Window of Opportunity-a New Beginning

by J.D. Hoff

Window of opportunity

As the door opened, Samantha walked in and sat down beside her new friend George.

George, who had the look of years of wisdom on his face, couldn't help but to see the look of sorrow in Samantha's eyes. Wanting to take Samantha's mind away from her troubles, if only for a few minutes, George asks Samantha if she knows about the Window of opportunity. Samantha, looking curious at George, says, what is this window of opportunity that you speak of? George adjusts his seating and says, little Lady, years ago when I was a young lad, I watched the Men in the field as they rode around herding the cattle, whoopin' and a hollerin' as they sat tall on their trusty equestrian mounts.

Always seeming so happy to be out in the fresh air, spending their time with friends while they provide for their family. I would sit there for hours at a time, in total awe of their magnificent ability to turn 100 or more of the creatures in any given direction. To me, it was simply breath taking. I would go to bed at night, dreaming of what it would be like to join them as they trotted about, moving the cattle to and fro. Knowing that if only I was given the chance, I would be one of the best.

One day, I heard that the men were looking for a helper. Oh, how excited I was. I cleaned myself up to look my very best. I would need to stand in line with so many others and only one of us was to leave without a frown.

A kind gentleman, named Bill, walked into the group of us. I was so nervous that I found myself shaking in the tiny little spot where I stood at the back of the crowd. Hey you, Bill shouted over the crowd. Who me? Was he really talking to me? George wondered to himself. Another voice yelled out, that's George, he's from the old Partain place. Oh my! I couldn't believe it. My dreams were all coming true. I tell you, I was so happy, I danced a little jig right there on the spot.

I ran those cattle like no one ever had seen before. Some days I was so tired that I would pass up supper and go to bed early. I couldn't tell you how many ribbons I won at competitions around the world. Everyone was telling everyone how great I was and how there would never be another like me.

About that time a frown crossed Georges face.

What's wrong, asked Samantha

Oh, I was just thinking about the way it used to be.

Those days were the best. It's such a shame that we have to get....

George suddenly jumped up and ran to the door.

Come here quick! George tells Samantha

Huh? What's wrong? Samantha asks, as she peers out the opening in the door.

Listen, says George. Do you hear that?

You mean the footsteps? Asks Samantha.

Yes, Yes! Quickly, try to look your best and smile.

But why George? Asks Samantha

You remember when I was telling you about The Window of opportunity? Asks George

Yes, but what's that got to do with the footsteps? Samantha asks.

Look, Look! Exclaims George as he starts dancing around, prancing back and forth.

Do you know who that is? Oh my! I knew it was her. I just knew it.Says George.

That lady is The rescuer and This is our window of opportunity for a brand new life.

One where we will always be loved and cared for. Even when we get too old to work.

--

Samantha wasn't up to smiling, only a few hours before, the family that she had thought cared so very much for her, handed her to the old man and left without even saying so much as Good-Bye. Still, she knew that George was a wise old soul and didn't want her new friend to be disappointed in her, so she did her best and gave a couple of half hearted leaps, barely getting her front feet off of the ground. All of the commotion from the others in the rooms down the hall was hurting Samantha's ears. She was trying to mimic George's actions, but the noise was just too much. Samantha stood by the door with her head half dropped as the rescuer walked by looking into the rooms. One by one, she would take down the cards that were hanging on the doors and peer in at the faces staring back at her. George whispered to Samantha, get up as close as you can to the door, it's hard for them to see us through all of that wire. Samantha didn't move. Her Heart was broken and she was losing all hope in humanity. Slowly, the footsteps began to fade away and George curled up in the corner, at the back of the room. A look of darkness filled his face. Samantha, feeling that the window of opportunity had closed, joined George on the rags that a kind woman had thrown on the cold concrete floor.

--

George, listen. She's coming back. Says Samantha.

George sticks an ear up. Hearing nothing.

Then George hears it. The footsteps.

