Buddy’s Blanket

Fiction

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     Hey, Buddy, I wanted to let you know that I am going to let another little animal use your blanket. I know, I know, I told you just before you left for the Rainbow Bridge that no other animal would ever use it, but then I didn’t plan on having another little animal in my life. It just sort of happened.

     And remember, I told you that it was Tinker’s blanket before it was yours. She was a small Chi- mix like you. I showed you her pictures and wished that the two of you could have met in life so you could play together. Well, after she went off to the Rainbow Bridge, I told her too that I would never have another little animal in my life, then I met you.

     As soon as I saw your little 6-pound body inside that big Humane Society of Ventura County’s kennel, I suppose I knew that I couldn’t keep my pledge to Tinker, who also lived in one of their kennels until I took her home.

    You were afraid of me when I first stepped inside your kennel with a plan on taking you for a walk. You wouldn’t let me touch you and I knew this was due to the neglect you suffered at the hands of your former owners. I also knew that HSVC had taken great care of you in the year you lived with them and that you were very popular with all the staff and visitors. Still, I was a new human to you, so you were afraid I’d be like those others who treated you badly. It took a few visits, and lots of doggy treats, but eventually, you’d walk with me and sit on my lap under a tree to get out of the hot Ojai sun.

     After this breakthrough, you’d start your cute yelping every time you saw me enter VCHS yard. People would comment about how much you how much you seemed to love me and wondered when I would adopt you, even though some knew of my vow to Tinker. After a few months, and one false start, I brought you home to stay while knowing that at 13 years old with a variety of illnesses you may not be with me much longer. That didn’t matter. I wanted to spend your remaining days loved and happy while curled up safe and warm in Tinker’s blanket which was now yours.

     During your time with me, I took you everywhere, even to places where dogs were not allowed because no one would turn you away. Your cute little face, small body, and loving attitude made everyone love you. I called you my Little Shadow, which made people laugh as they petted or hugged you.

     On the last night, when I put you to bed with your blanket around you, I knew you’d be gone by sunrise and that you would know that you were loved. That helped ease my grief, but even now, over two years later, I cry for you because I loved you so much.

     Then Kitty Cat came to me.

     I haven’t named her, as such, since I don’t think she really belongs to me. I have never had a cat, so I don’t know if anyone can own a cat. Usually, I think, it is the cat that owns the human.

     But I don’t know.

     She started hanging out in the backyard about a year and a half past. She’d come to hunt and eat the lizards in my garden, which I didn’t like because lizards are a goodness. So, I started putting out food for her to see if she’d stop her predatory ways. It didn’t work, but I still put food out in case she didn’t catch her dinner.

     Often, I’d call to her, but she’d just run off or keep eating until I approached her before running away.      Then, about a month ago, she came over to me when I called her. She, like you, was afraid at first, so I just let her rub against my legs, like cats do until she let me pet her. Now, she knows that I would never hurt her and that I care about her well- being, so she will sit on my lap and sleep when she drops by.

      I began to worry about what she did and where she went at night since she can’t be an indoor cat due to your mommy’s allergies, so I put a box, with a towel in it, out for her hoping she’d sleep in it at night but each day when I got up, I’d look for her and she was not there. That is when I thought I'd put your blanket in the box. I guess there must be some magic in that blanket, because now I find her in the box every day.

     I like to think that Kitty Cat feels the love that you and Tinker left in that old piece of cloth when you left me and that she knows that the love is real.

     When, and if, Kitty Cat goes away someday, I will still keep your blanket with me just in case I find another little animal needs to share the love left in it by all my small, happy, little friends.

Since May of 1976, John Darling has