My five year old son Mason and I were driving down the road on our way to the park. He loves to run around and I love watching him. As we turned a corner to a long and curvy road, my eyes spotted something that immediately made me slow down. As I continued to look at it, in my mirror, I pushed over to the side. A small little dog was on the side of the road and she looked to be in distress. I told Mason to stay where he was and I got out of my car to walk over to the dog. I knelt down to get a good look. My eyes were just taking in what I saw; I was trying to comprehend it, when Mason appeared at my side.
Together we looked at the sorrowful little dog that lay before us. She appeared to be a Pomeranian. The dog was a female and she was crying, it appeared she may have given birth not long before we found her. She was so skinny, her bones poked against her skin and seemed as though they would burst through with every breath she took. Her eyes were glazed over, her breathing shallow. Her leg appeared injured and she was covered with dirt. I realized that she may have been thrown out of a car, left to die on this lonely road. Mason looked at the dog; he stood silently for a few moments with a bewildered expression on his face. A tear fell from his eye and he asked "Why? Mama …" I had no answer to give to him. There was no doubt in my mind we would rescue this dog. I hugged him tight and I told him that the why did not matter right now and that we were going to help the dog.
Mason ran to the car and grabbed a blanket that we kept inside it for picnicking. Very carefully, I wrapped up our fragile little bundle of fur and with a soothing voice; I told her she would be alright. Mason shadowed me as we gently placed her on the car seat. He scampered over to the back seat, put on his seatbelt, placed his arm gently on the dog and told me he was ready.
As we strove, he asked me what the dog's name was, and as she did not have any tags, I told Mason he was to choose her name. Being a typical five year old, he chose "Gumball", so Gumball it was. We drve to the closet animal hospital and again, with Mason by my side we bought Gumball inside. The receptionist stood up immediately when we entered and after telling her our story of this dog we were determined to rescue, she ushered us into a room within minutes. Gumball stayed in my arms, she lay still and only made soft crying noises as she snuggled in the blanket.
The diagnosis was grim; Gumball appeared to be hemorrhaging, was severely malnourished and the veterinarian guessed that she was a Puppy Mill dog; one forced to give birth over and over until her body was ready to give out; when she reached her capacity to make her owners money, they dismissed her. Mason asked me what "dispose" mean. I told him the meaning. He looked at Gumball and gently patted her back. His eyes grew big and he looked back at me. "Why? Mama …." I told him that why did not matter, as Gumball was not disposable to us; we were going to save her.
Gumball underwent a risky operation, as she was very malnourished. She needed to stay in the animal hospital for four days before we could bring her home. Each day, I anxiously waited for the phone to ring, to hear of her progress. We were finally told we could bring her home and Mason and I danced and celebrated. We picked her up, obtained needed medications and carefully listened to instructions to care for her while she healed.
When we arrived home, we lay Gumball on a soft cushion and went to prepare her a healthy meal. When placing the bowl next to her, she looked at the food and then looked at us. She seemed unsure if she was allowed to eat. I spoke out loud and told her it was alright to eat. Gumball continued to look at her dish and then back at Mason and me. Mason knelt down and moved the bow closer to her. She still looked unsure. He looked up at me and asked, "Why? Mama …" I told him that why did not matter anymore, as we were going to make sure we fattened her up and made her healthy again.
As the following weeks went by, Gumball slowly began to trust us. When Mason placed her dish down, she still walked over to eat her hearty meal. As she began to heal, she would play with Mason, she appeared so overjoyed to have attention given to her. One day, while outside in the yard, I was gardening while Mason enjoyed throwing a tennis ball to Gumball. A car that was driving by our street, back-fired and produced a fast loud noise. Gumball jumped and cowed under a bush. Her body was shaking and she looked petrified. I told Mason to stay back a bit and I softly told her that everything was alright; I told her that no one would hurt her. I kept repeating the words, "no one will hurt you". She slowly crawled out and sat before us. Mason looked at Gumball and patted her head. He repeated my words. Then he looked at me, "Why? Mama …" I told him that maybe people had done things to make her scared in the past, but the whys did not matter now because Gumball was safe with us.
Mason and Gumball became like two peas-in-a-pod. Each day brought new joys. She appeared to soak in every moment of the day. From when she woke up from her pillow, until she sat with Mason to watch the sun set, she surprised us with her spirit.
We had Gumball for about a month when I was tucking Mason into bed. He looked so sleepy and I loved this time of night, when he was all clean from his bath and his hair fell across his forehead. Just as I was giving him a kiss good night, we felt movement on the bed. Gumball was struggling to get up on it. She was successful, and she crawled across the bed. Mason looked very surprised and his face lit up with a smile. He dropped back his blanket and Gumball snuggled up close to him. He put his face against Gumball's and closed his eyes. He looked so peaceful. He began to speak and his breath made Gumball's fur move a bit, and it light wisped against his face. "Why? Mama …." He asked me. I smoked as I answered him, "Because Gumball loves you."