My master left home three days ago…
I haven’t seen him since, and though I’m grateful for that, I’m scared and alone. This chain around my neck attached to a metal pole gets looser every day from my rapid weight loss. I recently gave birth to a litter of puppies because I’m an what they call an expert breeder, but even if they were my hundredth litter, they were mine and I miss them. He took them away from me before I could even say hello.
The chain doesn’t reach the porch so I’m stuck out here in the blazing sun. It’s so warm, but I’m freezing. For some reason, he liked to tear out patches of my hair whenever one of my pups died or I whined too much. I learned after the second use of the spiked collar that whining got me nowhere. My water bowl is bone dry, and he never fills it. The only food I have is grass, but that’s just as brittle and unfulfilling.
I lift my paw and lick the dried blood and scars. I don’t know what this unimaginable pain is pulsing from it, but it’s nothing good. Every time I try to move it, it sends a burning sensation through my whole body. It could be broken. How heavy is a steel-toed boot? Is it strong enough to break bones when they’re stepped on? He didn’t even notice that he stepped on me. I tried my best not to make a noise, as much as I wanted to bark and whine. I couldn’t risk getting the spiked collar again.
As I try to stand, each of my legs shake violently. I dug a hole for myself where I pooped and peed. I know I’m a dog, and have insatiable urge to eat garbage, but even I can’t stand the smell of old feces. It’s gotten to the point where I can’t reach the hole without collapsing. Last night I had to sleep in my own urine. I haven’t pooped much lately, since I haven’t had a decent meal. Honestly, I don’t remember the last time I had a meal that filled me up.
“NO! He’s back!” I heard the front door open. It sounded like he broke it down. He must be furious with me. I can’t remember what I did wrong. How will he punish me this time? I scurry to hide myself under the porch, but only my head fits underneath. The pain is surging through me as I try to calm my heart rate. If he thinks I’m dead, will he leave me here? What if he burns my body? I already have burns from his cigarettes, so I don’t think a bonfire would affect me much.
I hear a voice. It’s… a female? She’s calling out to me. She touches the tip of my tail and I flinch. She starts apologizing profusely. Why is she doing that? I’m at fault here. I’m the bad dog. She keeps calling me baby girl and… Jane? Is she able to read the word carved into the old collar I chewed off? Her hand is soft, and gentle. I let her pet and rub my rump, because it feels quite soothing.
Slowly, I try to shuffle backwards, but she urges me to stop. She says something about my paw. She wants me to rest. I wonder if my body even remembers how to sleep. There’s another voice. It’s male. I panic and wait for the shouting to begin. But it doesn’t. He’s as calm as the woman. I feel their hands stroke my fur, or at least what’s left of it. I shiver uncontrollably, and arch my back, which sends intense pain through me. The woman is concerned of how much of my spine she can see. I wish I could apologize to her for my appearance.
They slowly help me out from under the porch. They continue to pet me, but I’m too afraid to look at them. My eyes are shut tight. How do I know I can trust them? They could just be stealing me from my master to take me to another place where they breed puppies.
Turning my head, I see a large cage with a door that locks. I knew it was too good to be true.
Suddenly, I smell something delicious. The man places two bowls in front of the cage and my tail starts wagging. They help me over to the bowls, one filled with meaty, moist food, and the other with ice cold water. I try not to whine and beg for more. It took me seconds to consume what they offered. What’s this? They’re giving me more food!? Maybe I can trust them after all…
(To be continued)