037: the Courageous Lion

Of all the other dogs that members of her host family had brought home, this was the one Chelsi liked the most.  She could never compare to my darling Daisy, but Lion was a sleek, elegantly fashioned dog, with long legs, big paws and a bold, shapely head. Her coat was more of a pale gold, compared to Daisy’s flaxen blonde, and her tail was docked so close that a half an inch more would have removed the upper portion of her anus.  Mostly importantly, she was well mannered, and always ready to slobber Chelsi’s hand with her tongue. 
Chelsi had first noticed Lion about a week before moving back in to her house at the beginning of December, while making a ‘checking in’ visit.  She had observed Lion and Daisy romping together, in the grass of her yard. Then Lion had had a shine in her coat, a glisten in her eye, and a playfulness to her nature.
“And look at you know,” Chelsi sighed looking at the emaciated dog, sitting, shivering in her door way.  Her eyes were dull, draining a white goop, the cresses of her ears were cracked and bloody.  When Chelsi had first seen her after returning with Daisy from Christmas break she thought the poor dog had broken out in some blistering skin disease; the hair all around her neck patchy, with white and blue lumps looking as if they were about to rupture from her skin. When she looked closer, running her figures through her coat she didn’t find blisters, but hundreds of ticks. Some swollen to the size of grapes.  “It was horrifying,” Chelsi said to her aloud, remembering. “It still is.” The onslaught of tick had started more than three weeks ago, and still the owner of the dog, her host brother-in-law, had done nothing to remove them. “Even if he really is giving you dewormer like he says he is, those are probably why you’ve still been losing weight.” Lion repositioned herself on her bony haunches, become anxious listening to Chelsi, without being able to respond. 
The rain began to pitter, patter ever harder beyond the edges of Chelsi’s roof.  Daisy pushed passed Lion, coming through the door looking to get out of the rain. “And look at you, so well mannered. You’re not going to come in unless you’re invited. Unlike that awful bitch Bingo, Gil brought home.  She took every chance she had to bust in here, even when I was poking her with a stick! to steal bags of dog food.  Always intimidating Daisy so she was afraid to come near me. He only likes her because she has that ridge of hair standing up along her back. And Jango, he had to be her brother, he wasn’t much better; skittish and fretful.” Chelsi hadn’t felt the same desire to careful the other dogs, the way she did for Lion. Particularly, she didn’t have any affection toward either of the owners. And perhaps that’s why I feel so much pity for Lion. “Because he doesn’t deserve you… You certainly deserve better than him.” Lion repositioned herself again, slapping her tongue against her nose; clearly unsure whether the continuance of the single-sided conversation was an invitation or not, but cautioning against it just encase a mistaken understanding resulted in a beating.  
From where Chelsi sat, on the stool beside her table she could see the totality of Lion’s thin body between her forelegs; the washboard of her ribcage cut in relief against the gray background of her front cement slab.  Looking on, Chelsi could feel them under her fingers, hear the xylophone-esk sound they made when she ran her fingers along them. 
She let out a deep breath and hung her head. 
Chelsi could see two futures in her mind’s eye:  One, a re-imaging of what she had seen happen to her neighbor’s dog Buma.  Skin and bones, the thick coated white and brown spotted dog curled up under tree, hidden behind tall grass.  When she had Daisy first approach him, on their walk in the bush, he had lifted his head. Daisy sniffed, and continued on. The next day, when Daisy saw him and approached, there was no response. The day after, it seemed less like a dog and more like a lump of matted fur.  They stopped walking that way. Two, take Lion under her care. At least try and ease some of her suffering. Lion’s ultimate fate would still be out of her hands. This isn’t my dog, and it can’t be. She couldn’t take in every animal she felt compassion for; and once you start how do you stop?
“Meow,” Chelsi lifted her head to see Poppy sneak through Lion’s legs and into the house.  The wet kitten shook himself off. The rain was pounding down now, starting to blow in through the open door. Chelsi stood and removed the rock jam, shutting out the storm on the outside. 

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Categories: Drama, Horror, Nature | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “037: the Courageous Lion

  1. Sandy

    Poor Lion 😦
    I hope he has gained some weight by now.
    Sending love to you Daisy and Poppy.
    Xoxo

    Like

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