I do not understand the humans.
Let me explain: I am “Rex” to my human, but “Steven” to my friends. I have had my human for over three years and it is a pleasant relationship, as long as I can understand the things that we are both supposed to do. I chase out the birds and squirrels, guard the space when the human is out, and make sure that this space is safe.
Yes, make it safe, and keep it safe.
And this is why I am still confused.
One day, in the middle of an evening, when fewer squirrels were about and I had not much to do except wait, the space became very quiet. No humming from the white food box; no letters on the screen on the cooking grey box; and the ticking face stopped its noise and movement.
Now, I could have stayed in that space, waited for my human, observed the complaining and held in my anger over not receiving my food, and then slept outside while this all passed. But no, this would not work. I had to go through the special door just for me and find out what was happening outside.
We had things to do.
Yes, I said, “We”. The neighbourhood; the real neighbourhood. You would not think that your dogs – your? – would be the ones to “save the day,” as you say (yes, we can understand some of what you say). You would not think that we would be the ones to bring some sense and stability to your disorder and anarchy. You would be surprised by what we can do, not what we are forced to do.
But we are impressed by what you do not know.
Anyway, all the noises stopped, and I listened. I did hear cars pass by, but the greater noise was the sound of the complaining and whining that I heard from the humans across the street and in the same box.
“Damn this city!”
“What the hell…?”
“Just perfect. Saved on a drive for ages and now…just perfect.”
“Sure, why work when it’s my day off…”
And on and on it went. You would not believe how funny you sound to your dogs when you go on like this. You would not believe how well we understand your language and thoughts when your emotions run unchecked and uncontrolled.
The only ones that do not complain the way you do are your…”pets” (even that word gets me vexed). We can hear all of your complaints and wonder why you do not do something about your problems. All this talk about money makes us wonder why you even bother dealing with it; all those complaints and no solution in sight.
So, I listened.
Not one animal heard. But I knew that I would have to make some effort to get our group together.
Through the space that was your home to the outside that was all ours, I went to the nearest space to meet my friend.
Greg…”Greybeard” to his humans – truly an absurd name from his humans –was waiting for me at the gate, looking carefully at the neighbourhood as I approached.
“Do you see?”
I looked around, acknowledged his scent, and sat beside him.
“They have no light now. They have only their dark.”
Greg smiled (you would not have noticed this as a human). “We must get the others together and then see if the humans are at an end with this.”
“This surely cannot be the end of them. Not like this.”
“Perhaps not.” Greg sniffed the air and looked toward the left. “Perhaps the cats will now be…”
I knew that this was a joke, but I did not laugh.
It is true; dogs do not like cats. But the reasons why are not the ones you probably suspect. Cats are very standoffish (this is true); they only care about their own comfort (also correct); they do not really care for their humans (you know this; admit it); and they do not notice when things go wrong (unless the food and shelter is taken away). They have a terrible social disease and we remind them that this is all true. And this is why I did not laugh when Greg attempted to find the humour at this moment.
“I apologize. Let’s go and gather the others.”
It did not take long. Parry was standing guard by a blackened home with several loud humans attempting to solve their issues by shouting; the Leonards were right behind us after we passed through the local park (easy to spot in the dark with their black and white fur); Jerry was still on his space (we had to push him to follow us); and then we arrived at the one home – called it a home – that I did not want to see.
“Steven, you know that we have to pass by her spot.”
“I knew that, but I…”
And then she saw us.
Jenny… I will not bother sharing the ridiculous name that she had to carry around with her humans (young human girls can be quite careless with such a gift). I turned when her scent was sharp in the air and nuzzled my side. Her grey mane was still lovely.
“Steve…So long since…”
“Yes, um, hello, Jenny. So long since we have been seen…”
I was embarrassing myself. None of the others dared to laugh, but they knew about us. They knew how itended.
“It is good to see you, too, Jenny.”
“Greg. Hello, and to you all, hello. Have you seen what is happening? The humans have no lights so they complain without doing a thing about it. So sad.”
She could always read my thoughts. Many in the neighbourhood said I was the natural leader, but Jenny just…
“So, what happens now?”
She was looking right at me, as if she knew what I was going to say. A perfect set up, I thought.
“We go to the hill.”
There were yelps of agreement and all scents were in agreement.
Yes, I wondered about that choice, too. There was no reason for us to go there. There were no food or water sources. And no chance of us encountering any humans in the dark. But I thought that it was the best spot for us.
And that is where we ended the night. A perfect place for us. We could see your homes, sense your fear, and wait for the power to return to you so that you would return to your senses.
But it was quite strange. You did not notice that we were gone during that long darkness. Well, most of you did not. My human was a strange breed. He saw us as he became concerned for me and found all of us up there. When he saw me, he did call me by “that” name, but I was not offended. In fact, I was touched.
And then all that light seemed to return, showing the full size of the group that had gathered on that hill.
I wonder about how you are thinking about this.
There seems to be hope for you all.