Snowy adopts a pup.
With everything running round her head, Lucy couldn’t
sleep. The other animals in the room
were sleeping peacefully, but Lucy just couldn’t settle properly. She wondered whom amongst the animals she’d
met that day would give her, a
“Hay pup,” Snowy yawned, “you all right little one?” Lucy, her mouth now dry with fear, couldn’t reply.
“Lucy isn’t it?” Snowy asked. Lucy nodded, still unable to speak.
“Why don’t you come and lie down beside me,” Snowy invited. Lucy looked at the snow tigress, at how large she was compared to her own small stature.
“Do I have a choice?” Lucy asked.
“You do,” Snowy replied, “I’m not forcing you into anything Lucy pup.” Lucy caught her breath, Snowy had called her “Lucy pup,” a term last used by her mother. Struggling not to burst into tears, Lucy lay down beside Snowy, Brushtail and Tilly making room for her.
“Can I hug you little pup?” snowy asked. Lucy nodded, still struggling not to cry.
Don’t call me Lucy pup again, please,” Lucy thought, “I’ll lose it totally if you do Snowy.” Lucy felt Snowy’s strong paws take hold of her, and then she was being hugged by the huge white tigress. Working her paws into Snowy’s fur, Lucy breathed deeply, trying to keep control of her emotions.
“You are so tiny Lucy pup,” Snowy said, “so very small.” Lucy buried her head in Snowy’s fur and let herself go totally.
“I’m sorry if I’ve upset you,” snowy said contritely. Lucy wiped her eyes with her paw:
“My mother used to call me Lucy pup,” the Labrador sobbed, “I was taken from her at two months old and thrown out by my human owners.
“I noticed you wore the mark of the human around your neck Lucy,” Snowy said.
“Oh, the collar you mean?” Lucy asked, “well, yes, that is the mark of the humans I suppose. Roly found me cowering in a ditch, that was why he called me Lucky. Because I was Lucky really, even though my name is Lucy.” Snowy smiled and took Lucy’s tiny left forepaw in her massive right and began to massage it. Lucy snuggled closer, her tears now dry.
“Do you mind me calling you Lucy pup Lucy?” Snowy asked. Lucy touched Snowy’s whiskers with her free forepaw.
“No Snowy I don’t,” the Labrador replied, “I like it.” Snowy began to groom Lucy methodically. The Labrador pup, though not used to being groomed, less still groomed by a big cat, found the experience very pleasant. Snowy worked with her teeth, tongue and paws to thoroughly groom Lucy from ears to paws. Lastly, Snowy examined each one of Lucy’s tiny paws, Lucy now unafraid of the snow tigress, and willing to let her examine her. Snowy found scuffed pads and broken claws on each of Lucy’s paws. Snowy knew she could do little for Lucy’s scuffed pads, and that only time would heal them. She could, however, do something about the state of the pup’s claws. Lifting the edge of the rug on which she slept, snowy found what she was looking for. A nail file dropped by the boss some time ago. He never missed it, and Snowy had squirreled it away because she’d thought it an interesting find. Taking the handle of the file in her teeth, Snowy rasped the rough edge against Lucy’s broken claws. Lucy whimpered in protest, for she found the vibration of the rasping uncomfortable.
“I’ll go gently,” Snowy said, gently rasping away the rough edges of each of Lucy’s claws until she was happy with the result. Once this was done, Snowy blew the dust off the file and replaced it in her hiding place. Lucy, her claws now filed, found her paws were throbbing mercilessly. Explaining this to Snowy, Lucy wondered what the snow tigress would do. What she did to remedy the situation worked a treat. Snowy massaged each and every one of Lucy’s paws until the pup’s discomfort had vanished. Lucy settled down finally, spending the night with snowy half tail.
Snowy examined the sleeping Labrador pup. She’d never seen anyone so in need of protection, apart from cubs of course. This pup was so defenceless, so young too. Lucy still had her soft puppy fur on her, and she was so small. Snowy examined Lucy, from her floppy ears, to the pads of her tiny paws. Snowy felt the usual emotions which meant she was rapidly falling in love with yet another defenceless creature. Snowy had long ago given up trying to fight her natural instinct to protect anything smaller than herself, and now accepted her calling in life. As with Brushtail, Whitie, Blanche and Tilly before, Lucy had captured Snowy’s heart. Snowy had a lot of love for everyone, and she knew by the end of her examination of Lucy, that she loved the Labrador pup. Even though it might be considered unnatural for her to look after a pup of a domestic dog breed, snowy didn’t care. Lucy was a pup who needed protecting. In truth, snowy saw no difference between the cubs she looked after and Lucy. Lucy was a pup, not a cub, but she could easily be a cub in Snowy’s eyes.
