Sometimes humans rescue the animals; sometimes animals rescue the humans. The dynamic between people and animals can run deep. Pets provide comfort or express distress just as we can do in return. Wildlife is not exempt from these stories, either.
This week writers found a variety of critters to rescue or do the rescuing. The prompt, issued by a writer facing terminal cancer, is one that brought meaning to her life. Kate learned animal rescue from her father who fostered animals that raised other orphans, like a hen who hatched and raised a duckling or a cow that took on drop calves. Animals are worth rescue and our compliance is a measure of our humanity.
The following stories are based on the June 10, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about an animal rescue.
Saved by Sarah Brentyn
Her locks didn’t work.
That was what she hated most. Not the dripping bathroom faucet, the fridge that kept her food cold every other Thursday, the heat that warmed her only on full moons in August. It was the doors that didn’t lock.
She thought about this, a familiar unsettling feeling creeping into the crevices of her mind and sticking there like spilled honey left on the countertop.
“John,” she reached out, “who’s my little Locke? Who’s the smartest, bravest pound puppy in the world?” She kissed his nose.
The intruder, outside her window, saw the Doberman and left.
Fit for A King by Dave Madden
At my elementary school’s annual harvest festival, it went without question that I went home with two things: a cake and a goldfish. Inevitably, the cake was dry, and the goldfish would die.
Not Ben. Eerily enough, I anticipated Ben’s departure with each passing day beyond the typical fourteen-hour grace period of every other visitor to what was now Ben’s home.
6 years later…
Ben picketed for more space. I scooped him up from the ground and gave him a tank that was fit for Midas! A lively shade of gold; he swam a new tune.
14 hours later…
Out on a Limb by A. R. Amore
Something hit the ground hard behind me. A baby squirrel fell from a nest in the tree. His siblings looked down. “You guys are in trouble,” I said.
He lay still looking quite dead. I turned to get my rake to dispose of his body, and he moved slightly. Noticing me watching, he went back to being dead.
Fill a basket with leaves; put him in the basket; place it on a branch in the tree as high as possible. Momma will bring him home.
The next morning the basket was on the ground; four heads filled the nest.
A Gift by Rebecca Patajac
Hiding beneath the roots of a grand gum, she heard the tiny sobs.
Her charge had been playing outdoors again. Did she hurt herself?
The fairy, wings tucked away, peered through grass above. She could see the side of the little girl, hands cupped, tears dripping onto dusty clothes. Something hung out of her fingers.
Should she let her cry? Her heart ached.
It was still so warm and so soft too.
Why wasn’t it moving?
Something buzzed past the little girl.
Her palm itched and she opened her hands.
She gasped as the mouse looked up at her.
Second Chances for Everyone by Roger Shipp
Alvin giggled as the charcoal gray Shih Tzu backed unto his hind legs and pawed the floor and yelping every time Alvin went to pet him. “Mamma,” Alvin gleefully squealed. “He’s so cute. Why won’t he let me pet him?”
Mamma’s piercing blue eyes met the all-knowing eyes of the lead instructor. “He recognizes Alvin’s condition. Doesn’t he?”
“I believe so,” nodded the instructor.
Alvin suddenly tripped and fell to the ground. The puppy wasted no time running to his side and gave a resounding yelp.
“I think this is the one we want.” Relief washed over Mamma’s face.
Play-Date Rescue by Paula Moyer
Jean and Chuck chatted with Leo when he and his guide dog, Honey, stopped. Leo often kissed Lucy, their Lab.
“Honey spends so much time working,” Leo said one day. “Her harness is on the minute we leave the house. She needs time to be a dog.”
Jean and Chuck were puzzled. Be a dog?
“Could we go with to you to the dog park and let her play with Lucy?”
The afternoon meet-up happened on schedule Lucky – no other dogs. Harness off – zoom! Chase! An hour later, she and Lucy licked each other and crashed, paw on paw.
Stormy Rescue by Ann Edall-Robson
The lightning illuminated the night as the thunder cracked overhead and water poured from the sky.
Ten miles from home is where he found her. Muddied ground was all that was left of the pasture floor beneath her shaking body.
Tangled vines of ferocious barbed wire encased her slender legs. Head down and exhausted, sweat poured off her body, mingled with rivulets of rain and blood.
Easing his hand down the mare’s shoulder, the wire cutters reached their target.
Stitches, some poultices and TLC would make things right for the mare.
How she got here would have to wait.
Racing the Shore by Melissa Hinzman
I ruffled the fur of his neck as we gazed across the river. Charlie, my aging protector. Always the first to greet me at the door and the last to take his eyes off me whenever I left the room. He had been my constant companion for ten years and it was hard to believe that we were sitting here again; the very spot where our bond was forged years ago. I silently thanked my father for the gift of Charlie and unhooked his leash.
“What do you say, boy? One more adventure?”
And we raced along the shore.
Break Out by Norah Colvin
Your wide-open eyes fix on me through bars, imploring and accusing at the same time.
Why am I here? Don’t leave me! I don’t – want – to be here! I want – to go – home!
My heart tightens in a vice-like squeeze. My palms sweat and hands tremble.
