(Writer’s Workshop entry 2) Assignment: Describe a time you rescued an animal.
The Moose in The Barn
It was summertime. Big orange wasps were hovering around the blackberry vines and under the eaves of the garden shed and tractor barn. The air was humid and sweat was dripping down from my face, following the spiral of the curls that annoyingly fell down out of my ponytail atop my head. I was sitting on a tiny wooden chair that I use to weed my little 9×9 flower bed under the tree near the shed. Why, why so very many weeds in this one little spot? Ugh. I took a sip from the drippy can next to me, and reached back into the base of the butterfly bush to pull the odd grasses that had appeared there to steal its water.
Then I heard it.
A tiny, trembly little voice. Where did that come from? I froze and listened.
I wondered if I was so hot now that I had begun hallucinating sounds. Or maybe it was from dehydration? I started stabbing the weeding tool back into the hard Texas clay, pulling out more odd invasive plants. Then I heard it again. I was sure I wasn’t imaging things, so I got up and eased over to the tractor barn, where I thought the sound came from.
I usually avoid this place, because of the aforementioned wasps, which are so mean they’ll dive bomb any person or other creature who dares invade their space. A nest can pop up overnight, and you can walk into danger before you know it. I warily scanned the edges of the low-ceilinged barn. No nests that I could see. Phew.
I stood very still and listened. I heard crickets, or some such summery-sounding insect, and I heard our bird dog, Belle, whining to be in the part of the yard I was in. I didn’t hear the little voice, though. Hmm.
My eyes adjusted to the shadowy part of the tractor storage area that had the biggest tractor in it, and I started looking under wheels and implements and junk. Then, I saw it: a tiny, starved, gray tabby kitten. She came out from under the bush hog and walked toward me, meowing more hopefully this time.
I dashed in the the house to grab some bowls to put food and water in. I brought the meal out and put it on top of the bush hog for her, as that seemed to be her favored implement. She greedily began eating the food. I was shocked; I thought she’d be thirstier than she was hungry, but no, she just wanted food. That little girl was starving. I could see the ribs poking out along the sides of her tiny little body.
I called the boys outside to see what I had found under the bush hog. They were all interested, but Jacob stayed outside longest; he has always been a big fan of cats. He sat on the ground and let the kitten crawl onto his lap, and she meowed in gratitude for the attention and the food and water.
We left her outside the rest of that day, and the next, watching for the mother cat to show up to take care of this little one. She never showed up. I pulled out the cat supplies we had left over from our lost cat Simba, and readied a space for this kitten to come live with us.
Jacob named her Moose.
Moose is now over a year old, and is happy and healthy in her new home. No more hot tractor barns to be constrained to; she has full run of our little house, and all the food, treats, water and windowsills a cat could want. She is very loving and happy, which I like to think is a result of her knowing that she was delivered from a life of searching the woods for something to eat, having multiple litters of kittens, and ending up the dinner of some wily coyote. We gave her a home. I wish the same for all little abandoned kittens everywhere.