Tag Archives: The Saga of a Rescued Dog

The Saga of a Rescued Dog: Chapter Six

22 May

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The Saga of a Rescued Dog

Chapter Six: Déjà vu all over again

by L. Stewart Marsden

 

Previously:

So there it was! This was it! Miracles of miracles — my luck was about to turn! Good-bye Mister Master! Good-bye BAD DOG! Good-bye hiding and getting hit or kicked or starved or a hundred other bad things my memory is full of.

What was that tune? Happy? Oh, yeah! HAPPYHAPPYHAPPYHAPPY ME!

Then I suddenly remembered when the mister first bent over to pick me up in the waiting room. And how Mister Master jumped into my head. And how I snapped at the mister for no reason at all.

Naw. That wouldn’t happen — couldn’t happen now, could it?

Could it?

____________

 

Do you know the saying, the more things change, the more they stay the same? Or, different tune, same lyrics? Or, different map, same lost?

I don’t know — is it me? Of course it’s me! I’m the BAD DOG! I was, I am, and I always will be!

God!

Let me catch you up:

So the ecstatic couple went up front with the mister to fill out adoption papers, right? And I’m waiting in my cage just giggling through my bones, and all! You can’t get much more excited! I think I might even have piddled on the floor in my cage.

But, just a little!

The mister comes back into the compound for me, and he had a dog travel box with him. I’m not all that big a dog, see?

And, the mister opens the box door and starts to coax me into it, and I’m a bit reluctant.

Well, you would be too.

But, he is smart enough to have a bacon-flavored chew stick, which he tosses into the box, and you already know how well me and bacon get along.

So, into the box I went — on my own — and grabbed the chew stick. The door closed, I turned around and lay down to munch on the stick. Mmmmm.

The mister lugs me back up front and puts the box on top of the counter, and the final bit of paperwork gets done.

The missus is staring at me the whole time with her great eyes that are still tearing, with that incredible smile that makes me want to melt. Then, she notices that I have the chew stick.

Should he have that? What is that?

It’s a bacon-flavored chew stick the mister replied.

That can’t be good for the dog, can it?

Lady, the dog likes it. This is a stressful time for him, and anything we can do to keep him laid back a bit is what we should do.

Can I see the package it came from?

Sure.

And I’m chewing on my bacon-flavored chew stick, and not really watching as the misses scrutinizes the package, reading over the ingredients of the chew stick.

Well I think it would be better if he didn’t have the stick, she said . . .

and . . . she . . . opened . . . the . . . pet . . . box . . . door . . . and . . . reached . . . in . . . to . . . take . . . the . . . chew . . . stick . . . away . . . from . . . me.

S-l-o-w-m-o-t-i-o-n.

And . . . I . . . — in . . . slow . . . m-o-t-i-o-n — barred . . . my . . . teeth . . . and . . . snapped . . . at . . . her . . . hand . . . and . . . drew . . . bloood.

BAD DOG!!! erupted both misters!

GGGGGAAAAAWWWWDDDD! IT HAS HAPPENED ALL OVER AGAIN!!!

Immediately the mister closed the door to the box and fastened it.

I crouched as far in the back of the box as was doggedly possible.

The missus drew back her hand, a small stream of blood dripping down her thumb and wrist and to her elbow.

HAS THAT DOG BEEN VACCINATED FOR RABIES? demanded the mister adopter.

Yes! Yes! Yes! He didn’t mean any harm, ma’am! Honest! If you know dogs, you know NOT to reach for something they’re chewing on — ever! You did know that, right?

(Pause)

No. I didn’t. I’ve never had a dog before in my life. I did not know such a thing. It makes perfect sense. He doesn’t know me from Adam, and he’s been abused, and I tried to take something away that was helping him feel better.

And she cried.

She cried!

I should have known, said mister adopter. I’ve had dogs, and I know they can be very territorial and defensive. I shouldn’t have yelled bad dog. I wonder how many times he’s heard that before in his life?

All three stared into the pet box. Not one of them was angry, or scowling, or raving or cursing or any of the other things I have known before.

In fact, I think all three were crying. For different reasons, maybe.

So, I’ll tear up the contract and give you back your money. Unless you want to look at the other dog I have for adoption.

