Of Creatures Great and Small

Of Creatures Great and Small

A Story by Michele Devlin
"

Story of a dog, a horse and a girl

"


 

  Charlemagne was a beautiful gelding; champagne colored and full of restless energy. Willard Harmon had had few reservations when his wife Maria had brought him home from the stock sale in Amarillo. The $12,000 price tag might have seemed a bit steep at first but Charlemagne quickly proved himself worth every dime as a fine riding animal;  gentle, strong and intelligent. And, after all, wasn't it he who had suggested she buy her own mount? And seven year old Emilia had secured his spot on their ranch when Will observed how gentle the horse was with her. She literally had him eating from her hand only moments after arrival.

 

Bruno, the family's Boxer Bull, was no harder a sell and quickly became fast friends with Charlemagne. Bruno had been Emilia's guardian and constant since the child was born. He was very protective and shadowed the little girl everywhere on the ranch. When she had started school Bruno refused to eat until she came home on the big yellow bus. He moped around the house seeming sad and distraught. After riding in the pick-up out to meet her that first day after school however he quickly settled into his routine. About three in the afternoon every weekday he would take off out the long dirt drive to meet his best friend. Now Bruno settled into a new routine of visiting the gelding every day and wandering the pasture to and from the shaded brook with Charlemagne. It soon seemed commonplace to find the two resting side by side in the heat of an Odessa afternoon.

A few minutes before three o'clock both would run to the far end of the pasture, Bruno crouching under the locust post fence and trotting down the drive to meet the bus.

 

The first day of June was an exciting time for Emilia. It was graduation day. All year she had studied and worked for this moment. Bob Hansen was not having such a good day at all. Bob had been fighting with his wife last night over their finances. He accused her of spending too much money shopping and she accused him of spending too much time in the local bar and each blamed the other. Bob had left the house in a fit of anger pulling a fifth of Jack Daniels from behind the seat of his Ford and proceeded to drink himself into a stupor. He had called his job at one o'clock in the afternoon when he had woke up in a strip mall parking lot, suffering the heat with a busting headache and an empty bottle. His boss informed him that he no longer had a job which only made Bob's head hurt worse. If the finances were tough before, they would be impossible now. It was with all this on his blurred mind that he drove down the highway, half-conscious of the road before him. He didn't even see the bus or the flashing stop sign.

 

Emilia stepped from the bus smiling and waving goodbye to her friends and started across the road to her driveway. There was a dull thud and screams from inside the bus.

Emilia lay just beyond where the pick-up had swerved from the road in a last second effort. Two feet from her lay Bruno, his hind leg bent in a horrifying, unnatural angle and blood from all over. He whimpered towards the body of his friend who lay bruised and unconscious but alive. He had barely been there in time...barely and he closed his eyes.

Police and ambulances arriving on the scene were impressed by the sight. Bruno had taken the brunt of the impact to save his tiny friend. The EMT loaded the animal into a second ambulance. It violated all protocol but it was Bruno's only chance.

 

 Will and Maria arrived at the hospital to find their seven year old in a coma. The doctors said she was in stable but serious condition. She had taken a pretty hard bump to the head, had some contusions and a few lacerations but no broken bones. They were hopeful of a complete recovery. There were still tests to be done, scans for any internal bleeding around the brain area and they tried to comfort the crying couple with all the hope they could offer. Bob Hansen had been taken away by the State Troopers in handcuffs to answer for his recklessness but that was of no consolation at all, if anything, it only added to the sad desperation the family felt. The doctor explained that the situation could have been much worse except for the valiant efforts of her brave canine companion. Bruno!

 

At a local animal hospital, a surgeon worked for hours to save the dog's life. He had heard of the accident and knew what a fine thing Bruno had done. He knew the little girl's family was with her in the hospital. He didn't know if his services would be approved or if he would get paid for his efforts. He didn't care. His only thought was to save the dog. Bruno was in pretty bad shape to make the least of the diagnosis. He had broken ribs, a broken rear leg, torn ligaments and internal bleeding. Once the bleeding was stopped his chances of survival improved greatly.

 

Cal Harmon had visited his niece in those first hours after the accident, was told she was being tested, and talked quietly with his brother after hugging Maria. Then he was gone, pulling away in his black Escalade; driving south down the busy highway. Back at the animal hospital Bruno was sleeping quietly, his breaths shallow but steady. The surgeon had had to remove a portion of his hind leg to save his life and he was under heavy sedation, bandaged and lying in a bundle of soft blankets. Cal Harmon was a tough man, he'd been in combat and seen more than his share of injury and death. Now he worked as a consultant for an advertising firm and was a strong advocate for Gulf War veterans. Cal Harmon wept at the sight before him. Do everything you can to give him the best care possible, money is not a concern. That was all he said to the surgeon and drove back to the hospital to check on his niece.

 

The days, weeks and months that followed were filled with worry, anxiety and prayer. Lots of prayer. But after four days Emilia came out of her coma and the doctors determined there would be no lasting physiological injuries. The psychological trauma was not so easy to address. Her best friend lay injured and maimed from trying to protect her. But he tried to rise when she was brought into the room where he lay recovering. She knelt beside him as he licked the tears from her cheeks. He tried to stand without much success and after several attempts he would crumple into a sad, frustrated heap. His only joy was seeing his friend who hardly left his side now, insisting she be the only one to feed and water him. He was, after all, her hero. He had saved her life.

 

Will Harmon was worried about Bruno when Cal came by with an offer to pay for an animal prosthetic for the dog. Even with the insurance money from Bob Hansen's auto coverage and the medical he carried on Emilia there was still a hefty chunk of savings gone for the extensive hospital stay. The veterinarian had refused all payment for his services and offered it as a "tribute to girl's best friend".

 

On the day of the fitting for Bruno's new leg  he was carried out of the house in the loving arms of Willard Harmon. Charlemagne trotted to the edge of his pasture whinnying and prancing. Bruno barked at the sight of his old friend. Will smiled in spite of himself and then carried Bruno down to visit the horse. Then an amazing thing took place as he gently laid Bruno down outside the fence. Bruno struggled for a few minutes and then stood proudly on his three good legs before Charlemagne. Charlemagne seemed to acknowledge this accomplishment with a toss of his head and a gratifying snort. After several months, everything became as it was before; Bruno played with his friend in the pasture; Emilia returned to school; except now, every day the children on the bus all applauded at the sight of Bruno and the golden gelding whinnying in the pasture. Bruno had become a local hero with his picture in the papers and his story on the news.

 

A company specializing in animal prosthetics had offered Bruno a new leg for free. It looked like a brace that fit tightly down to where his paw should have been except for now, instead of a paw...it looked more like Bruno had a small hoof. Charlemagne seemed to approve and Bruno? Bruno was never happier.

 

 

 


© 2016 Michele Devlin



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Featured Review

I love this story! I love stories about the friendship and bonds between us and animal friends. Your portrait of the beautiful horse and the relationship between the three of them was wonderful. I also love happy endings, so I'm so glad they all healed with one another. Very uplifting and touching read.

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Michele Devlin

1 Year Ago

Thank you so much Marianne. I happy to find other animal lovers here and I really appreciate your ki.. read more



Reviews

I love this story! I love stories about the friendship and bonds between us and animal friends. Your portrait of the beautiful horse and the relationship between the three of them was wonderful. I also love happy endings, so I'm so glad they all healed with one another. Very uplifting and touching read.

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Michele Devlin

1 Year Ago

Thank you so much Marianne. I happy to find other animal lovers here and I really appreciate your ki.. read more
What a beautiful story. You managed to tug at the heartstrings and leave the reader with beautiful thoughts of a girl, her hero and her horse. Superb. And no, I'm not crying, I got a bit of something in my eye :)

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Michele Devlin

1 Year Ago

Thank you for reading. I'm a big animal lover. I'm so glad you liked it.
Lorry.

1 Year Ago

I'm glad you're glad. :)

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Believe It Or Not
Believe It Or Not
This is my first attempt at slam poetry, and I'm excited to film a performance of this piece over the coming day.
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Added on August 6, 2016
Last Updated on August 6, 2016

Author

Michele Devlin
Michele Devlin

San Antonio, TX



About
College student at university. Enjoys writing poetry and short story. more..

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