

   One bright fall morning I awoke beside Polly, who was still asleep to find Furball missing at the top of the pillow. Rising slowly, I leaped off the bed and looked up. She wasn’t there so I listened a moment and heard nothing. Squeezing through the half opened door, I trotted across the slick floor to the stairway and went down toward the kitchen.

    I never realized how much I would miss that cat until Furball finally passed away leaving me alone with Polly whom I loved dearly. When I didn’t find Furball in the kitchen I assumed she was in the den playing. I made my way in the stillness of the house to the den. What I found when I stopped in the doorway was a tear-jerk-er.

    Lying at the bottom of the short stairway was Furball with her toy mouse in her mouth. She seemed at peace as though nothing happened. I felt my eyes swell with tears and fall over my nose as I stepped down toward her. I knew she was gone but for the sake of me I couldn’t accept the fact she was dead when I nudged her with the tip of my nose. I could feel her cold fur from the cold skin underneath. She must have known it was time because she had been there for a few hours.

    Whimpering with grief, I lay down beside her as a lost friend who found her again. I even placed a paw over her to say good-bye. It was the mother that found us first. When she screamed it woke up the whole house. When Furball left me alone that day, it was heart-sickening. But with Polly as my pal over the years, we grew closer than ever while I watched her grow into a beautiful young woman. 

Written by Patsy Deppe, author of Waya’s Chosen.

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