Letter: A winter dream | AspenTimes.com

Letter: A winter dream

A winter dream

Balto was happy that he had pulled the sled today, but when the men brought him back to the kennel, the water was frozen and there was no extra straw to protect him from the coming storm. The wind was picking up, the snow began to fall, and the men attached the heavy chain to his collar before they walked away.

He began to shiver from the cold, his stomach hurt from hunger, and all he could do was try to fall asleep and hope that tomorrow would be a warmer day. As he drifted into a dream, he heard footsteps crunching in the snow. A family: The dad, the mom, and the boy came up to his crate. “We will take this one home,” said the dad. Balto was too weak to get up so the dad removed the chain and lifted him into the car and they drove home.

Balto was terrified — he had never been in a car and had never been taken into a house. He saw a big chair in the corner of the living room and cowered behind it to hide for safety. The dad told the boy to give him time to adjust, and they went into the kitchen to prepare the dog food. As the aroma of food reached Balto’s sensitive nose, his hunger overcame his fear, and he crept over to where mom put down two bowls, one with water and one with food. It was the most delicious dinner Balto ever had, and he drank the fresh water until his thirst was gone.

The boy started bouncing a small round object and then rolled it over to Balto. He had no idea what to do — he had never had a toy and never learned to play. His paw smacked down on the object and it cried out a squeak. The boy laughed and looked happy — Balto made the Boy happy! The warm room and the new experiences left Balto so exhausted that he curled up in a ball of happiness. The mom brought out a dog bed and coaxed Balto into it with gentle petting. As she kissed the top of his head to say good night, he felt loved. This must be what heaven is like. He closed his eyes … for the last time.

In the morning the men came out to check the kennels and found Balto’s frozen body partly covered with snow. “This one didn’t make it,” said one of the men. “It must have been too cold last night.” He picked up the frail body, carried it down the trail, and threw it into the pit.

Joyce Meredith


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