I was dozing quite happily on Jack’s bed, dreaming of chasing sticks and trying to catch ducks. Jack had taken me for a long, tiring walk earlier, which had disturbed my compulsory late morning nap, so I was trying to catch up on it now. There was a small sliver of sunlight coming through the window that was warming my belly and I heaved a deep, sleepy sigh.
Suddenly, my ears shot up at the sound of keys jangling at the front door. Instantly alert, I leapt off the bed and rushed down the stairs. It took me a moment to find my vocal cords but I began barking madly as their smells reached my nostrils.
“Hello, hello! You’re back!”
I stood at the door, tail wagging like a whirlwind and I could hear them talking to me in their babyish voices they seemed to reserve for me and the little two-legged humans.
Finally, the door opened and I struggled to get my large frame through the door to lick them while they tried coming inside.
“Woah, woah Jensen. Back, back you big doofus!” said Jack, my favoritest person in the whole world. I could sense his mate, Sarah behind him and I thought I smelled a strange smell on her.
I backed up and managed to sit down, my tail wagging as fast as it could. Jack leaned down to me and gave me a big pat on the head. Then he grabbed my face in his hands, looked me in the eyes and used his firm voice. I knew I had to listen.
“Now, Jensen. You’ve got to be a good boy, a good boy, okay? No biting,” he said.
I tilted my head to the side, trying to understand. I am a good boy and I won’t bite. Why did he need to ask?
Jack turned and motioned for Sarah to come in. My tail wagging picked up again and I went to leap towards her but Jack’s firm hand on my collar stopped me. I looked at him, puzzled. Why couldn’t I say hello to Sarah?
I noticed that Sarah was holding something close to her chest, something that had a funny smell. I wondered if it was a new kind of food for me to try! They shut the door and Sarah sat on the comfortable, shaggy rug and nodded towards Jack. Jack let go of me and I went to rush over to where Sarah was to say hello. Suddenly, I screeched to a halt as a small, black bundle appeared on the carpet in front of Sarah, a bundle that smelled very odd. I looked at Jack, then at Sarah, wondering what it was.
“Nicely, Jensen,” Jack said warningly.
I cocked my head to the side, trying to figure out what the small object was. I took a hesitant step towards it then reared back. It moved! I was very confused now, but I decided to try to sniff it again, see if I could figure out that smell.
I was finally close enough to almost touch the strange object and I gave it a large sniff. Instantly, a strange hissing sound came from it and a thin, black thing launched itself at my head, whacking me.
I gave a yelp and scampered backwards, hoping that Jack would protect me.
What was that thing?
Jack laughed, which eased my nerves a little bit, but I still had no idea what was going on.
“Jensen, meet the newest addition to the family, Oscar,” he said.
Then, much to my disbelief, he went over to the small bundle, picked it up and carried it towards me. I backed away quickly again but Jack kept bringing it to me. Cornered now, I had no choice but to try and figure out what it was again. I hesitantly reached out my nose and sniffed it. Had a very funny smell, earthy like when it was raining outside. It made that awful noise again but nothing tried to hit me so I kept observing it. It had four legs, like me, a head, ears and a tail. Its eyes were huge, staring at me with an evilness, still making that awful noise. I whined.
I didn’t like it.
“Oscar is going to be living with us now. So you have to be nice, be friends,” Jack said to me.
“Why?” I whined at him.
This was even worse than the vet.
It felt as though my life had been taken over by this, this thing. I had finally learned what the creature was called – a cat. It stole almost all of Jack and Sarah’s time. They even let it sit on their laps on the couch while I was stuck on my bed on the floor! Then again, it was such a tiny thing so it probably needed the extra protection. The thought had crossed my mind to eat the creature so I was rid of it, but something told me it wouldn’t taste very nice, and I feared those sharp, shiny claws at the end of its legs. They hurt my nose.
It had been a few weeks now since the thing had arrived in my house, and so far the highlight of my days had been walks which, thankfully, it didn’t join in on. Those times belonged to just Jack and I and sometimes Sarah.
I had first tried to avoid the thing, but it had slunk into every corner of the house. Once it even dared to sniff my bed and I barked at it, causing it to bolt in fright. I was rather proud of myself until Jack scolded me.
I was very sad after that.
Slowly, the thing kept growing bigger. I sensed it would never be as big as me, but I still had an irrational fear of it.
Some days it would just sit on the tall, tower, bed thingy that Jack had bought for it and stare at me unblinkingly, mocking me. Eventually I would get so annoyed by it that I would begin barking, which caused Jack to yell at me to be quiet.
The thing never got into trouble for anything.
One day, Jack and Sarah had gone out somewhere and I was dozing peacefully on their bed, knowing that the cat was somewhere downstairs. The cat rarely encroached on my space in the bedroom so it had quickly become my favourite spot. I was dreaming my favourite dream again (chasing after sticks) when I heard a very light patter of feet and something landed softly on the bed.
As I was half asleep, I couldn’t be bothered looking to see what it was. When no more noise was forthcoming, I quickly forgot about it.
