Fragile. For all their desire to live, two-week-old kittens are incredibly fragile. I give a lot of credit to cat mothers who nurture and raise strong, healthy kittens. I’ve found it takes hard work, sacrifice, and stamina to keep a kitten alive. The picture you see is Mojo at three-almost-four weeks old. I finally feel confident that he’s not going to die.
Mojo came to me when he was one-going-on-two weeks old. The feral mother had gone AWOL and the rest of his littermates had perished. Mojo, his eyes not yet open, had been forced into a blind, desperate dash for life across my mother’s front porch. He had screamed his head off as he ran and had gotten my mom’s attention. She had grabbed him just before he went off the edge of the seven-foot drop. No one with an ounce of humanity would have done otherwise.
What we didn’t know about keeping neonatal kittens alive could have filled an encyclopedia. What I did know was that the frequent feeding schedule was not going to be good for my mom’s health, so I took on the quest of keeping Mojo breathing. Thanks to the Kitten Lady, I quickly got up to speed on what supplies were needed, the frequency of feeding such a young animal (turns out, every two freakin’ hours), how to syringe feed without drowning him, how to stimulate him to eliminate, and how to keep the critter warm enough to sustain life. I set my phone to alarm every two freakin’ hours because no one with an ounce of humanity could let a kitten die when he wanted so badly to live. (Apparently, I own exactly one ounce of humanity because I am NOT doing this again.)
It was in this sleep-deprived state that I left with Rich to go to a Search and Rescue business meeting. I had fed the little beast right before we left to give us ample time before Mojo needed his next feeding. Just as our car reached the bottom of the driveway, two big black dogs darted behind a neighbor’s houses across the street. They ran with the exhilaration of dogs who had temporarily slipped the surly bonds of their earthly owners. I yelled for Rich to stop the car. A vague memory of these dogs behind a fence in a nearby neighbor’s yard flitted through my groggy brain. With a sigh, I resigned myself to doing more peopling than anticipated that evening. Leaving the car, I walked up this other neighbor’s driveway and called to the dogs.
As a K9 handler, I have the magical ability to pitch my voice to make dogs believe that whatever I’m suggesting is a great thing to do. The dogs came running, tails wagging, and dove into our neighbor’s open garage. I followed them in and called for the homeowners. No one answered. I could not leave the dogs in an open garage, since we’d be back to square one, so I knocked on the door leading to their house. The dogs lined up behind me, ready and eager to enter. When no one answered, I decided I was not up for complex problem solving after so many nights with so little sleep, so I opened the door and let the dogs into the house. Calling for the homeowners from the doorway got no response, so I closed the door firmly, making sure the dogs couldn’t get out again. Before leaving, I scribbled a note to give the owners a heads up that their dogs were somehow getting loose.
As we drove down the street, doubt crept up my spine like a colony of fire ants. I turned to Rich and made my confession. “I’m not 100% certain that was the house where the black dogs live.”
Rich furrowed his brow, thinking hard. “Did you sign the note ‘Reyna & Rich’ or ‘Rich & Reyna’ ?”
Tiny drops of sweat prickled along my hairline. Facing forward, I adjusted my seat belt. “I think you should drive faster.”
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Soul Search and Soul Scent, novels of supernatural suspense, have been described as Dean Koontz’s Odd Thomas meets Piers Anthony’s On a Pale Horse. Readers have praised these novels for the very human stories behind the hauntings that create unexpected plot twists, drama, and even moments of humor. The Zackie Stories are available for purchase on Amazon and are free on Kindle Unlimited.
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