of Brevard & Indian River Counties, Florida
Melbourne, FL 32901 - Phone: 321 727-1544 - E-mail: email@example.com
Each month in Pet Gazette, we feature the continuing adventures of "Sparky," about a wonderful little dog and his family, created by our favorite author, Rose Padrick. We hope Rose keeps coming up with Sparky stories - they're everyone's favorites!
for the Hurricane
By Rose Padrick
"Jay! Bring me some more of those longer nails!" R.J.'s voice is sharp.
"Coming Dad! Jay hurries out the front door carrying two bags of nails. "I wasn't sure which ones you wanted so I brought both."
I can sense there is confusion in the air but I don't know what the problem is.
Hannah is busy packing papers and pictures in plastic boxes. R.J. is nailing boards over all the windows making the inside of the house as dark as if it was late at night. Jay and Gregory are packing clothes in suitcases, carrying blankets and pillows to the car and putting all their toys and games high in the closet so nothing is left on the floor.
I can tell there is going to be a very big change in the weather.
The storms that come after a very hot day make me a little nervous, especially when the lightening flashes and booms. The rain makes everything so much cooler that it's almost worth having to keep shaking my head to clear my ears and trying to ignore the funny feeling in my belly before the storm actually hits.
Not for Ming though. That silly cat is so frightened of the loud noise and the change in her body that she climbs into the biggest closet and hides all the way in the back until the storm passes.
My body tells me the storm that is coming is different, bigger and scarier than any I have ever been through and I am scared.
How can I protect my family against rain and wind? Our house has always stayed warm and dry but what if it doesn't this time? The wind is already getting stronger and it has been raining for more than today. Looking outside I can't even see any grass in our yard, it's all under water, and the water is up to the front door.
"R.J. please come and help me with these boxes!" Hannah sounded worried.
"Mom, me and Gregory will help!" Jay lifted a box and started for the door.
"No Sweetie, don't take that box yet I have to put it in a plastic bag first." Hannah snapped a bag open and Jay slid the box into it.
Gregory carried a smaller box into the room, "The bath tub is almost full Mom, do you want me to turn the water off now?"
"Yes, thank you. I'll tape the cover on it in a moment." Hannah finishes tying a knot in the plastic bag.
"O.K. the windows are all covered and anything outside that can blow is put away. Are we about ready to leave now?" R.J. folds the bags and takes them to the garage, returning with my traveling box.
I'm usually very happy to see my traveling box come out of the garage because it means we are going to a fun place, but something tells me this is going to be a different sort of trip.
Hannah walks to the bathroom with a big piece of plastic, "Where is Ming's carrier? It should have been on top of Sparky's."
Gregory is sitting on the couch with me watching as the others rushed around, "Mom, remember we let Uncle Roy use the carrier last time he had to take Whiskers to the vet?
"Oh No! Now what are we going to do?" I can tell Hannah is annoyed.
R.J. is not, "That's not a problem, Sparky is a great car traveler, he can sit with the kids and we can walk him into the kennel on his leash when we get there. Ming doesn't ride well so we can put her in Sparky's carrier for the car ride and carry her into the kennel. Now we need to get going before the traffic gets any worse, are we ready?"
"Yes we are, if one of you will go get Ming and put her in the carrier I'll get the last box of food and find a place in the car for it." Hannah went into the kitchen.
Gregory opened the garage door, "Ming…here kitty kitty." But she didn't come.
Jay went into the living room, "Ming…Come on, let's go." Still no Ming.
Soon everyone was calling and searching for the silly little cat, but she still didn't come.
Running to the closet where she usually hides, my nose tells me she was not there.
"Ming! Come on Kitty!" Jay looks under the bed.
Gregory pulls the big chair away from the wall, "Sometimes she hides under this! Here kitty kitty kitty!"
"That darn cat is going to cause us to be so late leaving we're going to get stuck in traffic!" R.J. is getting upset.
Hannah stands on a chair and feels around on the top shelf above the television, "She always comes when we call her; I wonder where she could be?"
"Gregory hugs me tight, "Sparky can find her!"
"If he can find her it better be soon because we have to leave no later that 2 o'clock." R.J. ruffles my ears, "Sparky! Go find! Find Ming!"
I would much prefer not to know where the silly cat is most of the time but I know my family is depending on me and I can't let them down.
