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And The Little Dog Barked

By Florence Schoen

The year was 1976. It was a hot and humid August evening.  As I climbed up the subway stairs in Downtown,there was a fine drizzle in the air.  I was on my home from my job in Manhattan.  As soon as I opened the door to my little efficiency apartment, my four cats and little poodle, Babette, came running to greet me. They were always so happy when I came home.

I lived on the first floor, almost level with the ground, but had my own private yard which was right off the street.  There was iron gates on all my windows. The first thing I did was go to the middle window of my large room to unscrew and remove the tall heavy piece from that gate, which left an opening to the yard. There was a wooden platform outside, which made it easier for me to step out.  Since the air was so moist with the light rain, I took my five plants and placed them on the platform.  The four cats, feeling very hot, were glad to get some air, and sprawled themselves out next to the plants.

I knew all the animals were hungry, and so was I.  But I was so tired,  I decided to lie down, just for a little while. Naturally, I fell asleep. Suddenly, I was awakened by the sound of loud barking.  I jumped up to see my little Babette in the middle of the floor.  She was at the window, jumping, snarling, showing her teeth, and barking ferociously.  A man in a trench coat was on the platform, one foot on the windowsill, trying to get into the room.  He was having a difficult time, because all the plants and the cats were in his way.  As I looked up, I actually saw my black cat, Jimcrack, jump over his back, just like the cow that jumped over the moon.  It was very strange that the cats didn’t disperse, as cats would when frightened.  But they all stayed there, blocking his way.  Well, you never saw anyone move as fast as I did at that moment. I ran to the window, pulled out the heavy iron gate from behind the hutch, lifted it up as if it were a feather, and slammed it down tino place, screwing it tightly.  I almost caught the intruder’s foot, but he pulled it back in time.  I then yelled, ”Ben, get the gun,” pretending a man was there with me.  I did, quickly, get my mock pistol that shoots blanks. I pulled the trigger several times, while the man jumped over the fence.

I looked at the clock.  It was midnight.  I couldn’t believe what had happened.  Babette had been a sick little dog, who’d suffered heart failure the night Camelot, her lifelong companion poodle, died.  But she knew her duty was to protect me and alarm me of danger.  It wasn’t long after this attempted break-in, that I lost two my of my precious furry angels, Babette and Jimcrack.  But on that night, they were all there for me- my four cats, my five plants, and Babette, my devoted friend of twelve years.  All of nature saved me.

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