They Come In All Sizes

tuxedo cat on brown surface

( Intermediate Level )

Once a stray cat, Mr. Boots maneuvered his way into the hearts of the residents of Cumberton City’s nursing home. He would sit outside and greet the people coming and going into the facility.

Many of the residents loved seeing him. He would curl up in their laps while they were having their outside activities. Purring and soaking up all their pats and belly rubs while everyone basked in the sunshine. Once in a while, he even had scraps of food given to him.

One day, Mr. Boots ventured his way into the facility. Making his way from room to room. He greeted each and stayed for a short while before he became bored. He would get up, stretch and mosey his way to the next room.

Nurse Sally was taking care of Mr. Bill when Boots came in. “Well hello there,” Bill said as the cat jumped into his lap. “What have you named this little guy, Bill?” said Sally as she finished taking Bill’s vital signs.

“I’ve been calling him Mr. Boots. Look at his legs. Four white boots. Honestly, he visits me more than my own family. I rather love his company.”

“He doesn’t do much. He usually curls up somewhere and falls asleep. He does listen to you. As soon as you speak he lifts his head as if he is listening to you.”

“The Director says he can stay as long as he doesn’t become a nuisance here. She will make sure his vaccines are up to date and he gets  neutered also once he’s proven himself.”

Bill looked up at Nurse Sally,” He’s like the rest of us here. Old. Too old to cause any trouble. He knows he has it good here. I know he won’t mess this up.”

At that comment she bid Bill a goodbye until the late afternoon checks. Bill continued to love on Mr. Boots until it was his time to go to see the next. He smiled as he left. “See you later, Old Boy.”

The days ran into weeks and the weeks into months. Mr. Boots continued his same routine until this one particular night. The weather was turning colder and he seemed to enjoy being inside more than anything.

At least this is what everyone at the nursing home felt. Since he was growing older maybe the colder temperatures bothered him more. He spent more time in Bill’s room. Rarely leaving to see others.

Bill didn’t pay much mind to this. He figured he showed more attention to Boots than any other resident so this was why he stayed. Plus he had given boots a blanket to himself to snuggle in.

It wasn’t until Sunday had Bill realized why Boots spent so much extra time with him. On Friday evening, Bill made sure Boots was comfortable in his blanket before he got ready for bed.

Bill went to the bathroom to wash up and change into his pajamas as usual. The same routine he had done every night.

This night was different . As Bill readied himself for bed he felt a strange feeling in his chest. He shrugged it off as something minor.

As he pulled on his pajama top a sharp stabbing pain hit him in the chest. It hit with such intensity that he doubled up hitting his head on the bathroom sink.

The next thing he knows he woke up in the hospital, on Sunday, with his family all around him. Everyone hugged him when he opened his eyes.

“What happened? What day is it? , he asked as his mind was becoming clearer. “The last thing I remember is getting ready for bed and I had this sharp pain in my chest. I grabbed my chest and now I am here.”

His son, Edgar, told him the story, “The doctors said you had a heart attack and they think you hit your head on the way down. That silly cat started roaring these deep meows and running back and forth from the nurse’s station to your room until someone paid attention to him.”

“They found you on the bathroom floor so you are very lucky to have that cat. He made sure you got the help you needed.”

His name is Mr. Boots“, Bill told his son in a stern voice,” He is far from a silly cat. He saved my life according to your story and he gives me hours of comfort. Where is he now?”

He hasn’t left your room since you came to the hospital. They have tried to coax him with food and treats but he will not budge. Seems he is stubborn like you, Pop.” Edgar said. trying to lighten the spirits in the room.”

“When can I get out of here? I need to go and be with him. He needs to eat. He needs to know I am ok thanks to him.”

“The doctor said he will transfer you back to the nursing home this afternoon if you are stable.”

“Good. The sooner the better. You know I dislike hospitals.”

As expected, Bill was transferred back to Cumberton’s number one nursing facility to find Boots curled up in the blanket he had prepared for him the night of his heart attack.

As soon as Mr. Boots saw Bill and he jumped to his feet and leaped onto the bed waiting patiently for Bill to come to him.

“Hi boy,” he said with a caring voice. “ It seems I need to thank you for saving my life. I think you knew something was going to happen to old Bill.” Boots purr was louder than Bill had ever heard. He rubbed his body against Bill’s leg.

Heroes come in all sizes, don’t they boy.” The rest of the afternoon Boots stayed by Bill’s side.

Written By: Angel

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Meta Business Suite: Angel’s Thoughts to Pen

Thoughts From Angel:

I truly believe animals are in tune with us. As a dog owner myself, I know my “Bella” knows my moods and when to cheer me up or just cuddle.