(Pause)

My heart is beating like a jack russell jack hammer. Everything hangs in the balance, I know. It’s a moment frozen in time, and nothing — NOTHING — I can do will erase the incident. Nothing. I have, once again, screwed myself.

The mister adopter asked the missus, What do you want to do?

She replied, What do you want to do?

We came here to rescue a dog. We knew it was going to be an adventure, but didn’t realize how much of one.

So? she asked him.

I think it’s like getting married. We took a chance, and we keep taking the chance every new day. This dog . . .

Griffy, she said.

You named him?

Yeah. When we first saw him a week ago.

They saw me a week ago?

And we talked all through this. About how it would not be your normal pick a pet from the pet store deal. How it was important to us both to rescue an animal. One less dog euthanized.

Yeah. We did.

It took them a week? They sure did cut it close!

We did. So I say yes. We take Griffy home. We learn to love him and take care of him, given his history. We help him heal from his past.

Okay. We take — Griffy — home. We’ll take the dog said the mister adopter to the mister.

Great! I am so sorry about your thumb! I have antiseptic and Band-Aids?

Please.

So, there it was. Déjà vu all over again. I settled back to my bacon chew stick, the mister got Band-Aids and antiseptic for the missus, and the mister adopter finished signing his life away.

But then, hey! They got me, right?

And, the best part? I got them!

A new mister, and new missus, and a new name! All in one day! Not a bad finish to a bad story after all!

 THE END

Copyright © by Lawrence S. Marsden, 22 May, 2014

The Saga of a Rescued Dog: Chapter Five

22 May

 

Photo by Graham R. Marsden Used by permission

Photo by Graham R. Marsden
Used by permission

 

 

 

The Saga of a Rescued Dog

Chapter Five: Time sure flies . . .

by L. Stewart Marsden

 

Previously:

The two went through the door, and about an hour later, the mister emerged without our friend. The mister’s face was streaked with tears, and he turned and pinned Mangum’s picture and bio on the cork board, then quickly walked out of the compound and through the front door, letting it close by itself.

Hey, I said to the dog in the cage across the aisle from mine. What numbers are still left on my card that haven’t been crossed off?

He squinted and looked, then lowered his head and said something.

What? I can’t hear you, I said.

Six. Six days have not been marked off.

_________________

 

 

I’ve heard that for every human year on earth, a dog ages seven. I don’t know where that comes from. I’m four years old, as nearly as I can tell. But, am I really twenty-eight instead?

Time sure flies when you’re having fun. Or even when you’re not.

When the dog across the aisle said I had six days left — six days! — I called him a liar and said he was being cruel. After all, I can count on one paw how many days someone hasn’t been cruel to me.

I figured he wanted to get my goat for some reason.

Oh yeah? I barked back. You only got two days. Two freakin’ days! Do you hear me?

But I lied. He had about fifteen. He had come in after I did and knew better. But I didn’t like him. He had buggy eyes and no tail.

What dog has no tail?

Speaking of tail, mine had healed with the last two inches bent into an ell. What adopter is going to want a dog with a bent tail? Huh?

Next day Muffy got adopted. An old man and his wife saw her picture in the newspaper and came in.

Why, she’s just like my Cousin Gladys’s dog! Let’s get her, Henry, and the next time Gladys lords her dog over me, I’ll just say “Gladys, I have my own dog, and she’s every bit as good as yours.”

Muffy heard, and grinned at me. The irony wasn’t lost on me at all, and I wish I could have been there when those cousins got together again with their dogs. Or, maybe just one would have a dog. Life is truly stranger than fiction, I’ve heard.

Some human celebration was approaching — you know, the one where bad little misters tie firecrackers to dogs’ tails? Not my favorite.

But for some reason adopters started flowing into the animal shelter. I think the mister was so upset over Mangum that he went all out with the advertising. Guilt is a wondrous motivator.

And so dog after dog got adopted and left, their photos and bios going with them.

Even Damien. Yep. Damien was adopted, and the adopter was kind as kind can be and not into dog fighting.

It got to the point only me, the mutt across the aisle from me, the manx and that dodo head possum were the only animals left in the compound.

