Alright, as you guys may or may not know, today was my Birthday. So as a birthday present, I finished up that update that I said I would have yesterday. YAY!!
...Wait. I'm supposed to get presents on my birthday, not give them.
Cinder was growing up. Fast.
His teeth started coming in, and that was good news. Once they were in, he would be able to eat solid food and I wouldn’t have to look for puppy formula anymore.
I could only hope that the bottle would survive his chewing on it until then.
However, him growing up also came with challenges. He’s started to scoot and crawl. That meant I could only leave to look for food whenever he was sleeping out of fear he would make his way somewhere I wouldn’t want him getting.
For reasons like that and many more, as I looked at the puppy in my arms drinking from his bottle, I couldn’t help but wonder if I had done the right thing in choosing to care for him.
Was this the best life for him? Should I have given him to a shelter? I had heard the horror stories about them, but never actually been in one. Maybe the stories were wrong. Or maybe I should have tried to find him an owner. Someone who would love and care for him and have the means to feed him every day without fail. Or at the same time, it could be someone who gives him a horrible life. There are people who would do that.
I’ve been able to at least feed him every time he’s become hungry, somehow.
It hasn’t been that easy on my body though. The kind of searching required to find formula for him means that I sometimes wouldn’t eat for two or three days at a time.
And it’s only gotten worse as he grows up and I have to spend more time watching him to make sure he doesn’t craw away. As of right now, I haven’t had anything significant to eat in the last five days. FIVE DAYS!
While I would sometimes find some small things that I can snack on when searching for Cinder’s food, I just didn’t have the time to look for anything for myself.
I was going to have to eat at some point. I was barely able to stand as it was. But the problem was if I looked for food for myself, I probably wouldn’t find enough for Cinder. And not feeding him at this young an age is a dangerous thing to do.
But if I just kept looking for his formula, I was going to pass out at some point. And that wouldn’t be good either.
It was just a no-win situation.
“Caring for a pup on the street is more than one dog can handle.” I said out loud.
“It looks like it.” A voice from behind me said.
I jumped up and turned to look at the source of the voice, holding Cinder close just in case I needed to run.
I faced a dog that had a two-tone color. Brown arms, legs, stomach, chest, and his face below his eyes. The top of his head was black, and his back probably was too.
Like me, he appeared to be a mutt. A mix of probably four or five different medium sized breeds, none of them really standing out over the other.
I was right to be on my guard when I jumped up. He was one of the dogs that I had scared off with my whole “Cinder belongs to the mayor” story.
He put his paws up in the air and said “It’s alright. I come in peace. I’m not with those other dogs anymore.”
I didn’t let guard my down, instead I asked him “Why are you here? And how can I be sure that you aren’t with those other dogs?”
He dropped his paws and said “I actually want to help you. I was only with those other dogs because they managed to find a lot of food. When they found that puppy, there was nothing I could really do to help. If I spoke out against the pack leader, I would have been literally kicked out of the pack. Those dogs aren’t kind to those who betray them.”
“I imagine so.” I said, not dropping my guard at all.
The dog continued. “Well, I was relieved when you came. The other dogs didn’t see it, but I could tell you were worried about getting the puppy back. I could see it written all over your face until you started that fake story with the mayor.”
“… And how are you so sure it’s fake?” I asked while trying to keep a straight face.
“That pup is too young. The mayor would never have the time to care for such a young puppy. And even if he could, they would never adopt him out while he was so young. They would wait until he was at least old enough to eat solid food. Fortunately for you, I was the only smart one there.”
I relaxed a little, he seemed to be honest. At the very least he was smart; I had to give him that. “You still haven’t answered why you’re here. You said you wanted to help me, how so?”
“I want to help you care for the puppy. I was looking for a reason to leave those dogs, but couldn’t find one that justified losing the food they managed to gather. Well, not until I saw you anyway.
“You were so dedicated to getting that puppy back; I just couldn’t turn down the chance to help someone who was so selfless. By the looks of things, you could use some of the food that I took from those dogs before I left.”
I looked and noticed the bag of food by his feet. I had been so distracted that I didn’t even notice the potential meal right in front me. I also realized that I was ready to pass out.
I sat down and put Cinder in my lap before anything could happen. I wasn’t sure if I could trust this dog or not, but I had no choice right now. I needed something to eat and fast.
Almost like he could read my mind, the dog sat down in front of me and handed me a piece of food from the bag.
I thanked him and began to slowly eat what he had given me. After not have eaten for a week, it would not be smart to just scarf down what I had. I could easily become sick from doing so.
We just sat in silence, me eating and him watching me, waiting for me to finish.
Once I was done, he spoke. “I know you have no reason to trust me, but you have no choice. You spend all of your spare time looking for food, but it’s still not enough. To find enough food for both of you, you can’t look after him. That’s where I’ll help you. I’ll look after him while you go search for whatever he needs. Or you look after him while I search. Either way, you need the help.”
I hated to admit it, but he was right. I could only search for two or three hours a day if I was lucky. If this dog was to watch over Cinder, I could look all day and find enough food to feed all of us.
But the biggest problem was if I could trust him. He seemed honest when he spoke, and he seemed smart too.
Unfortunately, the only way to see if he was trustworthy was to leave him here with Cinder while I went to go look for food. I had just used up the last of Cinder’s formula, so if I sent him out and he didn’t find any, Cinder wouldn’t have anything to eat for the night.
I wasn’t too happy about the situation, but I didn’t really have a choice. I would have probably passed out today if that dog hadn’t come with some food for me. And even if I didn’t, I certainly wouldn’t have had the strength to find anymore puppy formula. Letting Cinder go hungry could be deadly at his age.
“… As much as I hate to admit it, you’re right. I need the help.”
The dog just nodded his head.
“I don’t want to do this, but I have no choice. I’m going to leave Cinder here with you and go out to search for more formula. I expect you to take good care of him.”
“Don’t worry, I will.” He said.
I nodded my head and reluctantly gave Cinder to him. I then stood up and started to walk out of the alley.
Right before I was out, I turned my head and said “By the way, what’s your name?”
He looked back up at me. “My name is Burin. Any reason you decided to ask now?”
“Just so I know who to kill should anything happen to Cinder before I get back.”