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Fiction Coming of Age Friendship

The place I remember as the home wasn’t really much of a home. I slept mostly outside from the day I got there as a young pup. There was a little wooden building the family called the dog’s outhouse and it's where I spent most of my time, chained to the wooden stake in the dusty backyard with piles of trash and boxes strewn around. I liked the boxes because I could hide in them and keep warm. The round ball of light was just beginning to show up over the top of the family’s house. I’d peek out of my little box to see what the day’s light would bring; maybe today would be my lucky day and I’d have a bone or toy to play with or some extra food in my dish.

I didn’t have any of my own family to play with; sometimes the youngest of the Sebastian children would come out to stroke my head and toss a ball for me to catch, and she always brought me a special treat. I was hungry most of the time, sometimes they would forget I was there and not bring me food for a day or two. I was really miserable.

The day was cold and windy, and I tried to keep warm in my little house when I heard the footsteps of the Sebastian father coming closer and closer. This was never a good sign, he was a nasty man and didn’t like me. He yelled at me to get out of my house. I slowly stuck my head out of my little house door to see what he wanted. “Get over here you mangy mutt,” he hollered. “Get into the truck, now!”

I hated riding in the back of the old pick-up truck, the bumpy floor of the truck with its fishy smell and rusty paint was so uncomfortable to lie in. She remembered how hot it got sometimes that her paws would burn, and sometimes so cold she’d get icicles running down her nose.

She just wanted to sleep, but the truck kept bouncing around and she couldn’t find a comfortable place to lie down; there was no pillow or blanket to keep her warm. “Where are we going this time?” she wondered.

Suddenly she felt a big jolt and the truck stopped so suddenly that she was thrown hard against the cab of the truck and struck her head, “that really hurt,” she whimpered.

“Get out!” my master yelled. “I better do what he says.” Queenie’s master was pretty mean and sometimes hit her pretty hard, she learned it was better to just listen and do what she’s told!

Queenie was confused, she knew she didn’t have to do any business and didn’t know why he wanted her to jump out of the back of the truck.

She looked up at him, he was wearing this old beat-up jacket with patches on the sleeves, his worn-out woolen hat almost covered his entire face. His squinty eyes glared at her and in his hand, he held that dreaded long strip of something that he often hit her with. Queenie cowered and whimpered and tried to sneak to the back of the truck bed, but he grabbed her by the neck and pushed her out of the truck.

“Stay,” he commanded. “Sit!”

This was really confusing, why did he want me to stay? But she knew if she didn’t listen he would hurt her again. Queenie sat and waited for the master’s next command.

Whrrrrrr, the sound of the truck’s engine almost burst Queenie’s eardrums as she saw the truck speeding away. “Wait, stop, wait for me,” I barked. I couldn’t move, I was told to stay and sit … she was afraid to disobey. she waited and waited, but her master never came back.

She was getting really hungry, she hadn’t eaten since yesterday and that was only a scrap of bread the little master had snuck to her under the kitchen table.

The light was getting smaller and smaller and when it gets really small I’m not going to see anything, she thought. The ground was mushy and damp, she looked around for a dry spot, but where it wasn’t wet it was dusty, it got in her nose and she started to sneeze and sneeze and sneeze. She looked around for trees or bushes to hide in, but all she could see was flatness, except for the black rock. Queenie sniffed around looking for someplace to sleep, the black rock was the only thing she could find to rest against. The darkness surrounded her, she tried to get comfortable and squirmed and tossed until the sheer exertion of moving so much exhausted her and she fell into a fitful sleep.

Queenie slowly opened her eyes as the morning light shined in her eyes, “What’s that smell, it smells like meat, meat, oh I really want some, I’m so hungry.”

There’s a little house with wheels over there that has really good smells, if I walk over slowly maybe they’ll give me some of that stuff that smells so good. There were a whole lot of people standing in line waiting; I’ll just sit next to the little house and maybe I’ll get some of that good smelling stuff. Sometimes the people online would pat me gently on the head, but no one gave me even a little bit. Right behind the little house was a trash can, the people threw their leftovers there, and sometimes there was a little bit of meat left in the paper sack, which I gobbled up as fast as I could.

I watched all the people leave and then the house on wheels left too. I was alone again, and it was starting to get dark. I was really scared, I’d never been alone for so long in such a strange place, I would even lick my master if he was here.

“Here girl, c’mon over here.”

Was someone calling me, I just heard a voice but didn’t see a people person.

“Come here, girl, don’t be afraid, I’m not going to hurt you.”

There was someone there and he sounded like he wanted me to come over to him, I recognized the words ‘come here.’ He was a stranger, I didn’t like strangers. I bared my teeth at him just a little, he may be nice. I walked over a little closer, still very wary.

