by Katerina Lorenzatos Makris ~
Tonight, Violetta, you are alone.
As a thunderstorm lashes and drenches our island, still in the grip of this long cold winter, you huddle on concrete in a greasy corner of the builder’s supply store warehouse, or perhaps in mud under the tall grasses of the open field, or on gravel under the rubbish bin.
For the first time in your young life, you are without the warmth and comfort and reassurance of your mother and brother.
Three days ago, your mother vanished.
Today, three women came and trapped your brother. You ran and evaded them. But from your hiding place you could hear your brother’s screams of terror and his snarls and growls as he tried, unsuccessfully, to scare them all away.
He is gone now too. They took him. You are alone.
I am one of the women who took your brother, Violetta. As I write this, I can barely see through tears. Because I wish I had taken your mother a few days ago, when I had the chance, before she disappeared. Because today we failed to take you too. Because I don’t know how we’ll ever catch you. Because where you live is no place for a puppy. Because it’s no place for a dog.
Where you’ve been living is a place for large dead things—pipes and forklifts and sheets of roof tin—not for little live things. It’s a place for steel and cement and plastics, not soft fur. It’s a place for rolling, crunching tires, not quietly padding paws. It’s a place for sparks flying and fuels leaking and glass breaking, not curious velvety muzzles.
It’s a place of men who may or may not like you. Of some who stamp their boots and clap and shout and throw empty cans and cigarette packs to chase you away. Of some who have perhaps done worse. Of others who wish you no harm, but have no time, while at their demanding and dangerous jobs, to show you much kindness.
You fear us all, Violetta. You fear even me after all the hours, adding up to days, that I’ve spent sitting near you and feeding you and your brother, watching in delight as you dared to inch closer and closer, until last night when both of you ate at my feet, wagging your tails as I sang the silliest songs.
You fear all of us who march about on two legs and wield such dreadful power over those who don’t.
I don’t blame you. You have a right. You have every right. You are right. You are the embodiment of right, you and your kind, more often than not, whereas my kind are too often the embodiment of wrong.
I know all this. I know it. There were no surprises today. Except that your profound and wretched fear has broken my heart—a heart that I thought by now could have no pieces left to break.
Won’t you come to me, Violetta? Won’t you please?
Tomorrow I’ll be back for you, if the store’s owner will allow me in. It will be Sunday, and he needs to rest. But I can’t rest, knowing you are there, alone, afraid, in a place that is no place for a puppy, no place for a dog, no place for the exquisite love and magic that all your kind, no matter how fearful, hold within your hearts waiting—and hoping—to give us.
To help these and many more animals on the Greek island of Kefalonia, please donate to registered charity Kefalonia Animal Trust (KATs), via PayPal or bank transfer, and to Animal Rescue Kefalonia (ARK). The author of this article holds no affiliation with these groups other than as a friend and volunteer.
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Seen our book? Your Adopted Dog: Everything You Need to Know About Rescuing and Caring for a Best Friend in Need, by Shelley Frost and Katerina Lorenzatos Makris, available through Amazon.com.
Katerina Lorenzatos Makris is a career journalist, author, and editor. Her fiction includes 17 novels for Simon and Schuster, E.P. Dutton, Avon, and other major publishers (under the name Kathryn Makris), as well as a teleplay for CBS-TV, and a short story for The Bark magazine. She has written hundreds of articles for regional wire services and for outlets such as National Geographic Traveler, The San Francisco Chronicle, Travelers’ Tales, NBC’s Petside.com, Animal Issues Reporter.org, and Examiner.com (Animal Policy Examiner).