Cure for Loneliness
By Alisa Chagnon
I didnâ€™t seem to have much enthusiasm for my life. Divorced for seven years, I still had scars of my abusive ex-husband. Still single, I was very lonely. Life was rather dreary. Then I met her.
Visiting a friend named Stacy, I sat on the bed of her aunt, as she did some chores. I got a glimpse of something in the corner of my eye. It lay unmoving on the floor of the room. I peered closer, not sure what I was looking at. It seemed to have fur and resembled a stuffed animal. Then I noticed there was some movement.
I bent over a bit, to get a better look. Once convinced that it was not rodent, I asked Stacy what I was looking at. She replied that it was her auntâ€™s dog, a Pomeranian. When replying to my question of how I could not have known there was ever a dog in the house, Stacy told me that the dog was mute. I was stunned to learn that the aunt kept the dog in the bedroom, never allowing it to leave; the dog never had seen the outdoors. This creature had been a â€œprisonerâ€ in the small room for over five years.
I bent down to pick up this delicate animal, to inspect her. I immediately noticed that she was malnourished; not weighing more than two pounds. Barely moving, her short small breaths scarcely made a sound. She was the color of a baby fox, and despite her matted coat of hair, she was beautiful.
Disgusted at the neglect, I simply said, â€œIâ€™m taking her home with meâ€. I cradled the dog in my arms and proceeded to get in my car. Expecting Stacy to follow me outside, to protest my â€œkidnappingâ€ of the dog; I surprised to leave without a bit of objection.
I was worried the car ride would be too stressful. She cuddled into my lap, almost seeming to cling to me for reassurance. I carried her into my home and came to the full realization that I just made a commitment to care for another living thing. I did not know how to care for a living thing. All I knew was my bed, my work and my television.
I tried to muster the confidence to accept this dog as my own; to be completely responsible for her new life. First things first, I had to give her a proper name. With flair of my silly sarcastic personality, I named her Killer.
I had a lot of road ahead of me. I set her down, onto the soft rug in my living room so as not to startle her. Killer lay down, closed her eyes and curled up; as if it was the only position that she thought possible. The next few weeks would produce stirring results.
Afraid to step on my kitchenâ€™s linoleum floor, Killerâ€™s solution was to make a jump for the carpeting under my kitchen table, and then make another small leap to the placemat that held her food. After a few weeks of slowly summoning up her bravery, I was thrilled when one day she actually did step onto this new environment under her tiny feet. It was our first victory.
There were many more to come. Killer had no notion of what a staircase was and was petrified to climb the stairs to my bedroom. Letting her roam the house freely, I allowed her to decide for herself when she was ready for this venture. One day I found her on the first step, then next day on the third. I would smile and I felt warmth in my heart as this wonderful companion began to experience the world.
She had gained four pounds; which on her tiny frame produced a wonderful effect; she looked so healthy and happy. She became my best friend. There was so much that she learned. We spent hours taking walks outside, exploring neighborhoods. I would bring her with me to run errands; placing her in my pocketbook; as she was still so small that she would stay unnoticed.
The most thrilling moment of Killerâ€™s new life came unexpectedly and the sound was very confusing to me. I heard a bark. Killer was mute; where did the bark come from? It came from Killer! Her former owner, in her own stupidity, was unaware suffering mistreatment made the dog silent. At night, Killer would cuddle up to me on my bed, her soft breathing in my ear, and she filled the empty feeling that I used to have.
To make our lives a bit easier, I connected one end of a leash to the inside of my home, near the front door. After motioning to me that â€œit was time, I would then connect her to the other end of the leash allowing her to roam the front lawn. She would sit upon the step landing and patiently wait for me to open the door when she was done.
It happened on a Saturday. I allowed Killer to go outside on her leash as normal. Entering my kitchen to pour myself a glass of juice, I heard a knock on my door. I stood in disbelief as my neighbor calmly said, â€œIâ€™m sorry, my dog just killed your dogâ€. Apparently, his dog, a mixed breed weighing over thirty pounds, had broken out of the fencing around his home. It had sprinted across the street and in an instant, broke Killerâ€™s neck.
I swiftly took Killerâ€™s body into my arms. The overpowering feeling of grief overtook me. I melted onto the ground and wept. My tears spilled on Killerâ€™s coat of fluff. My neighbor muttered a few more apologies and left. Astounded at his lack of caring and stunned that he owned a dog that was capable of attacking a defenseless animal; I called the police station to report what had happened.
The police officer told me there were no previous complaints and the local law stated that only in the case of a second offense, would there be some type of retribution. Informed that the local dog officer was off duty, I was left on my own to take care of Killerâ€™s body.
I held onto Killer as long as I was able to; wrapping her in a small blanket and sobbing in my state of heartache. With my neighbor perched on his doorstep watching me, I sorrowfully dug Killerâ€™s grave. My motions were trancelike, my eyes barely able to see. When I positioned Killer into her resting place, the pain in my heart seemed to tear at my entire body.
I will never forget Killer; never forget how she came into my life. That little ball of fluff that I found scared and curled up in that prison. It was similar to the prison I used to have for myself, in my room alone each night. Each step Killer took in her new life gave me a boost of confidence. Each moment she snuggled against me, took away a piece of my loneliness. She taught me how to smile, how to appreciate the â€œsmall things in lifeâ€ and most importantly, how to give and take unconditional love. I may have been the one to rescue her first, but Killer saved me in ways that she will never know.
Alisa is webmaster to Pet Pom, a complete informational site devoted one of the most lovable toy dogs, the Pomeranian. Found at http://www.petpom.com. Alisa is also webmaster to Love Bulletin, a free and complete women’s online magazine. Updated weekly and daily with reader submissions to change the contect. Guidelines for dating, relationships, breakups and more.
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