Humans rarely see what is really there.
Looking at my girl, all they could possibly see is the beauty, and the cold exterior. No one saw the warm heart inside her, or the unconditional kindness she’d willing dole out to a stranger - if only the asked. In that aspect, that is truly why humans will never be as smart as dogs.
With a simple downward twist of her lips, a cocky stride, and a snide remark - any given two legger would dismiss this girl for cold and wounded. Any dog, however, would see the reflecting look in her eyes, we would smell the falter of her step and the hesitance in her frown. Most of all, I could sense the agony and defeat in her even when her friends thought her to be at her strongest.
So I was there when she needed me, and ever present when she thought she didn’t. In the back of her mind, I like to think that she knew I was protecting her in all the ways friends and family could not.
To be fair, I was the only one present when my girl turned from innocent child to woman. I laid curled at her side in the most painful time of her life, and watched the fire of passion flicker and dim in her eyes. I got to see her new perspective and intelligence be born.
On the day her human family says she turned to stone, I saw her collapse inwards yet grow stronger and wiser.
If only for a day humans could see others in the fashion that dogs do, hate and misunderstanding might diminish from the world.
Then again, a landslide of unknown emotion might unfurl.
The story I plan on telling you is, to my best knowledge, as accurate as possible for me. My girl willing told me the recounting of her life when I could not be around, but theres still only so much truth a dog can weddle from it’s humans entire life.
I still remember the day she came into my life with perfect clarity. Still a puppy, I remained in a small cage among rows and rows of others. Stacked atop one another, lining walls, and forming walkways most of the cages around me contained dogs just like me. Some would bark as humans approached them, others would remained pressed against the steel floors.
I had been in this room for an indeterminable amount of time. Hundreds of people came in and out, I began counting but stopped as days rolled into weeks (or so it felt. I still have no clear understanding of how long I was there), yet my cage door was never opened except on the occasions I was allowed outside to urinate. I had entered this room with other puppies, none of them relation to me, but all of them the same breed. We had all come from the same owner - who was refereed to by the regulars here as a backyard breeder. As time went on, we were all given separate cages as we grew too big to share one. Soon after the separation, many of them began to disappear. Totally isolated, I waited in my cage making no sound. A young couple began down the aisle. The male stopped to push his fingers through my cage and brush against my fur. I obliged, leaning against the bars with my tail wagging.
His female, which had been playing with the puppy across from me turned now to inspect me. Her fingers brushed against the cage and I licked at them. She drew away, still smiling.
“His ear is really droopy”
“He’s just a puppy. It’ll stand up as he gets older”
“Maybe” she agreed, still inspecting me “Don’t German Shepherds get too big though”
“Maybe” he sighed, resigned to agree with her and she turned across the aisle to pet a maltese puppy. He did the same. After a few moments, the couple left to exit down the aisle holding hands. In his free hand, attached to a leash was the puppy. Later that day, it’s cage was cleaned, sprayed down and a new older dog was placed inside. He stared back at me through haunted, empty eyes but said nothing.
When someone began down our aisle, he turned his back to the door and laid his head in his paws. I watched him for a moment in interest. Once I looked away, I began to watch as a lone girl began slowly down the aisle, her eyes tracing over every cage. Long dark hair cascaded freely down her thin shoulders. She was dressed better than most I had seen walk this aisle. Her dark eyes, hidden behind heavy lashes, never rested on a single object for to long. She walked with her head held a centimeter higher than most, her stride measured and poised. She reached out her fingertips as if to brush against the cages, yet never truly touched a thing. She ebbed dominance.
As she reached the near center, still so far from my cage, another figure rounded the corner. He was tall, with tanned skin, broad shoulders and sandy hair. His face contorted in a permanent scowl, his eyes only remained on her. He never strayed to look at the cages around him. His love for her, his sheer admiration was undeniable, so much so that even two-leggers noticed. His hatred for her, only a dog could sense.
I can’t even begin to explain to you how one can both love and hate the same person. This emotion, I assure you, is exclusive to humans.
“They said it’s in cage number 59”, He told her, his voice a straight edge across a frozen surface.
“He” She corrected, unfazed. It was the moment she spoke I became aware that she was uncontrollably in love with him as well. Seeing the cage numbers around her, she never quickened her pace. Slowly she made it to the back cages. Examining the dogs on the opposite side of me she turned slowly on her heel before coming at rest in front of mine. She stopped suddenly, her eyes finally focusing on a target.
“He’s beautiful” she breathed, her utter awe unconfined.
His hand reached for the paper attached to my cage. “They told you he was mixed”
“Yeah” she smiled, already reaching to unlatch the cage and pull the door open. She crouched down, blocking my exit yet keeping the door open enough to run her hands through my fur. My tail wagged and unable to restrain myself I licked at her face.
“Easy Vicktor”she laughed, speaking my name for the first time. It was the first name I could ever remember ever having. Before that moment, before her I could only remember being called puppy or (my least favorite) Nikki.
“He looks purebreed”
“I don’t care” she told him, her eyes still never leaving me. “Can you bring me the leash?”
Producing one from his back pocket, he reached down to her. His fingers ran through her hair as she attached a purple collar and leash to my neck. She easily unfastened my old collar, which was dirty and worn so the original color was no longer clear. Dropping it in my cage she stepped aside and I began my last walk down the aisle. The other dogs barked. I tugged against my lead in excitement. She only gently pulled me to a stop each time, calling my name and keeping the lead as loose as she could.
I imagine I can still hear the barking of all the other dogs left behind to an unknown fate. Theres always a wake up call from such nightmares.
“Aria” He called, trailing at our heels in disinterest. I lead the way of course, navigating through the aisles of the pet store in awe. We were surrounded by other people, and had even run across a few other dogs on our shopping escapade. “The dogs a boy, he’s gonna look gay in all purple”
“Don’t be a homophobe Dean” she laughed half-heartedly, though her grip on my leash remained dominant. “Vicktor’s going to look so cute”
“If you say so” he muttered, returning to her side to grab her hand. I looked back in interest. Even though we had been together less than a day, I had already decided that my true loyalties went to Aria, not Dean. It was her alone that would support and care for me, and if the time ever came I would happily see Dean to the door.
She twined her fingers in his, squeezing his hand and looking up with a smile. The entire scene ebbed with affection, yet underneath was the fight for dominance. She diminished the tension easily by turning back to the counter and picking up a large blue bone encrusted with little jewels on the side. Dropping everything on the counter before her, there was a clicking noise. she turned to me.
Dean watched in amusement for a moment.
“I don’t think he knows what to do” he teased, looking down to me with teasing eyes. My tail wagged and I kept my eyes focused on her, willing her to tell me what to do. Her hand remained positioned just in front of my nose and she repeated the words slowly while moving her hand backwards. Watching her intently, my hindquarters hit the ground in an effort to keep track of her hand. The moment I was fully on the ground she smiled, producing a treat from her pocket.
“Good sit” she smiled, kneeling to give me the treat while ruffling my fur “Good sit Vicktor”
Standing back up, she smiled challengingly to Dean “He’s already smarter than you”
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