He knew all too well what the second set of footsteps meant. It was usually one of the workers coming back to choose who would go to the special room. The room at the very end of the hallway. The room where so many others have went in the days that have passed while he was there. George started to shake.

What's wrong. Samantha asks.

George only curls into a tight ball of fur, trying to be invisible and tells Samantha to do the same. The worker, a scruffy looking man walks back and pulls a card from the door. Is it this one. Old, gray and spotted? Looks like some sort of a shepherd or something. What's the name on the card? A voice yells in the distance. I think it says George the worker yells back. Bring the card up here and get a leash, I think that's the one, but let's make sure. The worker takes the card and George listens as the footsteps fade down the hall.

George says to Samantha, I will be leaving you shortly, but before I go, I want you to know something. Even though your family abandoned you and you are feeling like there is no hope left. Even though you are feeling like the World has turned it's back on you. I want you to know one thing. You will always be my friend and I love you.

But George, where are you going? Asks Samantha.

George, knowing that his friend will be left all alone, at least for the night, tries his best to keep Samantha in good spirits. So he says to her.

Child, I am going to a place where the Butterflies abound in neon colors.

The birds in the trees sing in perfect harmony and will come down at night as they lull you to sleep. The grass is ever so soft and is the brightest green that you could ever imagine.

There will be friends from my past and some that I have yet to meet.

We will play in the mud all day and then like magic, our fur will be so shiny whenever we lie down to rest. I will have my own herd of cattle to run with whenever I want.

Everyone there will feast like a king of Kings and never go hungry.

There will be sticks and bones and toys of every kind to chew on in a never-ending supply.

Oh George, I am so happy for you exclaimed Samantha.

What is this place? It sounds perfect, can I go too?

Hearing the return of the footsteps, George says, Samantha, my dear, you will see it one day, but now, I must go.

The worker opens the door and puts the leash around George's neck.

As he is being led away, he yells to Samantha, Remember, keep your head high and your Heart warm.

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As the lights dim for the night, Samantha burrows down into the dusty rags.

She closes her eyes and thinks about her friend George and what a wonderful place he must be in now. The sadness of being alone for the first time in her life has brought a misty feeling to her eyes. She dozes off to sleep, only to be awakened by a noise in the distance. She jumps up, looking all around for the little girl that always tucked her in under the covers and placed her head, ever so gently on the pillow.

Samantha realizes that her happy world is now gone forever as she tries to hide her big brown eyes in the warmth of her body.

Daylight shines through the window across the hall and Samantha wonders what the new day will bring. Will a new friend come to stay with her in the room? Will she be lucky enough to go to the land of rainbows and colored waterfalls?

Would her family realize how special she is and come back to get her?

At the end of the hallway, Samantha can hear the voices of the humans.

And then, footsteps can be heard. Samantha waddles over to the door, trying to see who it is. Everyone is dancing and parading back and forth in their doorways. It's the rescue lady, a voice cries out.

This one, this one right here, she screams down the hall.

Grab her card and bring her on up, another voice yells back.

The rescue lady opens the door and puts Samantha in her arms as a tear trickles down her face. I'm so sorry little one. We were told that another rescue person was going to get you out of here yesterday. I am so sorry you had to stay in this awful place all alone last night.

Samantha, having no idea what was going on dug her claws into the rescue lady's shoulders as they walked outside. The rescue lady carried Samantha over to her car and put a brand new harness on her and let her ride up front in the seat as they went on their journey.

The car stopped a while later and the rescue lady leaned over to get Samantha and carried her into the house.

It's all yours little lady, the rescue lady says to Samantha as she sits her down in the floor amongst the others.

Samantha, still trying to figure it all out, eases over to the sofa and lies down in front of it.

She lays her big round head down as a tiny little fellow walks over and says. That sure is a pretty harness. Samantha looks up at him and starts to speak as a voice from the other room yells out. If you think that's pretty, you ought to see all the sparklies on my collar. What? No, it couldn't be.

Samantha gets up and peeks around the edge of the sofa. Her tail now curled so tight that you could open a wine bottle with it. George, George! It is so good to see you my friend.

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