Sunday, August 19, 2012 | By: Drotuno

Coming Home Chapter 171 - Bella


Tuesday... December 28, 2010 at 1:02 P.M.

"Are you sure we have everything we need?" Edward asked for the second time since we'd left the house.

I laughed, turning into the animal shelter's parking lot. Parking in a spot close to the door, I turned in my seat to face him. "Babe, we set up the scratching post and unwrapped all the toys. The litter box is filled and in the laundry room, the food and water bowls are in the corner of the kitchen, and you have the new collar, right?"

He nodded, chuckling. "Sorry. I just want everything to be perfect."

He was so sweet, like a little boy getting his first pet.

Leaning over, I kissed him once and then cupped his face. "It will be. Don't worry so much. Now, let's go pick out a kitten."

The minute we walked through the shelter door, I felt my heart clench. I could hear the adult dogs barking from the big room in the back, and off to one side of the large main room, the cats were meowing their own chorus. Higher-pitched yips and mewls came from the room on the other side, clearly labeled Puppies & Kittens, and that's where we were headed.

"Hello," an older woman behind the counter said in greeting. "May I help you?"

I took Edward's hand and led him to the desk. "We'd like to see your kittens."

"Of course." She smiled. "They're right in the room there. Feel free to look around, and if you don't see any you like, I can take you back to see the older cats."

"Thank you," Edward told her, giving her the smile that made my heart jump-start every time.

When the door to the smaller room closed behind us, the din of noise coming from the other rooms lessened. Most of the young animals in this room were quiet, either sleeping or eating from the small dish in their cage. A few were just sitting there behind the cage door, looking out into the room, their eyes trained on us as we entered.

"God, there are so many," I breathed, swallowing around a lump in my throat.

All in all, I could see four cages with several puppies each and three cages with kittens. In one of the puppy cages, the mommy dog was nursing four babies that couldn't have been more than two weeks old. They were some kind of mixed breed. Beside them was a cage with two puppies that looked like they were almost ready to move back to the adult dog section of the shelter. The third cage of puppies were obviously bulldogs. They were so wrinkled and ugly that they were cute.

In the last cage, the puppies didn't look much older than the first – on closer inspection, the card in the lower left corner of the cage said they were six-week-old Havanese. They were the cutest things I'd ever seen, with silky, soft-looking black fur, adorable faces, and the saddest possible expressions. Three were curled around each other, but one was huddled in the corner by himself. His head was down on his front paws – one of which was white on the toes to match the white tip of his muzzle. I put my finger in through the wire of the cage and stroked his soft head, feeling my heart break when he nuzzled his head against my finger once before shying away.

Giving that precious baby one last sad look, I turned my attention to Edward, who was across the small room with the kittens.

"Find one you like?" I asked, slipping my arm through his.

Edward nodded his head toward one cage, where a kitten was alone, sitting right at the bars, mewing softly. The card read: "Female, 6 weeks old, domestic longhair. Found abandoned in street on 12/02/10."

"I'll go ask her to come get her out for us," I murmured, squeezing his arm.


"Hold on," Edward said softly to the kitten as he carefully put the cat carrier in the back seat, pulling the seat belt tight around. The kitten meowed pitifully as Edward jostled the carrier into position. "Shh, Cookie. It's okay. You'll be fine."

I turned in my seat. "Cookie?" Raising an eyebrow, I couldn't stop the chuckle from escaping.

Edward shrugged. "It seemed fitting."

Looking at his adorable face, cheeks tinged pink from embarrassment and a boyish grin in place, I smiled and nodded. "I like it."

The pink disappeared, and the boyish grin turned into his trademark sexy crooked smile as he straightened and closed the door, coming around to the driver's seat. Just before getting into the car, he said, "Oh! I'll be right back. I forgot the paperwork."

While he was inside, I turned back to face the kitten, trying to soothe her crying by speaking softly. Watching her pace back and forth at the edge of the door to the carrier, I couldn't help but grin. Edward had been so cute when the shelter lady had come back to the room to get her out for him.

"Okay," the older woman said as she shuffled into the room. "You're interested in this little one, hmm?" At Edward's nod, she smiled. "She had a bad case of fleas and ringworm when she was brought in, so she had to be treated before she could be released for adoption. We just put her out last week. For some reason, we've had a run of people interested in little boy kittens, but not many for little girls. So you're the first ones who've asked to see her, which is a shame because she's just a lovey, aren't you, sweetheart?" She lifted the mewling kitten out of the cage, petting her little furry head softly. "Here you go, young man."

Edward beamed and gently took the kitten from the woman's hands. "Ouch! Watch the claws, little one," he scolded gently.

We all started to scramble as the kitten climbed up the sleeves of Edward's sweatshirt, but to all of our surprise, she settled on his shoulder, digging her claws into the fabric as she began purring. Her head was right by his ear, and he grinned.

"That tickles." Edward looked up at me. "What do you think?"

I laughed softly. "I think she's chosen you."

He beamed another grin and turned to the shelter lady. "We'll take her."

Five minutes later, Edward opened the door to the car and climbed in, waving the papers and pulling me out of my thoughts. "Sorry. I wanted to get her recommendation on a good vet in the area, and she was on the phone, so I had to wait."

Shrugging, I turned back to face the front. I'd been turned to look back at the kitten, who was still yowling loudly, sounding so lonely. "It's okay. Cookie kept me company."

Edward grinned. "Good. Let's go home."

I gave one last glance at the shelter as we drove away. I knew not every dog and cat would be adopted out into good homes, but my heart was breaking for the poor little puppy that had looked so lonely in a cage with his siblings.

Maybe someday, I thought with a sad smile.



tds88 said...

Aw puppies. I would be God-awful if I ever tried to walk through an animal shelter like that. Just picturing it, has my heart breaking. I'm such a pushover when it comes to animals. I want to pick them all.

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