5
min

Animal Courage

Image of David Fallon

David Fallon

4 readings

1

“I won’t let it happen again,” the dog said with the kind of authority dog’s liked to project when they were faced with injustice. The cat was dubious.

“What exactly do you think you can do about it?” she said through licks of her paw. She was trying to be nonchalant as a cat should be, despite her worried stomach.

“Lot’s of things,” the dog said, standing up to look more menacing. “My people are a proud race of warriors,” he growled. “In the wilds we made our own kills and-” He trailed off, trying to think of exactly what his people did.

“Your people?” scoffed the cat. “You were born at the pet store. The only thing you ever killed was cans of Alpo and bags of Puppy Chow. You’re no more a warrior than I am a fish.”

The dog sat down with a defeated little whine.

“Well, we’ve got to do something,” he said in a dejected tone.

The cat began to feel sorry for what she had said.

“You’re right,” the cat finally agreed. “We have to do something.” If there was one thing they had in common, it was their absolute love for the lady.

“Let’s sleep on it,” she concluded. “We’ll talk about it more in the morning.” And she decided that this night was cold enough for snuggling.

* * *
The lady had recently taken up with a gentleman who was anything but. He started out friendly enough, bringing gifts of flowers before dates at the opera or theatre. With his handsome face and charming voice, he swept the lady off of her feet as they say.

The dog liked him immediately, as dogs are often apt to do. The cat was more suspicious and kept her distance.

Soon after that, the relationship got very serious, and things took a bad turn. Following a particularly boisterous argument about where to go to eat one night, the gentleman slammed his fist into the wall leaving a large round hole. He apologized over and over as he patched the wall with some plaster. The apology was taken but the off-white patch remained like a scar. From that point on, the long weekends were often fraught with tension and outbursts.

Even worse, the cat could tell that the lady desperately desired time to herself. Only a cat, an animal that values alone time above all else, could sense such things. Despite the lady’s attempts to be alone, the man continually insisted he be allowed to stay. Until the day he snapped. Neither the dog nor the cat would ever forget that day.

He turned his fury not against the wall but onto the lady. He yelled at the top of his voice: “Stupid whore!” before picking up a small framed picture and lobbing it at her head. The lady ducked and it smashed against the doorway. She quickly stepped behind the bedroom door, shutting and locking it. The door did not hold back the gentlemen’s ire. He rammed into it with his shoulder knocking it off its hinges. It collapsed with a boom causing the dog to bark. “Shut the hell up!” the gentleman yelled as he kicked the dog hard sending him yelping into the other room. He stomped into the bedroom and pushed the startled lady back on the bed. He slapped her three times quick across the face. She didn’t even have a chance to scream.

It was four weeks before the cat and dog saw the gentleman again. In their minds, he had done the unthinkable and was no longer welcome in the lady’s house. To their utter surprise, he walked in one day with a suitcase. Both he and the lady smiled and laughed as he swung her around and gave her a deep kiss. The cat could not help but notice the shiny clear rock ring on the lady’s finger.

From that day, things only got worse. The beatings became more and more frequent and more and more severe. The lady was bruised throughout her body, and she had a slight limp from a twisted ankle. Something was wrong with her arm, and it might even be broken. Both the dog and the cat could feel it, she was afraid for her life. And so were they.

* * *
“We have to stop him in any way we can,” the dog said when they got up the next day.

The cat knew he was right, but she had no idea how they could possibly do so. The dog was big, at least a hundred pounds. The gentleman was more than twice that size. The dog had teeth, whereas the gentleman had two hands and his brains. In a fight, the gentleman held the clear advantage. Not to mention, the dog was afraid of the gentleman as he had suffered many beatings of his own.
The cat, who was much more clever at avoiding the gentleman’s rage, did not have the same fear, but she was at most five pounds. She had sharp claws, but what good were claws when she could easily be dispatched with a quick snap of the neck.

“Let’s pee on his socks until he gets so grossed out he runs away,” the dog said with a good-natured smile. He was a simpleton to be sure, but at least he was loveable.

“No,” the cat said. “I have a better idea.” She slowly licked her paw as she collected the specifics of her plan in her mind. “But we need to work together.”

* * *
It was set for the following Sunday because the gentleman often spent Saturday nights drinking. After these binges, he was usually much more lethargic. The cat believed it would be easier to deal with him at this time.

The night before, it was impossible for either of them to sleep. They lay close together each listening to the other’s heartbeats, both dreading the day to come. They had no choice. The lady’s life was at stake, and both of them would do anything they could to save her. Even lose their own lives.

That fateful Sunday the cat awoke with a start. The day was further along than she had anticipated. Her plan was to get up before dawn to prepare, but it was now well past noon. Nearly in a panic, she charged toward the lady’s room. She could hear the rhythmic snoring before she even got there. The gentleman was still passed out in her bed. Then she heard a more ominous sound. She slowly followed it to the kitchen where she glimpse a horrible sight. The lady was bent over the sink, blood dripping from her forehead. She clutched in her hands clumps of her long beautiful blond hair. The top of her head was matted with bald red patches. What had he done to her...

Before the cat rouse the dog, she heard the gentleman’s ugly voice voice. He was getting up from the bed. The cat yowled in fear to which the gentleman responded by tossing a shoe. The cat shuffled away to find the dog. They had to act fast.

“Where are you bitch!” the man shouted in a groggy voice. The woman looked up from the sink, her eyes wide in fear and anger.

“There you are,” he said as he stepped into the kitchen. “Damn, you look horrible. How’s about some eggs.” She stood there staring at him, her breath going in and out in spasms.

“What the hell’s matter with you,” he raised his voice. “Don’t you fucking hear what I’m saying!?” He launched at her with his fist raised.

Suddenly the gentleman found himself flailing for air before landing on his face. The dog stood over him wagging his tail.
“Stupid dog tripped me!” he growled. Before he could stand, the dog sunk his teeth into the gentleman’s shoulder.

“Fuck!” the gentleman yelled in surprise. The lady stepped back, her eyes unblinking.

The gentleman reached to grabbed the dog but was greeted by the gripping claws of the cat. She wrapped her body around his reaching hand and dug in deep.

“Ahhhh!” he screamed. He shook his hand and tried to kick at the dog, but both animals were in a frenzy.

“Help me!” he called the lady. The call snapped her out of her trance. She looked around her. Without thinking, she picked up a large clay pot from the floor. She hefted it over her head.

“What are you-” The gentleman never said another word. The pot came down hard, smashing to pieces over his head. His death was almost instantaneous.

* * *
The trials were long, and the woman attended a year of therapy to deal with what the gentleman had done to her mind and body. Eventually she was acquitted for self-defense. Eventually she moved on with her life. Of course the cat and dog stayed close by her side every step of the way.

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