Copyright [c] 2012 Barbie Perkins-Cooper, All Rights Reserved
Thursday, November 8, 2012 was a bitter day, with an early and cold winter’s chill for the fall in Charleston, South Carolina. The morning sunshine could not warm the grounds of the coastal area where Cletus was lost. He sniffed the coldness under his belly. Shivering, he was so tired, weak and getting thinner every day.
How long has it been since he ran away? Although he struggled to remember, his brain was tired from so many nights of little sleep. He dug deeper under the house. He heard the noise of a motor. Someone’s coming. I need to hide. She might see me again and this time, she might catch me.
With his docked tail tucked between his legs, he rushed away. The dark-skinned lady with white hair knew where he hid at night. She tried without luck to catch him but he always managed to move quicker than her crumpled body would permit. Cletus knew how to outsmart people. Yes, they were taller than he was. Bigger, and people had long arms that stretched out with fingers that felt more like shovels than something warm to touch him. His sandy blonde and cream-colored fur usually kept him warm, but this morning it was cold in Mt. Pleasant.
Cletus looked back as he moved. Why can’t I run like I did when I ran away? Why is every step feeling like I will fall down and never get up?
Cletus crept down under the bushes. She could not see him here. “Here little puppy. Come here to me. I got some food for you. You look so skinny. I just want to feed you little puppy.” The lady walked with a cane, dragging it behind her as she shook the food bowl. For three early mornings Cletus ate the food, warm with runny looking yellow grains of corn, oats, bread and other ingredients. Cletus didn’t care what it was. He ate every bite, wanting more.
Cletus heard the softness of her voice before. Yes, it was a nicer tone than before…in the puppy mill. When Cletus lived there all he ever heard was a harsh shouting of Move…get on over there…go do your work boy…now get! Cletus knew what to do and he rushed away before the bald-headed man with a belly that jiggled every time he moved, turned the water hose on again. He didn’t want to get wet again. The waters stung him every time they hit his tiny body. The waters made him feel like he was drowning. He didn’t want to drown. He wanted to hear the soft voice again…the gentle voice and the sweet words, “Cleet…Cleet…Come on Boy. It’s OK. No one will hurt you here.”
Cleetus curled into a ball to get warm. His tired eyes closed. Cleet. Cleet. He dreamed.