by Christina M. Cox
(White Cloud, Michigan)
I was four and half when things began to go awry. Hearing the tension escalating in the house made me nervous. Mom left and shortly after so did my dad. The sun was setting bringing a chill in the air. Serenity took me over and I fell into a deep slumber until awakened by morning traffic. The house remained silent in an eerie sort of way.
The sun rose and set for several days without a trace of my owners. All I could think about was filling my belly with food and water. The trampled yellow and brown snow gave little relief. Bound by the short and heavy chain around my neck I was doomed.
As I began to give up hope, a rumble of a familiar vehicle coming up the drive resonated in my ears. With eager anticipation, I barked with delight. Grandma had come. She released me from my chain and away we went. After a long journey, we arrived at a house. My dad came out, grabbed me by the neck, and chained me to a tree. His angry voice echoed in my head. My elation quickly turned to bewilderment. What had I done wrong?
My heart raced with fear in a strange place with no food, water, or shelter to comfort me. As time went by things did not change. When Dad walked past me, he ignored my cries. My head pounded with every move as nausea and cold envelops me. My fur, once soft and full, was now thin and coarse hanging from my boney frame.
Just when I thought I was invisible, a dog came up to play with me. Searing pain rippled through my body as the dogs teeth tore into my neck, reopening an old gunshot wound. A few days latter, I developed an infection and puss was seeping out. I am dying and nobody cares.
Forlorn and abandoned, God had heard my cries and sent an angel in disguise. There before me stood a pair of black boots. A woman looked down at me with loving tears in her eyes. She reached out and gently cradled my head. The warmth of her body against mine comforted me. She brought me food and water. Famished, I devoured it as quickly as I could. She snuggled with me and then went away.
As I lay in the window well, shivering from the cold night air, I wondered if I would ever see her again. The next morning I dragged my aching body up and began to watch the cars going by. Before long, a vehicle pulled up and a recognizable pair of black boots stepped out. My heart sank when she confronted my dad. After an angry exchange, she laid down beside me on the cold ground and held me until I drifted asleep.
When I awoke, there was a huge wooden structure next to me filled with straw. With apprehension, I joined her in the doghouse. An irresistible smell was emanating from her coat. She laughed with glee as I poked my nose into her pockets to discover what this new smell was. When I could no longer contain my excitement, she handed me what she called treats. As I lay next to her savoring the mouth-watering strips of meat, she gently brushed my long matted fur. Before she left, she put some "medicine" on my neck. For the first time in my life, I felt like I had reciprocated love.
For four months, her loyalty never faltered. During this time I was told how she would love to take me home with her but her apartment was no place for a big dog like me. She had already arranged for another location. Before any move could be made, we had to have permission from dad. Even though he did not want me, he was being peculiarly stubborn.
With my renewed strength, I was able to do my night duties alerting the neighborhood of sirens and strange noises. My neighbors did not appreciate my job and called the police. Nervous from a prior history of run-ins with the law, my dad granted us permission to leave.
My rescue involved four people and two car rides. Our destination was far away. When we arrived it was dark and I could smell all types of interesting animals. Even though excitement ran through me, I was exhausted and could not wait to lie down on my new bed.
The next day my adopted mom showered me with love while checking my physical condition. Concerned, she called the vet and made an appointment. I had to have emergency surgery. It turned out that the exposed wound on my neck was at least a year old. The bullet went in by my throat straight through to the back of my neck leaving a trail of shrapnel and hair. The vet said it was amazing I was alive considering the fact the bullet miraculously missed my arteries and spinal chord. I also tested positive for heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis) a parasitic roundworm that is spread from host to host through the bites of mosquitoes. I was too weak to have Immiticide so they opted for a two-year Heartguard Plus treatment instead.
The years have gone by and I am no longer anonymous. I have grown from thirty pounds to a whopping healthy hundred and ten-pound Great Pyrenees. Grateful for being saved, my constant smile provided me with my new name Happy. As I look back and remember the events in my life, my angel is prominent. Through her relentless efforts, I believe that God spared my life so I could share my story with you. Many other neglected animals like me, need your help. You can make a difference!
Christina M. Cox
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Below are the books I've written so far.
An illustrated children's book about the life and death of Tutankhamun. This book was chosen for the "King Tut - Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh" tour that travels the world (10 cities) starting in March 2018 (Los Angeles > Paris > London > Sydney)