Cap’s Angel by Pamela Jenkins
The cold wind rattled the window near my chair as I sat at my desk, going through bills that needed to be paid. I was thankful I didn’t have to go outside in the nippy air. The forecast was for a hard freeze that night. It was a good day to stay indoors. Suddenly, a sharp rap on the window startled me.
I looked up to see my husband peering in. He gestured for me to come outside. With a groan, I stood up and slipped on a jacket. I would have preferred to stay where I was nice and warm, instead of venturing out in the chill.
Outside, I found my husband talking to our friend, Tony, who is an animal control officer. They stood next to Tony’s truck where there was a break from the wind. I was about to suggest that we all go indoors when my husband pointed at something lying in the back of the truck. I stepped closer for a better look. It was a small terrier, emaciated and dirty. He was shivering in the cold. His eyes were matted and he had several bite wounds that were infected.
“I picked up this little stray today,” Tony said. “He’s in pretty bad shape, and I don’t think he’s going to make it…”
I leaned over and whispered, “Hey, sweetie.” The little terrier stood up on shaky legs. He squinted at me and slowly wagged his tail. I gasped, because it was then I realized that it was a wire fox terrier, the same breed as our dog, Tell. That was as far as the resemblance went, however. Tell was healthy and well kept, but this fellow was in such poor condition that his future was uncertain. I felt a tug at my heart when I heard my husband say, “My wife wants him.”
Tony seemed to hesitate, as if he weren’t sure we were prepared for the task ahead of us. As he handed the dog to me, I was surprised at how feather-light the little body felt. I murmured my thanks as I hugged the dog tightly and hurried indoors. The first order of business was to fill that empty tummy. I poured a bowl full of dog food, and turned around to see the dog’s ears perk up and his attention on the dish. “Nothing wrong with your appetite,” I said with a smile as I watched him eat with gusto.
After licking the bottom of the bowl, he curled himself on some warm blankets I laid out for him. In a few moments he was fast asleep, exhausted but no longer starving. Later that afternoon, shampoo and towels in hand, I gave him a bath. Layers of dirt and debris were rinsed off, and his bite wounds were cleaned. As I unbuckled his soiled collar, I realized this was someone’s pet. How unfortunate that he had no identification tags to help locate his owner.
After a second bowl of food was gulped down, the terrier snuggled in his blankets for another nap. I told my husband, “He’s bright and alert, eating well, and I think he’s going to make it.” My husband seemed skeptical and warmed me that we still had a long way to go before this dog was healthy again. In spite of his warning, I went to bed happily thinking of a name to call our little guest.
Tell was named after a Louis L’Amour character. I hoped another character’s name would be a perfect fit. I decided we would call him Cap after the feisty little cowpoke that befriended the Sackett family in so many L’Amour western novels.
The next morning, a happy little dog with a terrible case of diarrhea met me. My husband asked, “Just how much did you feed him yesterday? You know, you almost killed him with kindness.” He gave a chuckle as I cleaned up the results of my “kindness”. I couldn’t help myself, I told him. Poor Cap had looked a little hollow and needed filling out. I vowed to feed in moderation after that episode, and I have to think Cap agreed with the new menu.
We took things one day at a time, and Cap slowly began to put on weight. His wounds healed and hair began to grow back in bald places. One day I noticed I couldn’t feel his ribs or hipbones anymore, and that hollow look was gone forever. After several weeks of searching for his owner with no results, we decided that little Cap was here to stay. Of course, Tell was ecstatic to have a companion to spend time with. What could be merrier than a wire fox terrier?
I have to say it would be having two terriers in the house. Double the trouble and twice the fun, that’s their motto! Whether digging holes in the yard, treeing squirrels, or raiding their toy box and scattering squeakies through the house, those boys are busy sunup to sundown with their mischief.
This morning, I looked out the kitchen window at Tell and Cap romping in the yard. I felt a surge of pride in my two beautiful little terriers, well groomed and wearing matching collars. I hope that if the unthinkable happens again, they’ll both be safely returned to their home with the help of their ID tags. I know it only takes a second for one to slip out the door or gate, and they’re off on a great adventure that could have disastrous results. I love my guys and want them to be safe always.
As my husband walked up behind me, he asked, “Any idea what you want for your birthday this year?” I considered my pair of mischief-makers that have brought so much joy into our home, and a husband that knows my heart. After a moment, I turned to give Cap’s angel a hug and tell him I already had all I could ever want!