The little plant was growing larger, and Stepano was very proud of himself for the care he provided. It wasn’t much; growling at humans getting near it, barking at the street cleaner, and otherwise bringing a small mouthful of water to it every other day. The vine was now three feet long, curling from it’s patch of dirt on to the stone walkways of Venice, with three green leaves sprouting from the stalk and a small bud biding its time before flowering.
He could only give so much protection, though, before he had to go forage at the nearby trash cans for his own sustenance. When he returned from one such hunt, someone had been to his corner; not the street cleaner, who had learned to avoid him, but probably some lost tourist, or a young couple avoiding the prying eyes of neighbours. Either way, the dirt was scattered, and his little plant gone.
Stephano’s first reaction was sadness. He had figured this day would come, when someone would destroy his little Eden. He sat, looking at the mess that had been his plot of land, a small whine coming from his throat.
Standing up again, he started pawing the dirt back into a small circle. Maybe he could find a seed or two to grow something else, or maybe find another plant to bring over. But despondency fought with hope, and he figured it would just remain a dirt patch he called home. Lying down beside his now defunct garden, Stepano placed his head on his paws and sighed.
He was just closing his eyes, settling in for a nap, when the flash of green caught his attention. There, wedged in the corner between the street and the bridge over the canal, was one small leaf. He leapt up and trotted over. Leaning down and sniffing, it was his plant, his little piece of life. He reached down and placed his teeth gingerly around it, starting to lift it from its little hold; the whole plant was attached, it was all there, the roots waving like little tentacles in the moving water.
The leaf slipped, and he snapped down to keep it from getting away. Stepano pulled it quickly over to the dirt patch, using his paw to make a small hole and replanting the roots. He pushed the dirt back in place, and gave the whole thing a look over, making sure it was safe and secure. One leaf had a couple of holes, his teeth having punctured the fragile surface, but otherwise, it was back to normal; Stepano’s Garden, he named it, and settled in for a nap.