The light is bright in my new eyes, gently streaming through the veil of fog. It fills my vision with a serene kind of warmth. The warmth surrounds me from all directions and lulls me into peaceful slumber.
I blink again.
The fog begins to dissipate and shapes begin to form. My eyes follow the shapes, realizing there are shadows among the light. I try to follow, but my legs could not seem to keep up with my curiosity and I bump into the warm wriggling shapes around me. I recognize the shapes as my siblings, and I burrow back into their warmth.
There are so many smells filling my tiny nose. The air is warm and smells of comfort. Something soft beneath me that smells of something fresh and clean. My brothers and sisters climbing around me. My mother. The warm scent of her milk. My nose twitches and a soft squeak escapes my open mouth. I push through my siblings and bury my head to get my fill.
I sniff again.
There is a new smell. Something big moving above me. I look up, my eyes clearing of the fog, into a strange looking face. It is flat and furless, but the eyes are full of love. The face reveals two rows of square-looking teeth, but I do not feel fear. Rather, I feel a curious and powerful urge to reach out to this big unusual creature and sniff some more. My paws are finally underneath me and propel me forward.
I bump my nose on something hard and cold beneath me. I let out a small sound of surprise. Where did the soft go? Where is the warmth? My paws tingle with the unusual sensation as I stand and gingerly take my next step.
I stumble again.
I feel something firm wrap around me, lifting me from the ground. I twist to try to see. It is the creature with the flat face. The face comes up to mine, it’s nose protruding out towards mine. I give it a sniff and a careful lick. A deep rumbling sound follows and I see their teeth again. I wonder what it means.
My legs still don’t go underneath me like I want them to. My siblings are exploring and playing, while I watch from the soft place. My nose wants me to explore, but my paws won’t work. Every time I leave the soft place, I fall and bump my nose. I am sad, but mother is patient and the creature is kind, giving me pets almost as often as I want. Their love makes the time fly by.
I sit some more.
My siblings are starting to disappear. The creature comes in with other creatures from time to time to play. Those times are fun, until they leave and take one of my siblings with them. My siblings don’t seem sad. They like the visitors. I like them too, but I am still sad. They don’t play with me the same way, and while they give me pets, they don’t seem to stay very long. Even mother goes to play with them.
I lie down.
All of my siblings have gone. It is only the creature, mother, and me. I don’t play. I don’t run. I don’t walk. I have no energy to try anymore. I don’t understand why I feel this way. My nose still tries to pull me to my feet, but I cannot find the will. The creature comes over and lifts me gently from the soft place. Their eyes are flowing with water, and their body shudders as they hold me close. I nuzzle into their chest, feeling their sadness. I wish I could play. I wish I could make them happy.
Suddenly, my whole world has shifted to something new. The air is colder and moving and there is so much light I have to squint. I look around to see so much space, it is overwhelming. The creature is walking towards a big shiny object. We get inside and they put me on another soft place. My nose is twitching uncontrollably at all the new smells.
I blink again.
The creature has brought me inside a very bright building with many other creatures covered in white. They crowd around me, all revealing their teeth and gently stroking my head and back. Their sounds are gentle and soft, putting me at ease in this new place. My creature hugs me close, and after making a few sounds in my ear, I am taken from them by one of the other creatures. I realize I am being left here and I feel panic beginning to flutter in my chest. I start to whine, but the soft sounds of the creature holding me keeps the panic at bay.
I close my eyes.
I can feel myself drifting away. The creatures in white are nice and they seem to want me to play. But I am tired. And I am sad. I miss mother and I miss my siblings. I even miss my creature, whose pets were so comforting. The lights in this place are too bright for me. I just want to sleep in this silver barred box.
I open my eyes.
There is something new today. I look out and see a new creature, one whose eyes are full of love for me. Like my old creature. I sniff weakly at their nose through the bars. They smell of food and of soft things. They smell of something else as well, something wonderful. I feel a flutter in my chest as they open the box and reach out to me. I am hesitant at first, but as they pick me up and cuddle me to their chest, I lean into their warmth. I can feel their love and I feel safe in their arms.
It has been a big change from the last place, with its bright lights and barred box. This place feels like home. And my new creature has been helping me with my legs. I am standing now, with their help. They have wrapped something around my middle and are lifting me onto my feet. I feel excitement tingle in my feet. I want to move. I want to walk and run and explore everything. But I can feel the strength in my legs draining already. Maybe tomorrow.
For the first time in my life, I am walking without falling and bumping my nose. My legs and paws are clumsy, but my creature continues to help me stay upright with the wrapping around my middle. My strength is still limited, but I am getting farther every time I try. I am so excited I lick my creature with all the gratitude I can express. There is so much to explore and I can finally do it.
I no longer need the wrapping to help me stand or walk. My creature no longer needs to help me. I can finally walk and run on my own. I am so full of joy! The world has become brighter and I want to see as much of it as I can. My creature and I will explore it together for the rest of our lives. I am thankful for my creature and the love and hope they have given me. And to all the creatures before who have put me on this path. I live because of you. Thank you.