Dr. Carson shivered, suspecting that whatever had damaged those plants was part of what brought her daughter home. Charli had said her leg wasn’t hurt -- so what had been hurt?
Turning, she surveyed the main room and her attention snagged on a battered old apple crate sitting in front of the hearth and the newly lit fire. An old quilt hung over the edge. That usually signaled something live and injured -- enough to make it docile and safe to bring indoors. A wounded animal was a strong enough reason to bring Charli home from the overnight trip she had been so eagerly looking forward to.
Smiling, she softened and shortened her steps, to creep up on the animal and not startle it. Charli had inherited her gift with wild creatures from her father. Dr. Carson could appreciate them, and marveled at how they tamed under her daughter’s hands, but she definitely didn’t have the ability to befriend wild things. Her only consolation was that Charli didn’t like creepy crawly things like snakes and lizards and bugs any better than she did. Feathers and fur were the extent of her nursing tendencies.
“Oh…” she sighed, as she got close enough to see over the edge and found the battered cub curled up, sleeping.
The fur looked wet. She wondered what it had taken Charli to convince the cub to let her wash it. Another step closer changed the angle, and she saw the white of gauze wrapped around the cub’s foreleg, and tongue depressor splints. That explained much.
“Poor little guy,” she whispered, and went down on one knee to get a closer look. Charli would have dosed the cub with their homemade herbal tonic, a combination of sedative, anti-inflammatory, pain-reliever and detoxifier all rolled together, made from entirely natural ingredients that -- so far -- had no allergic or negative side-effects. Then again, it hadn’t been tried on very many people, other than ranger and botanist friends who trusted them. The tonic would keep the cub asleep for several hours, at the very least.