A while back, I was offered the opportunity to learn. This little Opportunity was discovered in the snow-covered parking lot of a local church, either abandoned or lost, traumatized–and nearly frozen to death. You can see by the photo at right that most of her fur was gone; she was scratched and battered, one hip tender, and terrified of every noise, every moving object. Her ribs testified she was nearly starved to death–who knows how long it had been since she was fed. She wasn’t more than six to seven weeks old, the vet said.
She was rescued, delivered into the arms of a kind veterinarian who worked with her for most of what they expected was her last night of life. The vet offered her to me, asking if I wanted to nurse her and see if she lasted more than a day or two.
I cuddled her shivering cinnamon-colored mass in a tiny quilted doll’s blanket; she quivered at my touch, those giant brown eyes staring me down, imploring me to be trustworthy. I drove home cradling her in my arms (it wasn’t more than a mile and a half of small town neighborhood streets).
“Brought you something, Sweetheart,” I said as I opened the front door of my house. I gently dropped her two bony pounds into my husband’s lap and watched her dive into the crook of his elbow, hiding from the world.
“What’s this?” he asked, holding her up to study those two gigantic brown pools of need and love.
“An experiment,” I said, pouring a small helping of dog food into a dish and placing it on the sofa nearby, “and if it works, your Valentine’s present.” Lifting her from his grasp, I placed her onto the sofa, kneeling down beside her to make sure she didn’t dive off the sofa in her new environment.
She wobbled a bit, lurched over to the dish and shakily took a mouthful of crunchy little bits. She crunched the noisy bits with an effort, and began to eat faster and faster, wolfing down every bite with relish. I wasn’t sure if I should limit how much she got at first—but decided to let her have at it until she was full. She ate until every bite was gone, and licked the dish thoroughly.
As the little bulging tummy with legs waddled over and crawled onto my lap, I knew. We had a future. And it was sugary. “Welcome home, Sugar Bear.”