"I hope she didn't get outside, she was so frightened of the rain and wind she may have just run away. She is such a little thing she would be in real trouble with all that water in the yards." I can hear the worry in Hannah's voice.
Hannah and R.J. continue looking in the living room while the boys and I head for the bedrooms.
I rush through the boys' room, snuffling under the bed and behind the dresser. Gregory opens the closet door when I scratch at it but still no Ming. I can't find a new scent trail anywhere in the room.
Still snuffling I lead the way into the bathroom, but there's nowhere to hide in there, not even for a cat as small as Ming.
In Hannah's bedroom I go first to the closet where she usually hides, just in case she may have come back since I last checked. I sniffed and listened but there is no scent or sound of her.
Where could that cat be? She is always finding new places to hide and jump out at me when I go by, but this day she has hidden herself very well. My nose has always been able to locate her in the past and I don't understand why I can't pick up a scent this time. She must not be in the house at all.
Ming hates wet grass and would never step in a puddle of water if she could help it so I can't believe she went out side, that means she must be in the garage.
The garage floor is covered with water but I pick up a faint cat scent.
Ming is here! I bark loud so R.J. will know I have found the scent and to let Ming know we are here.
"He found her! Ming come here! Here kitty kitty!" R.J.splashed into the garage.
"Where? I don't see her?" Hannah sounded even more worried.
"Ming! Come out! Here kitty kitty!" Jay tried to look behind the big box.
"Boys! Get back in the house! I have the electricity off to our house but others may not have turned theirs off yet, and the whole street is flooded…it possible to get shocked. You wait inside and be ready to go as soon as we find Ming, its getting late and the wind is already picking up." R.J. sounded cross.
Snuffling across the top of the water I can tell Ming is close but I can't tell where.
The water is halfway up my legs; I start to shiver from the cold. It's a small jump to the top of the box then I can stand on the washer and dryer.
Ming! I barely hear the weak cry, and can't tell where it came from!
"Did you find her Sparky?" R.J. sounds hopeful. "Here kitty kitty kitty!"
I cock my ears and listen hard but she doesn't make another sound.
A splash! A very small, quiet splash! Then a tiny cough!
Behind the machine! I jump down back into the water and scratch at the machine.
R.J. is able to pull the machine just a small bit away from the wall and I squeeze into the opening.
The kitten is stuck between the machine and the wall and the water is all the way up to her mouth!
Barking as loud as I can makes Ming squirm and wiggle. She twists as far as she can and hisses, swiping at me with one small paw.
R.J. pulls on the machine once again and Ming is able to wiggle free!
I grab her by the back of the neck before she can run again and back out from behind the machine.
"Sparky has her! He found and rescued Ming!" R.J. takes the silly little cat from me, wraps her in a towel that had been lying on the machine and announces we have to leave right now.
"Sparky is a cat hero! He found Ming!" Gregory clips my leash onto my collar.
Hannah gives me a quick hug, "We'll have to celebrate later, we have to get these two to the kennel and get to our safe place quickly."
With Ming dried off and safely in my carrier the boys and I scramble into the back seat of the car and we begin our trip.
Arriving at the kennel R.J. unloaded the carrier and we ran through the rain to get to the building.
An unfamiliar lady was behind the desk. She came around and took my leash." Hello Mr. Padrick! I can see the weather is getting worse by the minute! Don't worry yourself about Sparky and Ming, our building has been inspected and is well within the hurricane codes. There is a problem though, some of our customers have asked at the last moment that we take care of their pets which makes the rooms pretty full. Do you think Sparky and Ming would mind sharing one kennel?"
R.J. laughed, "Sparky won't be to happy about it, but they should be fine together for a day or so."
Leaning down and taking my head in his hands R.J. looks into my eyes, "We'll be back as soon as we can be a good boy and take care of Ming." Then runs back out into the rain.
Stuck in the same kennel with that silly little cat! This is not going to be a fun hurricane!
By Rose Padrick
"Hurry! Pull the big cage over here with the rest! Bring the lamp closer, the dogs are getting nervous!" The noise from the rain and wind was so loud the kennel lady had to yell so the kennel man could hear her.
