Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Short Story for Mother's Day: Warrior Mom

By Rebecca H. Savidis
She had no choice.  The situation had worsened by the hour.  Three weeks of rain---rain on each of those days had flooded the kennel, leaving mutt and mushers water-logged and mud-bogged.  They had done their best, this she knew.  She had heard them say something about desperate times and she couldn’t agree more.
Each night when they arrived home, she watched as they dug several small channels throughout the kennel to divert the water away from the dogs.  That was the intent, yet with the abundance of rain, the banks of the several, small kennel rivers had flooded and the puppy pen was now a flood zone. 
Pushing her considerable weight against the gate, she tried it one more time.  Useless.  She knew that it wouldn’t budge, but she had to try.  She sized up the fencing around the puppy pen.  Four feet of wire and post.  It wouldn’t be a problem for her in her pre-puppy days, but it seemed now, though she couldn’t prove it, that there was more of her.  Desperate times.  Not to tight, but tight enough not to lose her hold, she took the young pup in her mouth.  Squeak!  
She set him down.  The squeaking stopped and the young pup looked up at his mother.  The new mother looked at her pup.  She tried again.  Squeak!

Helping or hurting?  Determined, she tried again and again the squeaker squeaked.  Ignoring the shrills, she leapt on the top of her dog house, built with love and big enough for mama and pups.  Nothing to it, not even a whisker out of place.  Taking flight over the fence, the scruff of her precious cargo secure between her teeth, she cleared the wire barrier and landed on the other side with little more than a thud next to her brother, Coach. 
He was always popular with the pups, and even the most novice of mothers could tell that he loved puppies.  His tail wag told her he didn’t mind, didn’t mind at all.  Less mud-bogged than other areas of the kennel and with such an eager caregiver, she passed to the entrance of his dog house and placed the squeaker inside.  Turning, aware that her task had just begun, she loaded the springs in her haunches and leapt the fence again, the second of many leaps to come.
Snatching the nearest pup and ignoring the squeaks---a newly acquired skill that would make any experience mother proud, she leapt then leapt again.  Tail wagging, Coach nudged the pup until it was placed on the ground at his feet.  Teeth to scruff he imitated his sister, and placed the pup inside his house. 
Perfecting the squeak and leap routine, she walked past the several in the kennel to find temporary and drier lodging for the third and fourth pups.  Past Tomboy who was still undecided if pups were dogs-to-be or very mobile squeaky toys, past Rowdy who had landed firmly in the Mobile Squeaky Toy camp long ago.  No to Bridger.  No to Fargo.  Yes to her father, Tenzing, and yes to her mama, Luna.  One left. 
Wiser, having watched, or rather heard his brothers and sister squeak as mama wandered off with each only to return empty handed, the last pup scrambled himself into a corner.  The job easier for his mama, she, for the last time, held the delicate hide and peach-fuzz fur between her teeth and leapt, and leapt again.  The options were few. 
Standing in between Coach and his protégé, Sue, A Boy Named Sue for long she made her decision and placed the pup at Sue’s feet.  An uncertain tail wag swished by both.  Her’s was the uncertainty of a mother leaving her pup in the care of a yearling.  His, the uncertainty at what she meant for him to do.  I’ll help you,” Coach comforted with a tail wag and head bump worthy of a great mentor, “It’s not hard.  Sure they may chew on your ears, or search for dinner in all the wrong places, but nothing leaves a mark.” 
Mark?  What do you mean by mark?”
Have I ever led you astray?"

The time we took a gee instead of a haw and ended up in a dead-end---yeah.”
But in life?---Never.  Not with the important things.”  It was true and it was settled. With direct care over two, Coach would keep a watchful eye on his mentee and the little one now in Sue’s care. 
Less desperate, less weighed down and less cautious, Savannah leapt for the last time back into the puppy pen.  With no ark in sight, she waited atop the house, waited and watched her pups from a distance. 
Musher and wife arrived home, but there was no distress in the empty puppy pen.  Mama had done well. 


Daphne said...

Amazing! Thank you for sharing!

Daphne said...

Amazing! Thanks for sharing!

Hilary Kimbel said...

Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful story! Speaking of though... Do you happen to know where I can get great kennels in edmonton. I really need a place to keep my little puppy!