It was my birthday. I languished in bed, warm and safe from the snowstorm outside, drifting in and out of sleep. I opened my eyes and fell in love. A small black and tan fuzzball with a warm pink tongue. Her eyes were barely the size of early peas and the color of black coffee. He placed her on the bed next to me as I slept and I was awakened by a furry snuggler under my chin.
Steve said ” I got her from a guy who was walking down the street with them in a shopping cart. I felt bad about not getting you a present and went out to get one when I saw the puppies. I know how much you love animals so I figured you’d like him” I giggled “um, this is a girl.” He frowned “WHAT?! I told him I wanted a boy” I slipped my arms around the pup and smiled “It’s ok. I’ve always had girl dogs. You did fine” He kissed me and stroked my hair from my eyes lovingly “Good. Now I gotta go get HER some food”
He got on his coat and left while I got up and fixed breakfast. The pup wandered all over the apartment, sniffing and licking everything. “What are we going to call you, little girl?” I asked the dog. She looked at me with those sweet brown eyes and proceeded to pee on the floor. As the urine flowed over the linoleum, I laughed. “Puddles it is then”
When Steve got back home, I informed him of her name. He laughed and shook his head “You gonna have to potty train her then, huh?” I wrinkled my nose and grinned “Yeah, kinda like I did with you huh?” He laughed and hugged me, the dog trying to get between us. I picked her up and hugged her, squirming and whimpering between us.
Three weeks later, on a warm Saturday that was rare for February in the Rockies, I took her for a walk. Scooter, the cat who was twice her size, walked with us. By this time he had decided the dog was his to guard and went everywhere with her. I walked down Colfax toward downtown, work the furthest thing from my mind. We were going to the park to hang out with Steve while he sold dope.
As I waited for the light to change, I saw one of my regulars at the light. He waved at me and motioned for me to come over. I shook my head and yelled over to him “I’m taking the day off!” I crossed the street in front of his car and kept walking.
He pulled into the alley two blocks down and waited for me to get to him. Getting out of his car, I saw him looking pissed. “No, Angel, you NEED to come with me. NOW!” He grabbed my arm and dragged me toward the car, his grip painful and bruising as my pup was dragged behind. She yelped as she was stepped on and fell.
He suddenly screamed and let me go, jumping away on one foot, as he beat at the cat who had attached himself to the mans calf by tooth and nail. I scooped up Puddles and ran down the street toward Steve and the safety of the park. The cat could take care of himself.
I got to the park, breathing hard from the four block run, and quickly spotted Steve. I raced over to him and told him what happened “You left the CAT there? God DAMNIT Angel, what the fuck’s wrong with you? He could kill him!” He yelled, striking me with his fist before he started toward the corner.
He stopped and stared toward the stoplight at the corner. He started laughing and I followed his line of sight. Sitting there, at the corner, was the cat. Licking his paws and waiting for the light.