Word Count 497
Feed the Heart
By G. Ackman
The tiny newborn’s front legs barely moved, but it was enough of a twitch that I knew he alone survived. His mother had exhausted herself bringing these babies into the world, and I had feared that it had all been in vain, but at least one little spark remained and I vowed then and there to make sure this little guy survived.
“You tried so hard, my sweet princess. You go watch us from the Bridge and I will take care of this little one for you. I promise.”
I reached down and gently picked the baby up and wrapped him in a soft towel. I rubbed his little belly and the high-pitched squeak was the most gratifying sound I had ever heard. I held him close and murmured to him, rocking and soothing him. I knew he would be hungry and my emergency supply kit had a couple of cans of puppy milk and a syringe in it. Trial and error became a great teacher as I had to learn how much pressure to use on the syringe so that the little guy could get enough milk without choking, and he had to learn how to accept the syringe. There was definitely some spilled milk but we didn’t cry over it.
Every three hours, we repeated the process, stopping to burp once in the middle and then again at the end. After each feeding, we had our little bathroom sessions with warm, moist cotton balls helping the little guy to do his business. I was a pretty poor substitute for his mother licking him to make him go, but there really are some lengths that I won’t go to for a dog.
A full-night’s rest became a dim memory and I ambled through my days with a permanent cloud of fog around my brain. My eyes were gritty and I could no more put together a coherent thought than I could fly. But he was getting stronger, his hunger squeaks now insistent and his squirming made him resemble a sausage in a hot skillet.
Soon two weeks had gone by and one morning, I fed him and then turned him over to burp him and when I turned him back over for the second half of the feeding, there they were. Two bright shining eyes looking right at me.
“Why, hello bright eyes!” and at my laugh his little tail swished like a propeller on a jet boat. Right there I named him. Jet. “Do you like that. Jet” Swish, swish, swish.
That was 14 years ago and Jet has always been by my side. But now I see that his eyes are focused on a distant place, a place where he will go join his mother and both will watch and wait for me. I fought hard to bring Jet into this world, but I will let him go gently into the next. I fed his body and now his love will feed my heart.