"I'm coming!" Handing her the candles, the kennel man turns and runs back the way he had come. "The back window is rattling so hard I'm afraid it's going to break! I need to find something to brace it!"
"We should have gotten that darn window panel fixed last year." The kennel lady turned on the lamp, "We should be just fine though." Pushing her fingers through the cage, she rubbed my head.
I don't remember rain ever coming down this hard or the wind blowing so loudly.
All the other times I stayed in the kennel, there were other dogs to get to know and I could go outside through the doggie door anytime I wanted. Ming never before shared my kennel either, thank goodness. This time there are many other dogs in cages but I haven't caught the scent of any other cats at all.
My body told me there was something in the air yesterday. I could tell there was a storm or something coming by the way the air was so still and all the little animals tried to get to higher ground. There were no birds chirping by the feeder this morning, and the squirrel stayed high in the tree.
Ming and I kept shaking our heads to clear our ears yesterday and neither of us was able to sleep last night. Ming hid in her closet and I paced from room to room making sure my family was safe. I could not find a way to warn them something was going to happen.
I was excited when my family began packing boxes very early this morning; packing usually means we are going somewhere. I enjoy traveling with my family anytime, but this day I was glad to get away from the storm that was coming.
We didn't go very far this time, though.
Curious when R.J. carried Ming's carrier into the kennel - she has never stayed there before - I was never expecting to have to share a cage with her!
When the kennel lady asked R.J., "Most of our cages are full, do you think Sparky would mind sharing with Ming?" I wished I could have answered! The answer would have been a firm "Yes, he certainly would mind!"
As it was, I had no choice and I sit quietly while R.J. pulls Ming from the carrier and puts her into the large kennel cage along with her bed. When R.J. opened the door for me I walk in and turn to say good bye just in time to get a nose swipe by a very frightened Ming.
"Ming! Stop that! You know Sparky isn't going to hurt you!" R.J. gathers her up and settles her into her own little bed on the opposite side of the big cage. Growling at me she curls into a little ball. I growl back and curl up on my own bed. This is not going to be fun!
"OOOOOOOO" The big German shepherd in the corner begins to howl, softly at first then louder as the siren truck comes closer. Another dog joins in then another until almost every cage has a howl coming from it. "OOOOOO"
Frightened by all the strange noise and dogs, Ming crawls to my bed and slowly creeps in, lying on the fold-over part careful not to touch me. It wasn't very long at all until the wind hit the window so hard it rattles; she comes closer until she is almost part of me.
Ming is snuggled in so close she's almost under me, and I can feel her little body shaking. I know she wishes she was safe in the closet she usually hides in during the storms. I wish she was there too; she wouldn't be making me so uncomfortable.
Ming snuggles even closer, curling her tail and hissing at the noise.
"Sarge! Hush! It's only a fire truck; I wish you didn't howl at each and every siren that you hear!" The kennel lady's voice told me she was upset. But the shepherd kept howling until he couldn't hear the truck anymore. The lady doesn't understand that the howling is something he can't control; he is born with the instinct to join in certain sounds.
"Here's the rest of the flashlights and all the candles I could find. I think that's about all we can do for now." The kennel man sets another box on the counter with a thump.
The kennel lady looked in the box, "I guess you're right, nothing to do now but wait it out."
Bang! Screech! POW POW POW! Suddenly everything goes black!
A smell burns my nose! Leaping to my feet I hold back the barks, but a growl escapes. The noise of the other dogs fearfully howling and barking is so loud I almost didn't hear the horrible crash in the back room!
The wind is inside! I can't feel the rain but the wind is so strong my ears are flapping!
Ming howls in fear and presses against the side of the cage, claws ready to defend herself.
"The roof! A piece of the roof is gone!" The kennel lady runs from the other room holding the light. Her voice told me she was very afraid.
"That's alright! We can't do anything about it right now! Close the door, that will keep the wind out of this room at least!" The kennel man sounded frightened, too.
The rain and wind are so much closer now I can hear the rain hitting the door.
Many of the other dogs are barking and barking, some are howling and others are whining in fear. I try not to bark but a yip gets out every once in a while. Ming is growling at every movement or new bark, and has crawled between my front legs.
Now my feet are wet! One by one the dogs stop barking for a minute as the water reaches them but they quickly begin again.
"The water must be at least three feet deep in the yard to come in here!" The kennel lady lit some candles.
