The events in these dog stories are all true. I’ve tried to portray their personalities, the events in their lives, their relationships with each other and their human friends and family they love so much. I hope you enjoy, Agave: The Will to Survive.
The morning before the storm, Agave felt a strange tension in the air. She sensed something was amiss because her person, the one they called Raul, was rushing around the ranch as if something were wrong. She followed along side him just as she always did but he didn’t pay much attention to her today. He seemed overly preoccupied and worried. Kalua, Agave’s daughter followed along too.
Agave sat down near the rancher’s cabin and watched Raul and another man they called Mundo who worked for Raul, as they threw a big, blue sheet of plastic over the long row of saddles until they were completely covered and she couldn’t see them anymore. Rapid movement to her left caught her eye as Kalua dashed off after squirrel. In Agave’s opinion, this was extremely annoying because Kalua seemed competely unaware as to the seriousness of the day. In addition, Agave wasn’t in the mood to chase squirrels or do much of anything today. Her fore leg ached. She remembered the huge, angry cow who kicked her one day while she was working in the corrals that day. Ouch!
Agave raised her nose to the sky and sniffed the air. Rain was on the way. Her ears pivoted to the right. More sounds and movement brought her attention to Raul and Mundo who were still working to secure the blue tarp.
Suddenly the wind picked up and a loud noise rumbled in the sky above her. Seconds later a crack of light with ear splitting noise lit up the sky. The noise burst through her ears with such force she wanted to run and hide. Her instincts told her to get away from the terrible sound but she focused her eyes on Raul ignoring her fear.
Kalua was nowhere in sight. Agave stayed with Raul and followed him as he now ran to the barn, and closed the heavy doors. They checked the chicken coop, the sheep, making sure they were bedded down underneath their shelter, and when he seemed satisfied he called her. The heavy wind made his strong voice sound distant and far away but the urgency in his voice and on his face was clear. Agave knew her person very well. She never let him out of her sight for long and she knew right now he wanted both of them to head for the house on the run.
Once they were safely on the kitchen patio torrents of rain began to fall. Everyone gathered on the porch and looked up at the storm ridden sky. The ladies who worked inside, Raul, and Mundo, did little else that day except sit at the patio table, drink coffee, talk among themselves and watch the storm. Agave laid down near Raul and slept for a while but it was difficult when the incredible sky noise woke her up ever so often.
Kalua, needy as always wined at Raul’s feet. Agave excused the whinning this time because she knew Kalua was also scared. Unlike herself, Kalua needed constant physical reassurance from her people. On the other hand, Agave thought a good belly rub was a wonderful thing and more than welcome from anyone who wanted to give her one but Agave’s source of reassurance and sense of safety was not necessarily the need of physical touch. Agave felt safe just being near her people. Especially Raul.
Sometime that afternoon Agave’s haven suddenly turned upside down. Due to a four year drought, the land had become extremely dry. The top layer of dirt was now just a fine, thick powder with no substance to it whatsoever. The constant pummel of water caused the loose dirt to run down from the mountains and carry with it small trees, branches from larger ones, rocks and anything else obstructing its path.
Agave watched in horror as rivers of mud and water began to flow into the large patio area and through the corrals. She’d had never seen anything like this before! She looked around, “Where was Raul?” From where she stood on the porch her eyes scanned the out lying areas of the ranch, trying to see through the rain but he was no where to be found.
It was very dark now. Raul and Mundo disappeared and the ladies went back to the kitchen. Kalua had vanished as well. Agave watched as mud continued to pour onto the grass and down the walk ways until it completely covered the patio in front of the kitchen. Now she was scared.
The great sky noise was defeaning. She had to get away from it! The only hidden place she knew of was underneath the porch. That’s where she had her first litter of puppies, and that’s where she went to stay cool on hot summer days. It was her special hiding place. Surely there she would be safe until the noise and rain stopped. She quietly stepped off the porch and ducked through the Rosemary bush and underneath the patio until she found the dirt hole she made for herself long ago. She lay down, the edges of the rounded out circle molding perfectly to her body. Once again Agave tried to sleep until the storm passed.
It wasn’t long before she awoke to water and mud rushing around her underneath the porch. She quickly looked for an escape route but the entrance at the Rosemary bush was completely covered with mud. She couldn’t get out! Mud and water surged under the porch and covered her up to her shoulders. Agave knew she was stuck. Somehow she managed to tilt her head upwards towards the crack in the porch’s planks about a foot above her just enough so she could breathe. She thought about Raul and wondered how he would find her and did he know where she was?
The rain, thunder and lightening continued. Soon the seeping mud became so thick she couldn’t move her legs or feet anymore. It had completely covered her torso. She was cold too and as the night wore on it became colder.
Once in a while she heard peoples’ voices above her on the porch. Kalua kept scratching and pawing at the floorboards but no one seemed to pay any attention. She wondered why. Kalua knew how to get attention from people. Why not now? Did Raul know where she was? Did he know she was in trouble?
She heard Raul’s voice as he said her name over and over again but she couldn’t answer. She was sleepy and cold. All she could do was keep her nose up to catch what little air came through the cracks in the planks.
Time passed but she wasn’t aware of exactly how long. She didn’t really know what time was and at that moment as she drifted in and out of a semi-conscious sleep she was grateful for Kalua’s helpful whinning and pawing over the wooden planks. This kept her awake and she knew she had to stay there, keep her head up with her nose to the crack in the plank until someone found her.
This was one moment Agave was thankful for Kalua’s relentless insistance and impatience. Suddenly, she heard the men standing directly above her on the patio. She heard pounding again. Was it more thunder that hurt her ears so? No, it was something else. She tried with all her might to shift her body so she could see what was going on but the mud weighed her down. Dust and slivers of wood fell on top of her head when her eyes caught site of the wood plank as it began to come loose. She saw someone’s hands grip the plank and rip it off with a final determined tug.
When Agave saw Raul’s face peering down at hers, heavy with concern, she was elated! She tried to wag her tail to show him she was fine. She squealed with delight and attempted once again to wriggle herself free from the cold mud as his arms reached for her and pulled her out of the hole. Someone threw a warm towel around her and it felt so good! Such attention! Kalua whinned and licked her face. Agave licked her right back. “I’m okay, I’m,okay.” She was so happy to get out of that hole! Raul knelt down beside her. He was talking to her but she didn’t understand every word. She heard her name and she felt and saw the joy on his face. She knew he was happy to see her.
Once her body warmed up and her rescue celebration was over she shook herself off and looked up at Raul who was standing nearby smiling at her. She smiled back . Agave could feel Raul’s warmth and affection for her. She hoped he could feel how she felt about him and how much she loved him. She was glad to see him too!