There are a lot of stray puppies in my neighborhood. Just about every morning I find a stray puppy in a laundry basket just inside my doorstep. I always take them in and spend the day getting to know them.
It’s a variety of breeds of I have adopted: Black Labs, Purple Labs, Chihuahaus, Westies and lately, a rash of Golden Retrievers. You might think that a stray would just be happy to be taken in to a safe home. These puppies are, but they’re also full of directions. “Pretend you’re going outside to check your garden and you find me.” I am often instructed in a whisper followed by a string of high pitched barks.
This morning the stage direction started just after breakfast, when I was trying to iron a shirt for Paul. “Pretend you’re going out into the woods for a walk and you think you see a dead dog, but it’s really me sleeping.”
“If I found a dead dog I would run screaming.”
“No. Pretend you wonder what’s in that den and then you see me.”
I assumed I was talking to a puppy, but it was actually a baby bear.
“I’m all alone because…” she paused to think up her story, “my Mama and Daddy and brother and sister bear are all dead.”
“Bad guys shot them and turned them into meat…actually they were good guys.”
“That’s so sad!” I had finished ironing so I bent over Jack’s kennel, where she was sitting waiting to be found. “Oh my goodness! What’s this? Is that a baby bear?”
She crawled around, blinked and turned her head winningly.
“Here girl! Come on girl!” I clucked and patted my leg.
She slowly crawled out of the kennel. “I was scared that you were going to turn me into meat.”
We walked, well I did, she crawled, past the bathroom where Paul was standing in a towel, shaving. I made the introductions and explained to him that the her family had been turned into meat.
“That’s sort of surprising,” he said, “bears aren’t normally prized for their meat.”
“Well, that’s what happened.” I said. Baby Bear just blinked up at us.
Since then she has made quite the den out of an upside down chair, a couple blankets and several pillows. She even has a small crystal vase with flowers tucked into the upended part of the chair. Wild animal animal she might be, but that doesn’t keep her from appreciating the finer things.