It was hot. Very hot.

And I was on my last day.

The mister strolled down the aisle in the compound several times, filling everyone’s water bowls — even dropping in pieces of ice, too.

He was a kind mister.

I kept thinking, Hey, why not take me home with you? I’ll be the best dog ever — promise!

And he would look me straight in the eyes, as though he heard my thoughts.

I’d take you home with me if I could. I really would. But the missus would move out. I’ve run through that hand, and we have six big dogs at home. I truly, truly wish I could.

I put on the saddest look I could muster. But he turned away and walked back out of the compound. I lay down on the concrete, trying to get cool. But I couldn’t help thinking about the next day.

So, I fell asleep and dreamed my regular dreams — Mister Master, punishment, the semi, Mangum walking down the aisle to the door, Muffy and Damien going out the other door. And that stupid possum and manx, staring at me from their little cages.

Man!

I awoke to the mister seeming to shout from the next room. It wasn’t an angry shout, but a YAHOO! cowboy kind of yelp.

It was late in the day, and I knew he was getting ready to close up and go home. But I could hear him, excited as all get out.

And when he came bursting through the door into the compound, he made a beeline for my cage.

This is him! This is definitely the one you want! Oh, his life before he came here was terrible — just awful! Mistreated like no animal should be!

I kept thinking — Wrong! We don’t want anyone to know about my past and about my hang-ups!

Walking into the compound, hand in hand, was a mister and his missus who grinned from ear to ear.

I think I heard the Alleluia chorus break forth from the heavens at that very moment!

They walked up to my cage, still grinning. She was crying slightly. I know I was. And probably grinning from ear to ear myself. I riveted my eyes on his, then hers, then his, then hers, remembering what Mangum had told me.

Oh — make eye contact. Be sure to do that. If you continually look away, they think you’ve got something to hide.

I had nothing to hide — that’s for sure! It was all I could do to restrain myself from jumping up on the door of my cage. Instead, my tail began to hurt it was wagging so fast!

Perhaps they would see the ell in it.

Let’s go fill out the adoption papers in the office and get everything in order.

God, I thought I’d never hear the mister say that about me!

And they walked back to the front, the misses looking back several times, smiling, and still tearing up as she went.

So there it was! This was it! Miracles of miracles — my luck was about to turn! Good-bye Mister Master! Good-bye BAD DOG! Good-bye hiding and getting hit or kicked or starved or a hundred other bad things my memory is full of.

What was that tune? Happy? Oh, yeah! HAPPYHAPPYHAPPYHAPPY ME!

Then I suddenly remembered when the mister first bent over to pick me up in the waiting room. And how Mister Master jumped into my head. And how I snapped at the mister for no reason at all.

Naw. That wouldn’t happen — couldn’t happen now, could it?

Could it?

 

Copyright © by Lawrence S. Marsden, 22 May, 2014

 

The Saga of a Rescued Dog: Chapter Four

22 May

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The Saga of a Rescued Dog

Chapter Four: The other inmates

by L. Stewart Marsden

 

Previously:

BAD DOG!

And I awoke, startled, hungry and afraid. It was night, and I stood on wobbly legs and slowly stepped out into the yard.

The moon was waning — yet bright enough in the sky to illumine the tall oaks that bordered the compound. I lay down in the cooling dirt and shook my head to clear the cobwebs. The conversation resurfaced slowly.

Euthanasia?

Thirty days?

What day was it?

_____________________

 

 

I remember lying on the livingroom floor and watching “The Shawshank Redemption” while Mister Master droned out on the couch, snoring loudly and letting a Budweiser slip from his hand. The beer poured out onto the wood floor, and when he awoke, I was blamed for the spill, naturally.

Anyway, the movie came back to me in the animal shelter, when I realized that at the end of thirty days, whatever euthanasia was, it was going to happen to me.

My cellmates explained to me that there were only two doors to the compound. The door I had come through days earlier, that led into the front waiting area of the shelter, and the door at the end of the hallway.

That door, my mates told me, was where dogs went and never returned.

Of course, I proposed immediately that perhaps those dogs were adopted, and that there was a loading area where the adopters drove to get their new family members.