If You Appreciate What I Do and Would Like to Support Me:

Vocabulary:

maneuvered – verb: move skillfully or carefully

basked – verb: lie exposed to warmth and light, typically from the sun, for relaxation

ventured – verb: go somewhere

mosey – verb: move in a leisurely manner

nuisance – noun: causing inconvenience or annoyance

neutered – verb: castrate or spay ( an animal)

proven – adjective: demonstrated by evidence

bid _ noun: to give a greeting to someone

love on – phrasal verb: demonstrate care or affection

pay much mind – verb:  to pay close attention to (someone or something)

minor – adjective: lesser in importance

intensity – noun: strength or force

coax – verb: persuade

budge – verb:  make the slightest movement

leaped – verb: move quickly and suddenly

Question ( s ):

Do you own a pet?

Do you think animals can foresee or sense things?

Bill and Old Shep

( Intermediate Level )

Bill is a simple man. He has a wonderful wife, Cheryl, and four children. Two boys, Bill Jr., and Frankie, and twin girls, Maggie and Elizabeth. They have a small five-acre farm in Oklahoma. Their farm was their livelihood.

He raised enough livestock for his family consumption and grew a variety of vegetables. They owned one milking cow, one rooster, and several hens that would keep them in plenty of eggs. All other animals on the farm would be raised until it was time for the freezer.

Whenever his children asked for a pet he would say, “If it is not useful or we cannot eat it, we will not have that animal on our farm.” His eldest son always insisted his family needed a dog. “You said if it is not useful or we cannot eat it we cannot have one. A dog is the most useful animal on a farm. It will protect us and our farm.”

His dad couldn’t think of a rebuttal. He simply didn’t want another mouth to feed. In the end, he gave in and allowed them to get a dog. Before his dad could change his mind, Bill Jr. hurried to town to see if anyone had puppies.

He was told that Mrs. Green, at the corner store, had a litter of puppies ready to go to new homes. He quickly ran down to the store and asked. Mrs. Green told him there was only one left. She went into the next room and picked up the last of the litter.

Jr. looked at this small black and brown fur ball and smiled. “He is perfect!” Mrs. Green smiled, “So what are you going to name this little guy?” Jr. Looked at the puppy and said “Shep. I will call him Shep.”

Jr. Ran out of the store yelling back to Mrs. Green, “Thank You!” He wanted to get home before dinner. He took a shortcut through the neighboring farmer’s fields. He wanted to show off Shep to the family.

Bill was out at the barn getting the animals up for the evening when he saw Jr. He couldn’t quite make out what he was carrying but he obviously had something in his arms.

Jr. met his dad at the barn proudly showing his dad Shep. “Hm, I thought we were getting a dog, not a small tiny rat. What good will he be to us now? He is too young to protect us.”

Jr. wasn’t going to let his Dad’s words damper the moment. “Don’t worry dad. I know this one is the smartest of the bunch and he will catch on quickly. He will be protecting us quicker than you think.”

Jr. headed to the house to show his mom and his siblings Shep. His sisters and brother loved on Shep. He, in turn, began licking each of them on the cheek. “Alright you four, it is dinnertime. You need to put Shep up somewhere and wash your hands,” Mom said as she watched her children’s faces and smiled.

Bill had come in and was washing his hands at the kitchen sink. “So what do you think about Shep?” Bill answered, “I agreed to get a dog to help keep the wolves or big cats coming onto our farm. That guy will be a snack for any of them.

“Shep has made the children happy, Bill. You know how much your first dog meant to you when you were a kid.” Bill looked at her and smiled, ” Yeah, I guess you are right.

Two years had passed and Shep has turned out to be an excellent protector of the farm. He actually spent most of his time with Bill while the kids were in school. Bill’s thoughts had softened regarding Shep after the first month. He noticed Shep was a scrapper and wouldn’t back down from anything.

Shep would sit and watch as Bill worked and never missed a thing. When a bird flew by or a neighboring cat would wander onto the farm he was right there chasing them away. Somehow Shep knew this was his job.

Bill was busy mending the gate to the pasture that he hadn’t noticed the wolf scout walking adjacent to the fence. It hadn’t escaped Shep’s notice. He began to growl. As the wolf came in closer Shep’s growl became deeper.

This had caught Bill’s attention now. Something was upsetting Shep. He looked and saw Shep was looking in his direction. Bill turned around to see a wolf within a few feet of him.

Shep sprang into action. Whisking by Bill and on the heels of the wolf. The two had run off into the hills. Shep’s barking was heard in the distance.

Some time had passed and Shep hadn’t returned. Bill had finished the gate awhile ago but he had stayed waiting for Shep to return.

It was getting close to dinnertime and the kids were home by now. Bill picked up his tools and headed towards home. Looking back a few times to see if Shep was coming. Nothing.

Jr. had seen his dad heading home through the kitchen window and headed out to meet his dad. “Where’s Shep?

Jr. had taken full responsibility of Shep since he was a pup. The two were inseparable and were only apart when he was at school or at church.

Bill explained to his son what had happened. “You left him out there? How could you? What if he is hurt?”, Jr. was visibly upset. “He will be alright son. He had done his job and protected me and the farm. He will be back. Now, let’s head in and get ready for dinner. Your mom is waiting on us.”

