Post written by Ana
It was raining. The month was June, but that day was cold, summer seemed it hadn’t come yet. It had been raining for two days and a ditch beside the road was filled with water.
The dirty white puppy, tried once more to climb the wall of the trench. The earth crumbled under his paws and the puppy landed back in cold water which had reached up to his neck now. He had fallen into the ditch the night before, when he approached and smelt a piece of old pretzel. When he bent over to grab it, the earth gave way and he fell into the cold dirty water.
He whined all night, but there was nobody to hear him. There were just a few houses on the country side road and they seemed to be too far for anybody to hear him. Every attempt to get out of the ditch ended the same … the earth was too soft to hold him, although he wasn’t too heavy … he was as big as a man’s palm with a gaunt belly and skinny legs.
He started whining again with his last strength. He wasn’t to be heard by anybody but he knew that the water would go above his head very soon and he didn’t want everything to end like that, without him making a sound. He let out one last yelp before the water took him…
The torrent struck him with speed, dragging him against the trench wall, then suddenly thrust him on the edge of the ditch. The puppy laid for a few moments dazzled in the mud gasping, then he took a breath and opened his eyes just when the rain seemed to intensify and big drops of water fell onto his head all at once. He wiped his eyes with his paws, and then he saw: The rain hadn’t intensified, on the contrary. It seemed it had almost stopped.
Hovering above his limp body there was this big Labrador shaking his wet coat vigorously. He had heard the whines of the puppy and had ran to the ditch to pull him out. The skinny disheveled thing then realized that it hadn’t been the water which was dragging and thrusting him from the ditch, but this big dog who had saved him from certain death. Tired from his battle that he had almost lost, the puppy fainted on the edge of the ditch.
The Labrador threw himself over the puppy, scared that the little one had passed away. He smelled him, felt his little heart beating and slowly realised that the pup was just exhausted. The Labrador shook his wet coat one more time and took the pup by his scruff, exactly as the mother cats and dogs do with their young and proceeded to cross the road towards his house. Max, because that was the name of the rescuer, lived in a yard across the road. He could have heard the puppy sooner, but the torrential rain had muffled the whining sound of the puppy. As the rain started easing, the last desperate yelp of the puppy finally reached the ears of Max who ran across the street and found the pup just when the water was taking him.
Max put him on the doorstep and barked. The door opened mister Vali, Max’s master appeared sleepy in the doorway.
-Oh, my, what have you brought home? He asked annoyed when he saw the puppy.
It must be said that in that village, as in most of the villages in Romania, abandoning animals is a national sport. People are too lazy to castrate their dogs and cats, and when the females give birth, they just abandon the litter. That means that Mister Vali had witnessed hundreds of abandoned dogs in the villages, small and large, hence his annoyance and reaction at what lay at Max’s feet.
The pup had awoken from unconsciousness and he was staggering on the doorstep.
-Max, take him back to where you found it! Snapped Mister Vali.
Max did not move and his owner tried to grab the puppy to put him outside of his yard. Max was faster though, he jolted to the side and snatched the pup by the scruff, then dashed behind the house.
-Max, I’ll catch you, do you hear me! Mister Vali hollered. I will get him, you’ll see! We have four dogs already, where am I supposed to keep another one?
The family’s small dog, Blackie, had just had three puppies. One had already been adopted by someone in the village, so Max lived in his household with Blackie and two other pups.
Max had hidden behind the house with the skinny pup in his mouth. He then released his grip, laid on his belly and he stretched his paws forward creating a circle around the dirty pup that he was warming with his chest. In vain Mister Vali was snooping around in frustration. Whenever he approached, Max stretched his paws around the puppy. When nobody was around, he would leave the little one, run to fetch food, then snuggled the pup between his paws again.
Mister Vali eventually started laughing when he saw that there was no way to grab the skinny dog and get rid of him. He and his wife called the puppy Scuby and made peace with the idea that they would have five dogs. Now Scuby is a big dog, fat and beautiful, and still doesn’t let Max out of his sight. Mister Vali calls them “my boys” and tells everyone how Max saved Scuby from the ditch full of water and did not allow anyone to lay hands on him until he knew that the pup was safe. “Max is a special dog,” adds Mister Vali when he finishes his story. But my dogs and I who have met him, know that Max is not a special dog. He’s an angel.
The only real pictures show both dogs as adults. The ones showing Scuby as a puppy have been changed in Photoshop in order to illustrate the story.
Post written by Ana
Ana is a journalist and writer, the author of the book the Adventures of Riki, nominated for the best book for children at Gala Bun de Tipar-2014, the main literary competition of the Romanian book industry.
This is a blog created by three dogs, Riki, Pici, Bobi, a tomcat – Thomas, and a human – Ana.