Her Dog

Two Russian sisters never stood a chance. Their story was not of teenage romance or youthful escapades. German tanks brought their dreams to a halt. Most days their family had less than half a loaf of bread to eat. Thousands of people a day died. Parks became burial grounds. During the Wehrmacht 900 day siege of Leningrad the sisters were assigned to neighborhood ration squads, pulling the old and weak on sleds to food depots, it took strength.

One day the younger sister heard whimpering behind a pile of debris. A dog struggled to free a paw from a snare;  it was only a mutt, but with such beautiful brown eyes. Patience and pieces of food enabled her to free the dog and stroke its fur before running off.

Little sister, on most days, was able to coax the animal out of hiding and share her rations with it. Much time was spent searching bombed out homes for scraps to feed her dog. The parents would not allow it to be brought home. The family was starving.

She kept her dog alive until the enemy retreated and the war ended; food was in short supply.

Older sister could not bear the thought of what may happen to her sister’s pet. People were hungy. She made arrangements to live with her aunt. Carrying a worn satchel, she walked out of their tumbled down home. Little sister sobbing, big sister held her in her arms. “Don’t cry, I talked with mother and father. They said you may now bring home the dog.”