That is, until something small and wet touched my face.
My eyes shot open and there was that stupid thing, it is pointy little face looking at me.
I quickly leapt up to chase it away but it beat me to it and bolted off back downstairs.
I huffed and settled down again, watching the doorway for a long while until I was sure the thing wouldn’t come creeping back in.
It had just violated my space.
How ever could I get rid of this thing?
I found it hard to sleep upstairs for a while. I kept imaging the thing hanging around, hiding in the shadows or under the bed. Even my favourite little teddy bear chew toy couldn’t help me sleep.
I finally managed it on another day when Jack and Sarah were out and I slept with my chew toy between my paws. It smelled like Jack and I, no scent of that thing on it.
My ears suddenly perked up at a strange sound near me. It sounded like the deep sound of the car when it was turned on. I lazily opened one eye a crack then instantly came awake.
There was the thing near me again!
I barked at it and it flinched backwards, but didn’t run off this time. I stayed very still. What was it going to do?
I realised that the sound was coming from it, a sound I don’t think I’d heard it make before, at least not around me. It inched closer again, reaching out it is little nose to sniff me. It sneezed.
Yeah, I knew how it felt. It made me wanna sneeze too.
It came closer to my head and I was frozen, not knowing what to do. If I tried to eat it, Jack would probably be upset with me. If I scared it, it might scratch me with those evil claws.
It sniffed me for a bit longer and moved closer. The sound it was making increased. I looked around, trying to figure out an escape exit.
The thing reached out it is head and rubbed it against my snout. Its fur got all up in my nose and I sneezed. The thing looked at me in a slightly insulted manner.
After some more tentative walking up and down my body, occasionally rubbing its head against me - rubbing its awful scent on me - it decided to curl up, part of its side resting on mine. I stared at it, wondering what it was going to do.
It started licking itself. Hey, that was something that I did too, although some parts were harder to reach for me than seemed to be for it.
Slowly, I felt myself relax when it finally curled up and seemed to sleep. Pretty sure it wasn’t going to try anything again, I decided to try and get some more sleep.
The next few days were strange. The thing kept following me around, sitting near wherever I sat, staring at me and blinking slowly. It freaked me out a little bit, but I sense that it was friendliness on the thing’s part. At least it didn’t make that hissing noise at me which meant it was going to scratch me.
The strangest incident was in the loungeroom. I was laying on my bed dozing, listening to Jack watch the tv, when the cat came over to me, its toy mouse in its mouth. It came right up close to my head and then deposited the toy on the ground in front of me. Then it just sat there, watching, its tail wagging slightly. I looked at the toy and sniffed it. It wasn’t food, just its toy. It kept sitting there like it was waiting for something.
I got up and got my toy bone that made noise when you picked it up and brought it over to where the thing was. I dropped it in front of the thing then sat and waited like it had. The thing cautiously sniffed it, then sat back and stared at me again.
I heard Jack laughing behind me and when I looked at him, he was looking at the two of us. He seemed happy from the exchange between me and the thing, which confused me.
But it seemed like Jack liked it when the thing and I were nice to each other, so maybe I could try to do that.
The thing – the cat, Oscar – was certainly strange. But perhaps he wasn’t as bad as I had thought.
Whenever I slept on Jack’s bed, Oscar now followed me and curled up beside me. I liked its company, and it was quite warm and furry. He kept bringing me gifts too, especially sticks. The sticks were too tiny for me, but I appreciated them all the same.
I also learned that Oscar was fun to play with. Sometimes he would run madly around the house and I would follow him, barking loudly. This seemed to amuse Jack greatly, which made me happy. When Jack threw the ball for me in the backyard, Oscar would race after it trying to catch it too.
I was always faster, of course.
Eventually I got used to his funny smell and his fur that often got stuck up in my nose and made me sneeze, and his tail that would often whack me in the face. Still, I think I whacked him in the face a lot with my tail so we were even.
All in all, Oscar wasn’t so bad after all.
1 year later
Oscar and I were sleeping upstairs together again, waiting for Jack to get home. Oscar had grown much bigger now and he had gotten quite good at cuddling. We both perked up our ears when we heard the door opening and we both raced downstairs to greet Jack.
“Hey, hey, boys!” he said, trying to get past us and through the door. He was carrying a box that had another strange smell in it, a smell that smelled vaguely familiar.
He took a while to say hello to me and waited until I’d calmed down before setting the mysterious box on the floor.
I immediately went to sniff it and began sneezing violently.
“Now, Jensen. Sit and be nice,” Jack said firmly.
I did as I was told, tail wagging hard, aware of Oscar perched on his cat tower watching with interest.
Jack reached into the box and slowly pulled out a small, light-coloured object and deposited it on the shaggy rug.
I went to move closer and then…it moved!
Then it made a funny hissing sound – a sound Oscar sometimes made.
I looked at the strange object on the ground and tilted my head, trying to think of why this all felt awfully familiar.
Then, I realised what the thing was and I looked up at Jack in horrified dismay.