The only response I got from that idea were low-slung looks and knowing slow shakes of the head.

The chihuahua in the next cage over clucked and said I was full of rice and beans, and that everyone knew what happened when a dog was taken through the door at the end of the hall. They just didn’t know how it happened.

My new friends filled me in quickly on the dos and the don’ts of the compound. How leg-lifting on the gates was frowned upon; how loud and incessant barking wasn’t the smartest thing to do; how any kind of snarling or gnashing of teeth marked you as a bad dog — which was the quickest way to get a one-way ticket through the door.

Mangum, a slow, fat southern bloodhound, had been there the longest. He had seen dogs adopted, and dogs by-passed by the excited misters and misses and little misters that crowded together at the various doors of the cages.

You don’t want to lung up on the cage doors. That’ll excite the misters and misses, who  will fear their little pups will be bitten or scratched by you.

What do you do? I asked.

Well, you smile — as best you can. And it helps to look real sad-eyed. That gets a lot of response from the misses. And wag your tail, too. Oh — make eye contact. Be sure to do that. If you continually look away, they think you’ve got something to hide.

Mangum was probably not going to get adopted, and had resolved himself to that fact. His mister, whom he had lived with and hunted with for years, had died when the old house they lived in burned down. Mangum made a valiant attempt to save him, but the dead man’s weight was too much for the aged Mangum to drag. Firefighters found Mangum, unconscious but alive, laying near his master’s side.

I’m too old to be adopted, he wheezed. And I guess I’ve had about the best life a dog could wish for.

It made me sad to think of Mangum going through that door. He deserved better. So did we all. Except maybe Damien. But even Damien was a victim of circumstance.

Damien was a muscular Doberman. Black with brown and white markings — he exuded warrior. He had the battle scars to prove it: one ear was half bitten off, and his back leg was horribly mangled.

Damien was a gladiator. He fought other dogs. As he puts it, he was a fighter the minute his foot hit the ground, and all of his training prepared him for the pit.

I ain’t good for nuthin’ else, he growled.

He broke all of Mangum’s suggestions. He leaped viciously at his door when adopters came through. He barked and slathered (he said that slathering was a particularly intimidating tactic in the pit, because the other dog thought you were crazy) for hours on end.

The mister and the little misters carefully slid Damien’s food and water through a small opening in his cage just big enough for the bowls. They never came in to clean his cage because he would charge in from his yard before they could close the door to the yard. So they hosed his area out with him standing there like a demon dog.

That’s what they called him, too.

Only one adopter expressed interest in Damien, but the rumor came back that the adopter was also involved in dog fighting.

Damien had been “rescued” when the sheriff’s department raided the pit he was fighting in.

He told us it was a shame he wouldn’t be going out fighting.

Muffy was a dainty Shitzu — which she pronounced “she-zoo,” and the rest of us said “shit-zoo.” Many a howl over Muffy. Her story was that one day she wandered away from her yard, and a mister drove up in a van and took her.

He ripped off all of her identification, and drove forever away from her home. She thought he was going to try to sell her, but she managed to get away when he stopped for gas and left the passenger side window down.

She took the chance and leaped out, running through four lanes of traffic to escape.

Someone found her days later, and brought her to the animal shelter.

Of us all, Muffy was the most refined and queenly in her deportment. But we put up with her anyway.

At the front end of the hallway, against the wall, were the cages for small animals other than dogs. A thick-furred manx, who claimed to be two generations removed from being a bobcat, hissed from her enclosure. Like Damien, the manx was reclusive and spiteful. Plus, she was a cat.

In case you didn’t know, I hate cats. I had a bad experience with a feral cat when I was a puppy, and there is no love lost where I’m concerned. There are not enough dogs, and too many cats in the world. I’m sorry — that’s just how I feel. Live with it.

Clarence was a possum (Oh-possum, he would say) and was just plain stupid. His tail was broken when he tried to cross the road at about the pace of a slug, I’d say. And at night! A car loomed out of the dark, and Clarence was mesmerized by the headlights.

He told us he thought they were twin meteors coming out of space . . . what a dip! But the idiot had the dumb luck of being an animal the mister would nurse back to health and turn over to a local zoo. He was not going down the long hall and through the euthanasia door.