“C’mon girl, it’s okay, don’t be afraid, here’s a hamburger for you.”

He placed the hamburger on the paper and put it on the ground about 5 feet from where I was standing. He was crouching down, not standing over me like my master would do. I crept a little closer. I was so hungry, and the hamburger was right there in front of me, I had to take a chance. I crawled up to the hamburger and grabbed it and ran a few feet away.

He was still there crouched down on his knees.

“Good girl. Bet it tastes good uh, I bet you were really hungry!” He said it almost in a whisper.

I really liked the sound of the good girl, maybe he’ll be a better master than that other one.

He got up and started walking closer to me, I didn’t move. He had gotten really close to me, he put his hand out for me to smell it. It smelled nice! I wanted to see what he would do next because if he was going to hit me or something I could still run away real fast.

He reached his hand out to touch my head and gave me a very soft gentle rub. It felt so good, I couldn’t help myself and wagged my tail happily. I laid down on my back and he rubbed my belly, I don’t remember ever feeling so happy.

He stood up and beckoned to me to follow him. “It’s okay, let’s go for a ride and I’ll get you another hamburger. I didn’t really have a choice, he was so nice to me that I felt like I could follow him anywhere. He walked over to the car and I followed him. He didn’t look back at me, I guess he was waiting to see what I would do. He opened the front door of the car and said, “just jump in, you’ll sit next to me, so you can see where we’re going.” I jumped into the front seat which had this incredibly soft comfortable blanket on it, I was feeling so worn out from that horrible cold night, that I just laid down and fell fast asleep.

I think I was in the car and fast asleep for a long time when I felt a soft hand on my shoulder. I woke up so suddenly and growled a little bit just to let the person with the soft hand know that I’m a pretty tough dog. The lady didn’t seem afraid, her face showed a gentle smile, and she said, “don’t be afraid, this is going to be your new home.”

Home, home, I didn’t like my other home, they were very mean to me. Is this going to be a home like the other one? I didn’t get out of the car.

The lady must have understood my fear, because she gently patted my head and said, “you’re such a beautiful girl, you don’t have to be afraid. I’ll leave the car door open and you come out when you feel like it.”

The nice man had gone, and I was left alone in the car. The lady had walked up to the house and left the house door open. She came back out again with a bowl and placed it on the step right in front of the door. I looked around and saw other nice houses, there wasn’t any dirt or garbage and boxes strewn around, it all looked so clean and nice.

I couldn’t wait any longer and jumped out of the car and slowly walked up to see what was in the bowl that the lady had brought out. It was water! I was so very thirsty that I drank everything up. The lady was watching me from inside the house. I didn’t know what to make of all this; no one had ever been so nice to be before. My tail wagged incessantly, it was like I had no control of my body, everything seemed to be so nice, and I just wanted it to continue.

The lady got up and walked into the house and around the corner of the wall where I couldn’t see her. I didn’t want her to go away. I walked into the house and stuck my nose around the corner of the wall where she had gone, she was there in this red room with lots of wonderful smells. She placed another bowl on the floor with more water. I drank all the water in the bowl and she refilled it. I wasn’t thirsty anymore and needed to my business, so I started walking around in a circle sniffing for some dirt to go on to.

She must have noticed my distress because she took me gently by my neck fur and walked me around the red wall to another door that she opened and to my great surprise and joy there was a great big area with lots of grass and trees for me to do my business.

I ran out and found a wonderful spot in the corner and it felt so good to do my business, and after I finished I happily raced around the backyard in circles until I was exhausted.

“Good girl, good girl, that's your spot and you go there anytime you need to.”

I was feeling pretty good and safe and wanted to stay in this new home. I hope they let me stay here. I walked over to the nice lady and licked her hand, I really wanted her to know that I was a nice dog and not mean, I want to live here, please let me live here.

A man walked over, and I got a little scared and my body started to shake. “I think she’s a little afraid of men, just walk over to her slowly, talk to her gently and let her sniff your hand.” The man sat down on the floor and sat facing me eye to eye, I waited to see what he would do. He didn’t do anything, just reached out his hand for me to sniff. I took a swift sniff and walked backward. The man didn’t do anything, just held out his hand again. This time I sniffed his hand longer and it smelled nice, just like the lady’s.

“She’s a beautiful dog, what should we call her,” the lady said. The way she jumped around in the backyard showed plenty of pep, maybe we should call her Pepi.

They called me the word over and over again, I liked the sound of the word. I wagged my tail excitedly to show that I accepted the new word.

Pepi had found her forever home, she lived happily ever after with her new family.

June 25, 2021 19:36

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1 comment

Eva R.
22:47 Jun 30, 2021

So nice to read story from a perspective of a dog. It was heartbreaking to read initially but so glad for the happy ending. Well done!


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