I saved my best friend, but he thinks he could have made it just fine without my help.
|I share a house with one who despises my very being. Simply existing is enough to cause him mental anguish and keep him in a state of constant irritation. Of course I am referring to my cat, Lucifer.
The house is his and I only occupy it from time to time, mostly at night. If I should be there in excess during the day, he acts as though I am not present at all (or he kills mice and leaves them in my shoes). And everyday, he looks at me as if waiting for an explanation as to why I am in his house at all.
One day, Lou found himself in a pickle. It was a bright, sunny autumn day with hardly a cloud in the sky. Lou was lounging in the flower garden doing things that cats enjoy doing, when a rabbit decided to run through the yard. Lou’s house (because it’s his house, not mine) is situated in a clearing with woods on three sides and an old cow barn not too far away, so wildlife is abundant. This particular rabbit appealed to Lucifer’s animal instincts in such a way that he sprang to attention and gave chase. I mentioned that the cow barn wasn’t far from Lou’s house, and that is exactly where the rabbit had in mind to run. So being the wild animal that he is, Lucifer chased the rabbit out of the yard, down a worn little dirt road, and into the barn.
This whole time, I’d been sitting in the screened-in porch enjoying the weather with a glass of sweet tea. I wasn’t alarmed one bit when Lou took off after the rabbit. I became alarmed when three hound dogs raced across my yard about thirty seconds later, heading in the direction of the barn, the rabbit, and Lucifer. I leapt from my chair, spilling tea across the porch, and burst through the screen door, running and yelling my way towards the cow barn.
I don’t run as fast and three hounds, but apparently my voice carries because when I made it to the barn, Lucifer was perched quite precariously on a high shelf with the three hounds pitching a fit on the ground below. The rabbit had made his great escape earlier. The hounds couldn’t jump high enough to reach Lou, but he had nowhere else to jump to, and I couldn’t get to him without risking life and limb to the dogs. So I devised a plan. There are several roof beams running the length of the barn and one of them passed near Lou and his shelf.
Moving quickly, I found a ladder and climbed up to the barn’s small loft. With great difficulty, I jumped from the loft, grabbing hold of one of the beams. Times like this made me wish I had more upper body strength, but I pulled myself up and managed to throw one leg over the beam. Once I was able to stand (make that crouch) on top of the beam, I carefully waddled my way to where Lucifer was marooned. One of the hounds discovered the stack of feedbags against the wall and was in the process of climbing them. Oats were scattered on the floor, but I’m sure the cows wouldn’t mind dirty oats now and again.
I got as close to Lucifer as I could, which was 4 feet away, and three feet up. Praying to all things holy, I stretched out my arms and called to Lou. I was already at least 25 feet off the ground, and now I can add stretching sideways and attempting to save a clawed beast from being eaten by hounds to my death wish. Lucifer saw me and hesitated a minute as if judging his ability to survive the jump. He sank back on his haunches and sprang off the shelf.
He made the gap, no problem. He also succeeded in puncturing my arms as well as one of my shoulders with his claws in several different places. Together, we waddled back to the loft and watched as the hounds realized they’d been bested. I tossed some stacks of hey in their direction as well as rope and a couple of bricks. That was basically all I had at my disposal in the loft. After about 5 minutes of sniffing, barking, jumping, and being pelted with loft-arsenal, the hounds admitted defeat and sauntered out of the barn.
Lucifer and I waited another 10 or 15 minutes to make sure the dogs had indeed moved on before descending from the loft. The coast was clear, and I set Lou on the ground. He immediately ran back to the house, leaving me to walk the short distance alone. I used the time to assess the damage to my arms and shoulder. Once back at the house, I refilled Lou’s food bowl, cleaned my spilled tea, and then resumed my porch-sitting and weather-enjoying.
A few minutes later, Lou walked out onto the porch to join me. He had just finished eating his fill and was looking at me as if waiting for an explanation as to why I was sitting on his porch. Sweet, sweet appreciation.