Monday, November 21, 2011

Shelter in a storm...


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"20 The tree you saw, which grew large and strong, with its top touching the sky, visible to the whole earth, 21 with beautiful leaves and abundant fruit, providing food for all, giving shelter to the wild animals, and having nesting places in its branches for the birds— 22 Your Majesty, you are that tree! You have become great and strong; your greatness has grown until it reaches the sky, and your dominion extends to distant parts of the earth."
~Daniel 4:20-22 NIV~

      Somewhere on my Florida townhouse was the hobo symbol for "kind hearted woman lives here." Only those with four legs seemed to see it, so it must have been low on a wall or door. I don't have any other way to explain the animals that wandered up to my door while I lived there.
     I'd been watching reports about the approaching Hurricane Ivan a few years ago, my dogs sitting on the sofa with me. The rising wind was making all of us nervous.  I got up to go the front door to see the wind on an old palm tree that leaned over my driveway, I was worried it might fall.
     Outside my door stood a full grown silver wolf.  He was gaunt - I could see his ribs from where I stood, panting in a semi-panic and covered with large pieces of cactus. I'd never seen him before.
     I slowly opened the door and stepped out. He took a few steps towards me and it was obvious he was in pain. I spoke to him in a low voice and told him I would bring him some food and water. When I went back into the house, he moved closer to the door, under the overhang and out of the wind. I set the bowls down, he quickly drank some of the water, and picked at the food. I could tell he was hungry, but could also see cactus spines around his mouth.
     I got a pair of heavy work gloves, a bucket, and a pair of needle nosed pliers. Gently I put my hand on him and started taking the cacti off, and putting them in the bucket. He stood patiently while I worked, listening to me talk and letting me work around his ears and face, running my gloved hand carefully over his thin frame to see if I had missed any. As I pulled the first spine from between his toes I saw him flinch and he pulled his paw back. Silently I said a prayer, and hoped that when I raised my eyes I wouldn't be looking at an angry set of teeth.
     Instead, he stepped back and walked around the corner of the house. He finally came back and put his paw on my knee.  I was amazed. He let me work on all four paws, but whenever I pulled one that seemed to hurt, he would again walk around the corner for a few minutes and then come back. 
     He spent the night in the garage, waiting out the storm with the rest of us. When the weather cleared the next day and life and business resumed, I took him to my vet to get him checked out and the few remaining spines removed from his mouth.
     Someone had spent a great deal of time with him, he was very well trained, but where they were now, or where he had come from I would never know. The vet checked for a micro-chip, but he didn't have any.  A blood draw came back positive for heartworms.
     I called a co-worker who had lost a husky two months prior.  He took one look at him and said he would take him. I explained to him about the heartworms, but he didn't care. The wolf would need to put on 20 pounds before he could be treated, but the vet was optimistic about his recovery.  "Eli" now had a home and a new name.
     That was many years ago. Eli survived the heartworm treatment - despite being an escape artist and not staying "quiet" as recommended.
     I found a wooden plaque not too long ago in a catalog of the cat sign that hobos used to designate a "kind hearted woman." It now hangs just inside my front door, too high for animals to see it, but I don't think that matters.
     They know.

2 comments:

  1. Do you remember WHERE you where you got this plaque? I want to get one for a dear friend of mine.

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    Replies
    1. It was in the Signals catalog but is no longer available. You may have to see if you can find someone to make it for you.

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