Imagine that.

And there were others in the compound — mostly whom I never got to know. Newbies came in about every other day.

Oh, the mister came through and took pictures of all of us with a Polaroid camera, and taped the picture to a piece of white cardboard on which he wrote about us. He also put numbers one through thirty on the bottom in a line, and crossed them off, one by one, for each day we stayed. That card was fastened to the front of each cage.

When he brought in potential adopters, he would go over each animal’s history. If lucky, and adopted, the adopters took the photo and the card with them.

If not adopted, and all thirty numbers got crossed off, the mister would pin the picture and bio to a cork board fastened next to the door at the end of the hallway. It was a large cork board, and there were a lot of photos and bios pinned to it.

The saddest day in the compound was when the mister entered and walked slowly down to Mangum’s cage. It was no surprise to Mangum — he knew the day was coming. The day before he asked the dog in the cage opposite his what numbers were still left on his card that weren’t crossed off.

None, came the reply.

The mister was extremely sad, and he walked to Mangum’s cage with his head bowed. Mangum sat ready on the other side of the door, also with bowed head.

The mister didn’t even leash Mangum, but opened the cage door, and out Mangum stepped. Then the two slowly walked to the door at the end of the hall, Mangum’s picture and bio in the mister’s hand.

The two went through the door, and about an hour later, the mister emerged without our friend. The mister’s face was streaked with tears, and he turned and pinned Mangum’s picture and bio on the cork board, then quickly walked out of the compound and through the front door, letting it close by itself.

Hey, I said to the dog in the cage across the aisle from mine. What numbers are still left on my card that haven’t been crossed off?

He squinted and looked, then lowered his head and said something.

What? I can’t hear you, I said.

Six. Six days have not been marked off.

The Saga of a Rescued Dog: Chapter Three

22 May

 

 

 

The Saga of a Rescued Dog

Chapter Three: The Hoosegow

by L. Stewart Marsden

 

Previously:

I moved in quickly, but stealthily, wary of any other animal, or that some kind of trap had been set.

Nobody and no thing. Just slices and slices of bacon stacked up high.

Oh! I dove in with unabandonment. And the taste! The aromas! The crunch of the pan-fried meat! I was inundated in ecstasy — euphoric — totally out of my mind with bliss!

As I wolfed huge bites of bacon down, at the corner of one eye I spied the mister approaching slowly, carefully from around the building with that rod with the wire loop at the end of it.

And you know what?

I did not care one iota.

____________________________

While bacon is indeed an incredible culinary experience, it is not without its consequences. The first being the euphoric state of mind that renders you incapable of normal reactions.

So when the mister slipped the wire loop over my head, I did not budge from engorging myself on the diminished pile of bacon strips.

And when he slowly tightened the noose, I was not distracted from licking the morsels and bacon grease from the metal bowl.

And when he gently tugged me away and into the animal shelter, I followed willingly. Maybe a growl and a snarly look at the first tug. But because the bacon was all gone, there really was nothing for us to fight over.

We walked into the waiting area and around the counter to a second door in the back of the room. That door led to the animal compound.

The compound was a long room situated perpendicular to the front of the building. A concrete aisle ran down the center of the room, and on either side were caged spaces with doors — five to a side. Nearly all the spaces were occupied by a dog, and all were barking their little heads off when the mister and I entered.

We walked down the aisle and stopped midway at the door of an empty cage. The mister opened the cage and walked in with me, then crouched down carefully.

There, there, little buddy. This is your new home for a while. And these are your companions.

I sat and wagged my tail a bit to show the mister I wasn’t going to be a threat. He slowly reached his big hand out, which I sniffed, then licked. There was bacon smell and taste on his hands.

Here’s some water, and here’s the bowl where you’ll be fed — once the bacon works through.

That’s the other thing about bacon — and dogs. It’s a consequence of eating bacon at all — but especially of eating a whole bowlful in the matter of a few minutes. If you understand what I’m saying.

So, for the next day and a half, my stomach and my bowels gave me  and the mister  a fit. But he was understanding, and happy to have his little misters clean both my cage and me following the aftermath.

