Now, a dog or a cat would have no problems going down this slope. Goats, too, would be at an advantage. Snakes and small rodents, birds and bats, lizards and lions – there are entire lists of animals that are meant for going up and down rocky terrain.
Cows are now on that list.
Cows have never been on that list.
Cows will never be on that list.
And yet, Pauline Wayne does her job, and starts down the slope just like every other Presidential Pet might do, if they were in her situation.
The rocks dig into her hooves. The ground is uneven and loose in spots, straining her legs as she tries to keep her large, bulky body steady. It’s a true miracle that Pauline Wayne doesn’t lose control of her hooves and go tumbling down the slope herself.
When she hits the bottom, it’s easy to see what happened.
The little girl must have been running, playing around on some vacation or another. She got lost, and then she fell. Her ankle is very bruised, and there are scrapes on her palms. She’s curled up around herself, and looks cold, and scared, and miserable.
And this, thinks Pauline Wayne, this is why every Presidential Pet keeps going, no matter how hard the job might be. She walks over, settling down beside the girl, doing her best to press their bodies together.
Startled, the girl wakes up. She’s groggy eyed and sounds as though she’s not fully aware of what’s going on when she asks, “oh. Are you here to help me?”
“I am,” says Pauline Wayne, though she knows the child can’t understand her words. She leans out, licking a stripe over the girl’s face with her broad, sand paper tongue.
The girl giggles, a little bit.
Then she crawls over, so she’s settled in the curl of Pauline Wayne’s stomach. “I can tell that you’re a good cow. I like cows.” She wraps her arms around Pauline Wayne’s neck, pressing her face against the cow’s short, velvet fur. “Thank you for sitting with me, Miss Cow.”
In answer, hoping to get across the comfort that their language barrier won’t convey, Pauline Wayne slings her whole head over the little girl’s back, letting it settle and rest there. Even though the child can’t understand, Pauline Wayne still tells her, “it’s going to be alright, little one. My friend has gone to get you help, and soon you will be warm, and safe, and back home with your family. That much, I can promise you.”
The girl nuzzles closer. She yawns, sleepy, and says, “I’m glad you’re here. I was really scared, being all alone.”
Pauline Wayne gives a soft, low mooing sound. All she can do now is sit there, and hope that Sunny is able to bring help soon.
Katelynn E Koontz – Author