The Jaguar

by Weston (age 8) | Partner Organization: To Cure a Rose Foundation

Once upon a time, deep in the jungle, lived an old jaguar. The jaguar had once been owned by humans in a kind of zoo, but not a nice kind of zoo. During the jaguar’s imprisonment, he was injured and now has a scar across his left eye. Despite his scar, this jaguar still has piercing green eyes that show a sadness and angry distrust of humans. Meanwhile, a little girl named Weston and her best friend Azlan were on a hike with their families through that very jungle that the jaguar called home. As they were walking the path, Weston thought she saw something in the tree in the distance and had the bright idea to sneak off of the path. “Pssst…Azlan! Follow me!” she whispered as she started off into the jungle. Azlan reluctantly agreed. “Oh boy, here we go,” he muttered. The jungle away from the path felt calm. Weston and Azlan can hear parrots squawking and other birds chirping. It smells a bit like poop though. As they get nearer to the tree, Weston is able to see a pair of beautiful green eyes staring at her from the tree top. “I wonder what that is,” Weston says. “I’m going to tell mom!” Azlan replies, a little nervous. “But first let’s check it out!” Weston insists. They get closer and closer - “IT’S A JAGUAR!” Weston yells! At that moment, the jaguar takes off, Azlan freezes, and Weston chases after it. “Wait!” she yells. Weston runs after the jaguar, grabs its tail, and jumps on its back! The jaguar growls and starts to buck and twist and turn, trying to throw Weston off, but she holds on tight. “Get off of me!” the jaguar yells at her. “You can talk!? And I can understand you?” Weston exclaims. “I said - Get. Off. Of. Me!” “Steady, boy. I’m not going to hurt you!” “Okay, fine - Still, just get off of me.” “Fine,” Weston gives in. The jaguar stops bucking and Weston gets off. While this was going on, Azlan was by himself in the jungle wondering where Weston had run off to. He muttered to him, “Where did she go? Why would she run into the jungle? After all, it was just a pigeon.”
He paced back and forth, but, as he paced, he didn’t realize that he was near a cliff’s edge overlooking a roaring river leading to a giant waterfall. Azlan hit a slippery spot and fell off the cliff’s edge. He yelled out. Weston heard the yell and pieced together what had happened. “Oh no! I think Azlan has fallen into the river and is headed for the waterfall! We have to hurry and save him!” Weston frantically yells to the jaguar. “This is not my problem. I don’t like you humans anyway,” the jaguar casually replies. “No! Please! I can’t make it down the river fast enough to save him before he goes over the waterfall. You must help me! Give me a ride on your back and please help me save him! He’s like a brother to me!” The jaguar did not trust humans. He didn’t really want to help, but he felt a tinge of compassion for these two children. As he rubbed a paw to the scar on his face… he decided he would take a chance on them. “Fine. Hop on.” Weston hopped on and the jaguar took off toward the waterfall’s edge. When they got there, they had very little time to position themselves to save Azlan, who was screaming for help. Weston grabbed a big tree limb, put it out into the river, and yelled at Azlan to grab hold. Thankfully, he managed to grab the branch, and Weston and the jaguar pulled him to the safety of the river’s bank. “I….willl…. Never doubt you again, Weston… That is, in fact, a jaguar,” panted Azlan. “....Humans…” the jaguar rolled his eyes. “Let’s get back to our mom and dad,” Weston told Azlan. She then turned to the jaguar, “I’ll see you tomorrow.” “Oh, please don’t. No thank you,” the jaguar responded. “Yep! I’ll see you tomorrow!” Weston smiled. The next day, Weston brought along her sister Rosie and Azlan’s sister Mila to meet the jaguar. The jaguar, even though he wasn’t thrilled about it, watched that morning for their arrival. “Oh great… You brought more humans,” he said dryly. “Jaguar, meet Rosie and Mila. They both have rare diseases and would really love for you to hug them,” Weston introduced. “Ummm, no. First, I don’t hug, but, secondly, rare diseases? That doesn’t sound good at all,” the jaguar refused. “You can’t catch the disease! They’re totally safe! Please??” Weston pleaded. Rosie started to squeal with excitement, hoping to pet the big cat.
The jaguar reflected about the day before. It felt good to help this young girl and young man. It might be the right thing to do to let these younger two humans pet him. As he rubbed his paw over his scar…he again decided to take the chance. “Fine, I’ll let them pet me.” “And lick them,” Weston added. “Ugh, N-” “Twice! Lick them each twice!” Weston interrupted. The jaguar paused and rolled his eyes. “Ugh, fine.” So, he did. Rosie and Mila got to pet the regal jaguar, and the big jungle cat licked both of them twice. Rosie and Mila smile and are truly happy. The jaguar watches and thinks to himself - “perhaps not all humans are bad.” The giggles continue and the jaguar holds back a purr, when, finally, he speaks up. “Now, run along now, humans.” “Now will you come and live with me?” Weston asks, excitedly. The jaguar, shocked, replies, “Uh - No way! What are you thinking?” “....But we are friends, right?” Weston asks. The jaguar pauses. “Yes, I suppose we are friends.” Weston smiles. The jaguar continues, “Human, I’ll see you again –but, know this. I will never lick them again. They’re drooling everywhere. Yuck.”

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