A new life
There are people everywhere.
All above me; ignoring me.
They are around Mom’s bed.
She is being taken, not roughly and she’s not protesting.
But she can’t.
I need to stop them.
But I am too small. But I try.
I am picked up; I kick and I scream. I’m being soothed; held tightly and cuddled.
I quieten as the other people leave.
I look at the bed. There is a dent where she was. A warm spot I would sometimes curl into. Smell her scent, relax and fall back to sleep until I am called for breakfast. I try to scramble free to get to that spot. To smell her scent. To feel warm and safe. But I’m held close and taken from the room.
IN THE BEGINNING THERE WAS JOEY
I shiver and curl up tighter: it’s minus two degrees and I’m not in my comfy bed.
I’m not snuggled up in my warm room
I’m not even in my house
Or with my family
I’m in a cell.
Concrete walls and floors. A smell of disinfectant and a warm breeze from somewhere.
It’s dark. I can hear others breathing but no one is here with me. I curl up on my bedding; at least this is mine. It smells of me and of Mom.
I can hear activity. Footsteps coming along the passageway and I blink at the winter sun coming through the bars on the windows. The latch is lifted on my cell. I edge back into the corner frightened of what is to come. Two bowls are placed before me. My nose twitches. Biscuits and water. I blink. The girl smiles and leaves; onto the next. I sit. Wary. I edge my way towards the bowls... it’s ok. Smells good and I take a small mouthful. I’m not overly hungry as I’m more sad than anything. But I eat and curl back into the corner.
The daily routine is the same. The nice girls come in and feed me, I don’t understand what they are saying but they are kind. They take me out for fresh air and exercise, feed me and look after me.
They are nice.
There’s a new lady. Noisy. Laughing. But she seems nice too. She doesn’t mind me walking in the mud and the puddles. In fact she likes doing it too! Then she’s gone. Who is she?
She’s back again. Yes! And this time...hey, what’s happening here? I’m getting into her car, wow, look at all this space. I want to sit in the front seat but she won’t let me but that’s ok.
Oops, we’re moving, where are we going? I watch the trees and bushes as we weave down the rutted lane. I say goodbye to the sodden horses in the field, glad to be inside in the dry as I have no coat like they do.
I wonder where we are going?
‘Bloody phone when I’m trying to draw’. I look at the caller; Jayne.
‘Hi Hun, are you still interested in a dog?’
‘er, yes course. Why?’
‘think we’ve found you one. Owner has died and he’s in the kennels. Want to see him?’
‘Er yes course.’
‘come to the pub and we’ll take you over.’
The phone went dead. I did that daft thing and looked at it..then down at myself. Pj bottoms and a sweatshirt. Well it was Sunday. But I had better get dressed.
There’s a bloody fox. And it’s daylight. This is my walk down here mate, what are you doing? Quit scavenging on my patch. Go on, get lost.
The little bugger. He’s ambling across the yard like he owns it. he hasn’t seen me, he hasn’t even scented me. This scrag end of a town fox in its brindle coat isn’t even taking any notice of the workmen on their fag break. I pull towards him, but She’s not having it. Damn. I want that fox.
I follow his scent down the track, weaving this way and that. She isn’t amused.
Where has he come from?
Where is he going?
All the way around the block I’m thinking of that fox. I’ve lost his scent now. Damn.
After last nights whining on the way home, a quick round the block should ease Joey’s bladder without me having to stop off ‘just in case.’
Blooming heck, it’s daylight and there’s a fox, brazenly strolling across a factory courtyard. He takes no notice of us or the bunch of men in their hi viz. He’s resolute. Joey pulls towards him, nose twitching in the air. I flick his lead and walk on, leaving the workers to gaze gormlessly through the railings at this rough looking urban parasite. Nothing like the countryside fox in its titian splendour, this beast is an urban scavenger, hyena in its lack of beauty.
Joey pulls, tracking the scent this way and that from where it had come. I sidestep potholes and rein him in a little and once we turn onto the main road the scent is gone. We return to the unit and I slip his lead off as we enter, assuming he would go straight in, but no; playtime. He’s off. Exploring the yard, not wanting to come in the door. He stands just outside, daring me to approach. Shit..come on Joey, there’s a good boy. He stands and stares. The panic starts to rise within me and I try to keep my voice calm; we are 20m away from a main road, it’s getting dark and he is mostly black. I push the thought to one side as he heads for the gates
Yeah, yeah, I can hear you but I need to see.
FOX. FOX. FOX. FOX. come on foxy, where did you go.
I sniff a patch of oil
I take no notice, I’m fine, and I know what I’m doing.
She’s coming. I sidestep into the gates. Least she isn’t running. Good, I can get him.
I hear the gates close. But she can’t see me. She’s still calling.
The scent is gone. The fox is gone. Damn. Another day. I amble along the units as if it’s normal. Knowing I am going to get a roasting. But she’s not shouting, why not? Does she get it?
Lead on we amble back to work. Not a word spoken but I can hear her mumbling. I can’t quite make it out. Sounds like you little shit.
Nearly the end of my first week with Hu-mom. And its kinda ok...oh, here we go, I’m in the back of the van again. Where are we going today? Surely after that lovely lie in, we aren’t going to work again? Sigh.. I whine at the grill in front of me, straight in hu-moms ear.
It’s ok, we’re only going down the road, we’re going to see Aunty Laura. Aunty Laura has a shop. A lot of noise is coming from it; squawks, squeaks, squeals: a tinkle of bells and voices. All sorts of voices.
Oh what smells! My nose twitches in delight. I raise my nose and sniff. I can scent, ...I twitch again, straw, that’s it; straw. A high pitched squawk makes me wince as a beady eye watches me enter. Who are you then you noisy bugger? Nose down I follow the scent of the straw, ignoring hu-mom and all the other humans. I bump noses with a bit of wood, then a mesh and, ooh, hello a pink twitchy nose..and whiskers .. and fluffy fur. But not a dog... not like me; no. Hmm. He twitches again; oops no, he is a she, she bops me on the nose through the mesh for being so nosy. Hmmpf, I moonwalk backwards affronted. What do I do? I’m excited by this, what is this creature? Dogs I know [even the big ugly ones and the small yappy ones. Cats I know, I think I grew up with them but I can’t remember. Foxes I know, they smell awful and they spray on my garden. My garden, how dare they? But what is this fluffy thing who challenges me? I slide forward paratrooper style on my belly. Low down I’m sure she can’t see me so I will have the advantage. I reach the wood and raise my nose to the mesh...boff! she got me again. I skitter backwards starting to quiver in excitement then bark. Then a little squeak like two balloons rubbing together. My head snaps to the right and the next bit of mesh...a russet and white face with a twitchy nose...who is this little chap?