My cage was a cubicle — not too small, but definitely a downsizing from the space I was used to. It was simple. Concrete wall at the back with a rectangular space left open that led to a small fenced-in yard where I could go if I chose.

The cages were also separated by cinderblock walls that went up a few feet — high enough to keep animals in adjoining cages from physical touch.

The floor of the cubicle was concrete, and cool to my underbelly when I stretched out on my belly or side. There were a lot of flies.

Paddle fans suspended from the ceiling along the aisle moved the air about, and kept a wafting breeze that would tickle the hairs on my nose, causing me to sneeze abruptly from time-to-time.

Inside the compound were the mixtures of smells: the other dogs, the wall of small cages where small animals were kept. Like cats. Yuck. And the smell of PineSol and other cleansers.

My yard was mostly dirt, with a walked out trench along the fenced closures. Some grass and dandelions grew along where the fence touched the ground. There was a line of trees a few feet behind the yards that threw late day shade over the yards on that side of the aisle. I was lucky that mine was on the west side, and didn’t get the harsh splash and heat from the morning sun.

For those first days I recuperated from my orgiastic meal. I wasn’t too aware of my surroundings so much, and not at all of my fellow companions. I only vaguely sensed them as I went in and out of nausea — hearing them talk, like dull background clatter, or getting a brief whiff from time-to-time.

Why I was where I was had faded to a dim memory, which I dipped into from time to time during my dreams.

Mister Master. His large, angry face grown incredibly large — spewing curses and harrumping his fat body like an irate gorilla.

The kicks and the lashes and the hours on end chained to the elm tree in the back yard.

The dry, rusty water bowl, neglected for days.

My own feces, piling up in the small grassy lawn — which was always tall and unkept. Flies swirling in packs, alighting on my head and ears.

Bzzzzzzzzzz. Bzzzzzzzzz.

The echoing conversation between Mister Master and the mister of the animal shelter.

Thirty days.

Euthanasia.

The vague sound of the mister, leading other misters and misses down the aisle and back, who looked in on the various animals, asking echoey questions. Stopping at my cage and asking What’s wrong with him?

Thirty days.

Euthanasia. If you don’t want your pet euthanized, better not leave him here.

Nobody will take him. May as well euthanize him now.

It’s the law.

What’s wrong with him?

BAD DOG!

I awoke, startled, hungry and afraid. It was night, and I stood on wobbly legs and slowly stepped out into the yard.

The moon was waning — yet bright enough in the sky to illumine the tall oaks that bordered the compound. I lay down in the cooling dirt and shook my head to clear the cobwebs. The conversation resurfaced slowly.

Euthanasia?

Thirty days?

What day was it?

 

Copyright © by Lawrence S. Marsden, 22 May, 2014

 

 

The Saga of a Rescued Dog: Chapter Two

21 May

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The Saga of a Rescued Dog

Chapter Two: Ain’t Nuthin’ Betterin’ Bacon

by L. Stewart Marsden

Previously:

Is he up on his shots? I see he has a tag.

YEAH. I TAKE GOOD CARE OF MY PETS AND MAKE SURE THEY’RE UP-TO-DATE ON EVERYTHING.

Except love, I thought.

Mister Master handed my leash to the other mister, grunted, and walked out of the door and out of my life. He didn’t pet me, or say good-bye, or even look at me once. He just walked out the door, got into his truck, and drove away.

What now? I thought, and watched the other mister come around the counter with my leash in hand.

He bent down to pick me up.

_____________________

I heard about this scientist that did a lot of experimentation with dogs and dog behavior. Seems we animals get conditioned to respond in certain ways.

If a bell rings, for example, we run to a door and press a button. It opens, and voila — a dog treat!

In my case, I was conditioned by Mister Master — only what I do is definitely not good. When he would come and get me, and when he would stick his face near mine? Sometimes I growled and snapped at him.

He said I had a nasty temper. I say I don’t really know.

So, when the mister at the animal shelter bent down to pick me up — I dunno — Mister Master’s face flashed in front of me, and I growled and snapped at him pretty viciously. He dropped me and the leash and backed up and around the counter quickly, grabbing a long pole with a loop made of wire.