Everyone was eating and talking about their day during dinner except for Jr. His thoughts were on Shep. Wondering if he was hurt. This had not gone unnoticed by Bill.

Dinner had finished. The children’s homework was completed and still no Shep. It was getting close to bedtime for the children. They had school tomorrow and had to be up early.

Jr. asked his mom if he could take the flashlight and go outside for five minutes and call for Shep. Mom looked at him then at Bill, “Sure, five minutes. I am sure he will find his way back home. Your dad says he is a smart one.”

Jr. grabbed the flashlight out of the cupboard in the kitchen and ran outside. His voice was heard inside. “Shep. Come on boy. Where are you.? Shep. Shep”

Bill stood at the window watching his son. He felt guilty for not staying and waiting a little longer for Shep. He could have looked for him before he headed home.

Jr. reluctantly came inside after five minutes of calling for Shep and whistling. He looked at his mom and dad. His face is sad with despair. “Good night.” With his head hung low he headed to his bedroom.

Cheryl finished the dinner dishes while Bill sat in the living room looking out the window. Somehow he felt he let his son down. “Cheryl, I am going out for a bit. Don’t wait up. I am going to try to see if I can find Shep.

He grabbed the flashlight his son had used, his truck keys and gave his wife a quick kiss. He headed out the front door with a mission to find Shep.

He didn’t want to admit it but he, too, liked that dog. He was a great companion for him when he worked. He shared his lunches with Shep. He talked to Shep as if he understood everything. “It is hot out here today boy, isn’t it? Shep would look and wag his tail.

Bill had traveled along the fence line where he saw Shep and the wolf. He got out periodically shining the flashlight off into the distance calling his name. “Shep. Come here, boy.” Still nothing.

He was about to give up when he spotted what looked like a pair of eyes off in the distance. He stopped the truck and got out. He shined the flashlight towards the eyes.

Shep, Is that you?” There was movement giving Bill the hope that this was Shep. He started to walk towards the figure. “Shep?” Again movement. He walked a little faster. Then the walk became a run.

It was Shep. He was lying on his side in a tuft of long grass. Bill dropped to his knees surveying what he said. Shep licked his hand as it brushed his muzzle. It was too dark to see much of anything so Bill picked him up carefully and placed him in his truck on the passenger side.

Bill hurried home. Cheryl had seen the truck lights coming and met her husband outside. “I have Shep. Help me inside with him.

Cheryl had tended to Shep’s wounds. Actually, there weren’t as bad as they both thought. Once they cleaned him up they saw a few deep puncture wounds on Shep’s front legs and hindquarter and a few scrapes along with his ears.

Shep, most likely, found the place where Bill had found him to regain his strength and rest. Bill offered Shep food and water. He drank a little. “You will be alright boy. Thank you for protecting me. If it wasn’t for you I might not be here.

Cheryl did all she could for Shep. She washed up and told Bill she was heading to bed. “I will stay here with Shep tonight,” As he grabbed the afghan blanket off the back of the sofa. “You head to bed and I will see you in the morning.” Bill curled up next to Shep and drifted off to sleep.

Morning came and Bill rolled over and Shep was not by his side. He sat up to see Shep with Jr. licking his face as Jr. hugged him. “Don’t ever scare me again Shep. You were brave to save poppa. I knew you were useful. Poppa just had to realize this.

Jr. looked over to see his dad watching the two of them. He smiled. “You were right, son. Shep belongs here. I cannot imagine our lives without him.

Now let’s have breakfast. I hear momma in the kitchen and you have to get ready for school.” The two-headed to the kitchen with Shep gingerly following a few steps behind.

Written by: Angel

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Vocabulary:

livelihood – noun: necessities of life

consumption – noun: using a resource

rebuttal – noun: argument

litter – noun:  animals born at one time ( a litter of kittens, a litter of puppies )

neighboring – adjective: next to or very near

obviously – adverb: understood

proudly – adverb: pleasure or satisfaction 

damper – noun: subdue

protector – noun: a person or animal that protects

scrapper – noun: fighter

back down – phrasal verb: withdraw

mending – verb: repairing

scout – noun: ahead of the main group so as to gather information of strength

adjacent – adjective: near, next to, or joining

sprang – verb: move or jump quickly

whisking – verb: move in a direction suddenly and quickly

on the heels of- phrasal verb: following closely after

visibly – adverb: noticed

unnoticed – adjective: not noticed

despair – verb: without hope

mission – noun: the important assignment

companion – noun: a person or animal that spends a lot of time with you

periodically – adverb: time to time not routine

dropped to his knees idiom: literally falling to one’s knees

muzzle – noun: nose and mouth of an animal

puncture – noun: small holes

hindquarter – noun: the back half of an animal including leg

regain – verb: use of again after losing it

afghan blanket – noun: blanket (throw blanket) crochet or knitted

gingerly – adverb: in a careful way

Question ( s ):

What do you think about the relationship between Bill and Shep?