I meet your stare with overwhelming hopelessness and helplessness.
I didn’t know . . . I thought . . . I never meant . . . I thought it would help.
They close the door, turn the key and lead you away.
“Damn those rules!” I scream silently, futilely planning your rescue.
A Wing and a Prayer by Geoff Le Pard
‘It was an allergic reaction to the rose spray.’ Paul explained to the neighbours. ‘She needs rest.’
Mary sighed. People were kind but couldn’t they leave her alone? She could barely stand unaided just now; Paul set her up, with a blanket and a book and left her to enjoy the feeble sunshine.
Yesterday, she had watched the blue tits feeding their young. Today she noticed movement by the fox gloves. She shuffled to the flowerbed, feeling shaky. A small chick had fallen. It took all her strength to slip it into the nest. Would the little thing survive?
If you’d like to read the back story to Mary and her family, please click here.
Animal Rescue by Irene Waters
“I have to turn round and get him off the road.”
“No. You’ll kill us and I don’t want to see it run over just as we get there.”
The car turns arriving at the tortoise just as a car comes from the other direction. It runs over the shell now stationary in the centre of the road. Arms, legs and head all pulled in for safety. I jump out and grab him.
“His shell’s cracked in half. He’s going to die.”
“No he won’t. I’ll save him.”
Once home Roger fibreglassed the shell making it intact. It lived.
The Cobra Strategy by Pat Cummings
Tense bodies stressed the grass on either side of the cobra curve. A step, and the Rinkhals snapped right to Mubi’s movement. While the venomous glare was directed at him, Vala took a single step from the left.
Turn about, the pair stalked closer to the spitting cobra. He couldn’t “see” them; every time his eyes fell on a cat, it was frozen in place, and the cat behind him stepped closer.
Any moment it could spew airborne venom at my cats. At last, an opening! My push-broom pinned it, and I severed its head with a kitchen knife.
Man’s Best Friend by Pete Fanning
Max didn’t like her scent. She was a vegetarian for starters, she wasn’t a sports fan and didn’t watch television. Even still, the man was hopeless.
Eight years of blissful chin scratches and now…her. Max had to act. Before the emasculation was complete. He’d been there.
He nosed a mouse onto her pillow. He marked her clothes. The leather shoes were a treat.
It took a week before the ultimatum came down. Max steeled himself, head cocked with faithful intensity. The man looked from dog to woman. They left to discuss it.
When the man returned he had steak.
Role Reversal by Larry LaForge
Ed sat high on the roof scooping gutter debris when his foot bumped the ladder, sending it to the ground.
Edna’s Balinese cat, Essex, woke from the thud. Essex saw Ed stranded on the roof near the very same tree from which Ed rescued her yesterday.
Essex scooted inside and plopped on Edna’s lap, crushing the newspaper she was reading. Edna saw terror in her cat’s eyes. “What’s wrong?”
Edna followed Essex outside, saw Ed’s dilemma, and called for a neighbor to right the ladder. A relieved Ed climbed down.
We’re even, Essex purred in language no one understood.
Rescue Dog by Sarah Unsicker
The mutt came into my life as a puppy. Was my son’s dog, really, but he and his sister wormed their way into my heart.
He was my comforter, my best friend in the days following my son’s death. He was my shoulder to cry on, the goof to make me smile. His was the life that held mine up.
Saying goodbye broke my heart in two pieces. I lost my son again when I lost that dog.
Friends lift me up now, but for how long? They are not the constant companion of one who is always underfoot.
Paying It Forward by Christina Rose
She sat on the tailgate, greasy hair plastered to her sad face, shoulders perpetually slumped. I heard them before I saw them. Eight weeks old, yips and squeals echoing from piles of musty towels thrown in the back of her truck, surrounded by her life.
“Want a puppy?” asked the homeless woman.
Declining, I offered instead to buy dog food, other necessities, food for her. Eyes lit up, gratitude spreading across her sullen face. An hour later I returned with bags of groceries, bags of puppy food.
A simple act of kindness, praying those puppies are safe and loved.
Doc to the Rescue by Charli Mills
Ramona irrigated the dog’s wounds with hydrogen peroxide. He huddled on the bathroom floor, his brown eyes woeful. She’d called every vet in the phonebook and the answer was the same, “No. Payment due in full.” Only one man offered to come. She found the strange dog wounded in her barn. Those darn twins left the doors wide open, again. Never mind. She’d deal with those two truants later when they returned. A knock at the door, and Ramona rose to answer it.
“Thank you for coming,” she said to her new MD. At least he cared about animals.
The Twins Find a Dog by Charli Mills
The twins played among pines, leaping from one bough to another.
“Shh,” said one twin to the other.
A soft whimper rose from the base of a Ponderosa pine.
“A dog! Mama would love a dog!”
Gently, the twins prodded the dog to stand. He quivered, his nose detecting nothing, but feeling compelled, he walked until he came to a barn. Slowly, doors opened and he entered to find a blanket draped over hay. He collapsed in a heap.
The twins hung out in the lilac bush outside Mama’s window and sang her awake. “The barn, Mama, the barn.”