By P. Berman, K. Hecht & A. Hosack
I deserve this. I am so worthless. All I had to do was get off the bus. I couldn’t even do that right.
Claire didn’t ask the bus driver for help. She didn’t think she deserved help from anyone. She had made this mistake. She would have to fix it herself. Awash in thoughts that she was always wrong, she was always stupid, and she was always a waste of space, she kept moving her feet in what she thought was the right direction. Claire had learned so much from the Carsons and from school. But, none of this mattered now. Her achievements were drowning in her memories of past pain.
As she walked down the street, the sun finished setting and the few people still outside, didn’t notice the tears slowly pouring down Claire’s face. If she had been on time, there would have been a bustle of people rushing home for dinner. Everyone seemed to have gotten home but her; of course, she was the only one who couldn’t remember a simple thing like to get off the bus at her stop. She had managed to walk about a mile. Surely, she could get home in twenty more minutes…she hoped.
What was that? Am I hearing things?
She suddenly stopped moving and tried to focus her attention on the sounds on the street. There it was again! Where was it coming from- it was so soft and sounded so sad. It was gone. Was she imagining it? Did it matter? Did anything she did matter? Was it just a little louder over in this direction? Claire knelt right at the corner of a badly kept yard. The house on it looked neglected too. There it was- the maker of the sounds. A small undernourished dog looked up at Claire. She put out her hand carefully and didn’t move. Slowly the dog came out of the grass.
It came up to Claire and sniffed her hand. She gently rubbed his head with her other hand, and it licked her palm; it tickled.
Davy would love this! Why is this cute little dog so skinny? Where does it belong?
Claire picked up the dog and continued to stroke it gently. She looked around and went up to the nearest house and knocked tentatively on the door. She was afraid but this little dog needed food. It had probably gotten lost. A man came to the door and asked her politely what she wanted. She indicated she found this dog in the abandoned lot next to his house. He said it had belonged to the prior owners of the house next door who had disappeared suddenly with all their belongings about two weeks ago.
Was it an accident that the dog was left behind? Did they decide it was a waste of space like me?
Claire thanked the man for his help and continued walking towards home, holding the little dog close to her and stroking its head. She didn’t know what would happen to the dog, but she was sure Mr. Carson would know what to do. Davy would get a chance to pet this dog and have its little tongue tickle his hand. Claire was walking very slowly because she was so tired, but she had to keep moving- the dog needed food. She’d never had a pet growing up. She had been taught that animals as pets were a waste of time and food.
Stopping for a moment to take a break, Claire looked down on this little dog, now fast asleep. It would probably take a lot of money to feed this dog and get it back up to its proper weight. It clearly didn’t expect much from life, look how quickly it had accepted her. For a moment she imagined keeping the dog. She could see Davy chasing it around the back woods- laughing. What a stupid idea. She could barely care for Davy. She couldn’t add a dog to her list of responsibilities. It wouldn’t be fair to ask the Carson’s to look after it while she was at work. They were already helping her so much with Davy.
It seemed like such a sweet little dog. Who were the people who’d left it behind?
If you walk by someone else’s property and see a potentially neglected or abused animal, this could be a warning sign that people on the property are also being abused or neglected. If you are interested in learning about the connections between mistreatment of animals and mistreatment of people, consider clicking on the link below: