In our modern-day America, people remain indoors on hot, sunny days, either watching TV or using the Internet. Summer finds Americans escaping indoors, suffering from the heat and worshiping our air-conditioners. Porch swings are empty. House stoops are vacant. But in China, people are always out and about, especially neighbors.
Right now, our lovely weather has us all emerging from our apartments to visit with one another. Our apartment complex grounds are filled with living things, everywhere blossoming with roses and flowering bushes. You will find the dog owners strolling around the sidewalk pathways with their pets racing about, the elderly sitting on concrete benches while swapping stories or knitting sweaters, the kids releasing their suppressed energy after classes and even some of our young couples linked arm in arm and laughing as they head out the gate for a night on the town.
At this time, Little Ghost (lost kitten deserted on the sidewalk) has been enjoying a few outings around our lovely grassy areas. The neighborhood’s early evening crowd-gathering is the best time when Little Ghost is seen. If LG (a girl) is to get a good home, people need to know about her and take pity on her. I am making sure everyone hears her sad story and sees her cute, tiny features so when the time comes, my plea to give her a home will have a more dramatic effect on them and a successful outcome for me.
Although still little at 4 weeks old, LG makes a 10-minute evening appearance in my hands to see the neighbors. Everyone peers into the hand-towel she’s wrapped in and coos over her.
“She’s so little!”
“She’s so clean!”
Then come the questions: “How old is she?”, “What does she eat?”, “Do you wash her?”, “Where does she sleep?”, “What does Little Flower think about her?”
I tell them her story of crawling along the sidewalk, people rushing by, how she was crying pitifully, that her mother was nowhere in sight, and that the shop keepers didn’t know where her mother was. My onlookers tsk and shake their heads at their fellow countrymen who left her to die.
“Chinese people are very busy,” they sigh. “They have no time for pets.”
Then they give me a thumbs up for having taken her in.
As people talk to me, I size them up as to who might be the most vulnerable to take in a new family member. My greatest hope has been a very nice retired couple who have a friendly Pomeranian named Zhu-zhu (pronounced “jew-jew”). Zhu-zhu has a great fondness for my Chihuahua, Little Flower. The two of them are often romping and frolicking about whenever outside together. Zhu-zhu also has a great fondness for kitties. When I was surrounded by neighbors who were looking at LG, Zhu-zhu began eagerly springing up and down at my feet, curious to see what was holding everyone’s attention.
“Zhu-zhu likes cats,” his owners assured me.
I bent down and cautiously allowed Zhu-zhu to sniff LG. Sure enough, Zhu-zhu gave her a gentle nudge with his nose and a lick to top off their first meeting. This seems to be a match made in heaven.
We didn’t fare so well with another of my neighbor’s dogs, however. I have no idea what his breed is but I call him the Abominable Snowdog. He is a huge, white, curly-haired fuzzball (in need of a very good grooming session) that is just too energetic for his own good. He gallops and bounds about on two left feet, a somewhat dorky giant that careens rather than runs once let loose from the confines of his small home. Abominable Snowdog wants so much to play with other canines that he has no restraint when it comes to approaching other dogs. Many times, he’s come tearing across the complex to pounce on Little Flower. He barks happily while circling her only to have LF bravely stand her ground and snap back. It doesn’t seem to bother him any. He just shoots back across the complex to find another little dog to play with . As always, he has no takers since most run for cover.
I probably should have done the same when he came racing up to me the other evening. As usual, I was cradling Little Ghost in a hand-towel. A few people were standing around me, talking about kitty care, when suddenly two huge paws landed on my chest and there was Abominable Snowdog, his head even with mine. He was in the mood for play until he saw the kitty.
Those next few seconds nearly ended in tragedy.
I protectively clutched the kitten with two hands. Abominable took a curious sniff of LG, then “snap!”, he just about took off her little head.
Those around me gasped. I struggled to pull LG in closer to my body. Abominable’s owner came running. After many apologies, he led his energetic dog back to its romp around the complex.
The rest of us laughed with relief. Our Little Ghost had, literally, almost lived up to her name.
It always amazes me how each little task we take on in this world, whether it be one we planned on taking or one thrust upon us, holds an miraculous opportunity to change our lives for the better if we allow it to do so. With Little Ghost’s arrival, I’ve learned how to successfully care for a motherless kitten, which may come in handy again sometime in the future. I now know more people in my neighborhood. I spend more time visiting with others in the evenings. Everyone enjoys discussing LG’s health and well-being while watching her yawn or stretch out her soft, little paws. I’ve learned many new vocabulary words which I’d never have known before and my listening skills are improving. When I’m going or coming from class, I even have people who stop to ask how Little Ghost is doing. And my writing teacher, who reads my Chinese essays about Little Ghost’s progress, enjoys questioning me about LG’s life, if she’s eating well or if I’ve found a home for her yet. It’s given us something in common to talk about which brings our teacher-student relationship a bit closer.
What’s more, Little Ghost’s journey is far from ended. Who knows what other blessings LG’s presence will bring, or what light she’ll shine on those who choose to adopt her?
I would have to say there’s a lot of God at work here, and I feel very fortunate, and blessed, to be a part of it.
As we say in Chinese, until next time, “Zai Jian!” (Bye!)