"Help me get these cages off the floor! The dogs are getting wet, poor things, they're more scared than we are." The kennel man picks up the cage holding a little black dog.
"Where are we going to put all these cages?" The kennel lady holds the cage of a tiny white poodle while she looks for a place to put it.
After putting the poodle's cage on the counter they both leave the room. The wet and the cold and the fear have me shaking so badly I can barely stand and Ming is steadily yowling, her eyes wide in fright.
The kennel man and lady return soon with extra chairs and arrange them so all the cages can fit on a chair; we are not in water anymore.
"There, there…it's alright…we're going to be alright." The kennel lady reaches into first one cage then another, drying the dogs with a big towel, petting and calming each one before moving to the next cage.
Ming is scrunched between me and the cage, still wide-eyed with fear and growling deep in her throat. As much as I want to feel a kind touch, I know if the cage door is opened she will bolt out and try to find someplace to hide.
Barking a warning to the kennel lady did no good - she opened the door anyway. Ming leaps past her and lands on the counter next to the poodle.
The counter is wet and slippery; Ming slides right off the edge and lands in the water with a splash.
Screaming in fear, the little cat swims until she reaches a chair and tries to pull herself out of the water.
"Poor Kitty! Come over here, Ming, I'll help you!" The kennel man sloshes after Ming.
"Here Henry, Ming is so scared she may strike out at you in fear; use the towel to wrap her in so she can't scratch you." The kennel lady handed him a big towel.
Just as the kennel man got close and was ready to grab Ming with the towel, the door burst open and more water gushed in, sweeping the little cat past the kennel man and around the cabinet.
I can't see her! The wind is howling and the water is sloshing so loud I can't even hear the other dogs barking! Where did she go?!
Scratching out of the cage and landing in the water I sniff the air as best I can to try to catch her scent.
"Sparky's out! Shine the light on the other side! If him and Ming get outside they could be in real trouble!" The kennel man sounds so frightened I wish I could tell him I don't want to go outside, I just want to find that stupid little cat before something bad happens.
"Yowp! Yup!" Ming! She's very close! Turning quickly toward the sound, I bump right into her. Still trying to swim, she's so weak she doesn't even fight as I grab the skin on the back of her neck and pull her out of the water.
"Henry! Sparky found Ming! Hurry and get him back into the cage while he still has a grip on her!" The kennel lady sloshed through the water and opened the door wide.
"Good Boy, Sparky! Just hold her for a minute and we'll all be OK!" The kennel man gently picks me up and pushes me into the cage, folding a dry towel over Ming and me.
I watch as Ming just lies on the towel, breathing very hard. In a couple of minutes she stands and shakes some of the water out of her coat. I nose in just to make sure she's alright and jump back with a yelp when Ming's little claws rake across my nose.
Shaking my head I growl at the stupid little cat, she hisses back and curls up in the towel. Just like home, I try to help and she returns the favor with her claws.
Sitting very quietly I can sense a difference in the wind and rain. The pounding on one side of the building has stopped and is lessening on the other side. It is not raining much at all now. My ears are becoming unplugged and my body seems to be getting back to normal. I feel safe enough to lie down and soon fall asleep.
"Sparky! Ming!" Gregory! I hear Gregory and Jay!
Ming stretches slowly and sits up as I leap to my feet and jump at the door of the cage.
"They're here! Wet, but alright!" Jay opens the cage and I leap out giving kisses all around. Hannah tries to reach Ming but the cat backs up as if she likes being there! I will never understand cats! Or why humans like them!
"You have quite a hero there, boys!" The kennel man patted my head as he spoke.
"If he had not leaped into the water and found the little cat she would have been a goner for sure. The wind and rain were making such a fuss the cat got spooked, and when my Missus opened the door to try to calm her she jumped out right into the water and we couldn't find her."
The kennel lady pulled Ming out of the cage and handed her to Hannah, "Sparky found her right off and picked her up as gentle as a lamb' he held her long enough for me to get them both back into the cage safe and sound."
Hannah put one arm around me and pulled me close, "I always knew Sparky and Ming really love each other; I'm going to make sure they spend a lot more time together from now on. But right now we need to get them home and give them a good bath."
Wonderful! More time stuck with that silly little cat AND a bath!