Lucy slept on, and making sure she had a paw permanently on Lucy’s, Snowy too fell asleep.
The next day, the whole house was woken to banging on the front door. Snowy heard Bruin’s yell of:
“will you shut that noise up!”
“I need help, please!” a voice on the other side of the door yelled.
“Oh yeah yeah yeah, like you do,” Bruin yelled back, “it’s six in the morning, who are you?”
“I’m a snow leopard, my name’s Salty!” Bruin opened the front door on the chain and looked Salty over. The large male snow leopard looked desperately at Bruin.
“Do you own this place?” Salty asked. Bruin looked at the snow leopard through the gap in the door.
“I don’t own this place,” Bruin replied, “I’m not sure what you want.”
“I’m so frightened and alone!” Salty mewed, “I’m lost, I slept out in the open for ages. I was thrown out of a zoo far from here, and |I need sanctuary! I did nothing wrong, I promise!” Bruin went to close the door, but the snow leopard put his paw in the way. Bruin tried to slam the door, but the leopard’s paw was in the way.
“We’re full!” Bruin yelled. Salty’s eyes pleaded with the angry bear.
“You’re crushing my paw in the door!” Salty whimpered. Bruin spat at the huge leopard.
“take your paw from the door and then it won’t be crushed will it!” Bruin yelled. The snow leopard began to cry as he removed his paw and the door slammed in his face.
“I’m genuine, I need help!” the poor leopard sobbed.
“Bye!” Bruin yelled, slamming the door home.
“Leo watched, disgusted with Bruin.
“You are a horrid creature Bruin!” Leo yelled, physically throwing the bear aside, Bruin landing on the carpet. Leo released the chain and opened the door. Salty, still crying with pain and fear, gazed apathetically at the lion.
“Come in Salty, please,” Leo said. Salty massaged his aching paw, and once he could walk on it, he entered the house. The warmth washed over the snow leopard as he walked into the house. Shivering with pleasure, Salty padded into the lounge, gazing in amazement at the other animals in the room.
“Let me talk to you for a minute,” Leo said. Salty looked desperately at Leo.
“I’ll do anything, anything!” Salty sniffed, “You can examine me from nose to tail, look at my paws, anything! I’ll even roll onto my back and let you tickle my paws!” Leo saw how desperate the poor leopard was.
“I don’t want to examine your paws or anything like that,” Leo said.
“what do you want me to do!” the poor leopard yelled.
“Just relax,” Leo said, “you’re safe here.” Salty stared at him.
“I’m safe?” he asked, “can I stay?” Leo thrust out a paw to Salty and took his.
“You are safe, and you can stay here, I promise you are welcome to stay.” Salty began to cry once more, Leo speaking gently to the weeping leopard.
“It’s okay, I promise it’s okay Salty,” Leo said gently, stroking Salty’s paws.
Meanwhile, Bruin was getting a hiding from Clarence.
?”how dare you turn an animal away!” the lion yelled into Bruin’s face. Bruin spat at Clarence.
“That snow leopard could have coped on his own, he’s just a big wimp!” Bruin yelled. Clarence smacked Bruin across the nose with his paw!
“You remember my paws Bruin?” Clarence asked, “well, you’ll dam well not forget them now!” Clarence booted Bruin out of the room and up the stairs, kicking the disgraced bear into the spare room and slamming the door! Returning to the lounge, Clarence approached the now calm Snowy leopard.
“Did you say your name was Salty?” Clarence asked. Salty nodded.
“My name’s Clarence,” Clarence said, giving Salty his paw. Salty held Clarence’s paw and looked into the lion’s face and saw a gentle creature.
“Welcome home Salty,” Clarence said. Salty’s eyes filled with tears as he looked at Clarence,.
“I can’t relax, not yet.”
Look mister Salty,” Portia said, going up to the huge snow leopard, “you’re safe here, you can stay here, now please relax and enjoy yourself.” Salty looked down at the tiny female lion cub.
“but you’re only a cub,” he said, “how can you tell me what to do?”
“Because she’s my cub,” Leo replied. Salty accepted Portia’s words then, he had no real choice.
“Thank you for letting me stay,” Salty said.
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