In the meantime, I headed for the front door just as a little old lady opened it from the outside. I scooted outside into the parking lot and looked around quickly to see where to hide. Just across the road from the shelter was a big field of corn that had grown maybe a couple of feet high.

Perfect!

Just as the mister ran through the door after me, I dashed for the field. I had one thing on my mind: that corn field.

Hey! Stop pooch! Stop! C’mere!

I heard the word C’mere, which acted like jet fuel in my veins. I just didn’t hear the semi headed down that road.

SWEEEEEEOOOOOOOWWWWW! went the truck, barely clipping the very end of my tail. Dang that stung! I yelped loudly and sped into the corn field, the mister running and calling after me.

In the middle of the field I found a small ditch that had standing water. I lay down in the ditch, careful to douse my hurting tail in the muddy mixture.

I could hear the mister moving off to my left in the field, calling Here doggie! C’mere, doggie! I won’t hurt you, doggie! And he would whistle over and over.

I thought why did I act that way? I knew this mister was not like Mister Master. I could tell by his eyes, and the way he looked at me — sad-like. Why did I do that?

I was too afraid to stand and move — still hurting too much. I would wait the mister out. He would give up. And then what? Where was I going to go? What was I going to do?

The sun was hot, and while I licked at the water, it was very muddy, and there were mosquitos buzzing about. I had heard mosquitos were not good for me.

A pesky fly kept buzzing about my head, and I snapped angrily at it — not sure what I would do if I caught it. What does a fly taste like, anyway? What did I care? It was getting late, and my stomach was growling. I hadn’t eaten all day. Sometimes Mister Master fed me. Sometimes he didn’t.

I lay my head down on the ground and tried to get comfortable. My tail throbbed. The voice of the mister got further and further away, and finally stopped altogether.

I fell asleep.

______________________

I was awakened by a loud screech just overhead, and jerked alert in time to see a huge owl swoop by, illumined by the light of the full moon. The owl dipped into the cornfield suddenly, and a few moments later flapped back into the sky, a small mouse twitching in its talons.

My stomach rumbled again. My tail still hurt, but not as much. And now I was really thirsty. The late afternoon heat had dried the puddle I was sleeping in — or maybe my fur soaked it up.

I shook what water and mud had clung to my back legs and body, and looked about. Then I tilted my nose into the air and began to sniff.

Something absolutely incredible wafted into my nose!

Bacon! There was bacon out there — not too far away, in fact! Mister Master had given me small pieces of bacon — back when I was a good dog. When I was a really small puppy. My teeth weren’t too sharp at the time, and I mostly gummed it — but oh, glory be! There ain’t nuthin’ like a good strip of bacon! I could just howl thinking about it!

The problem was, it was coming from the other side of the road. From the animal shelter I had run away from.

Know what? I didn’t care. It would be worth the risk to cross back over for some bacon. Besides, how’d I know there wasn’t some other animal — a raccoon or a possum or a fox or skunk — sniffing out that bacon at the very same time?

As quietly as I could, I retraced my steps back to the road. In my imagination I saw and heard the semi barrel by, brushing my fur with the wind of its passing.

But it wasn’t there.

I looked down the road — first one way and then the other. I listened to hear the sound of tires speeding over asphalt. Or to see oncoming headlights.

Nothing.

Carefully — but not too carefully, remembering all the other critters getting ready to congregate around that bacon — I clicked over the road, my toenails making a snappy sound. Once across, I headed for the cinderblock building.

Sure enough — in a metal bowl on the front stoop of the shelter — was a stack of bacon! And next to that, another bowl filled with water. Just sitting there! God, I thought I had died and gone to heaven!

I moved in quickly, but stealthily, wary of any other animal, or that some kind of trap had been set.

Nobody and no thing. Just slices and slices of bacon stacked up high.

Oh! I dove in with unabandonment. And the taste! The aromas! The crunch of the pan-fried meat! I was inundated in ecstasy — euphoric — totally out of my mind with bliss!

As I wolfed huge bites of bacon down, at the corner of one eye I spied the mister approaching slowly, carefully from around the building with that rod with the wire loop at the end of it.

And you know what?

I did not care one iota.

 

Copyright © by Lawrence S. Marsden, 21 May, 2014