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Awhile went on again. I played with the Toys when the people let me out, and I even got one of my very own in my cage. I laid Outside when it wasn’t too hot, and I watched all the people walk by my cage. Less and less people stopped to scratch me though, and I grew lonely without K-9. Not even cage chewing made the time pass, and the people at the New Place seemed to dislike my cage chewing even more than the people at the old place, although the new people never barked, just shook their fingers at me. I could still tell they didn’t like it though, they smelled different when they were shaking at me.

The people began to treat me differently. When they said the pleasing things they sounded sad and afraid, like they had when they talked to K-9. I wondered if I was going to disappear soon too, and if I did, if they would take me to wherever K-9 went.

One day, when it was almost time for Outside to get dark, a female and a male person walked by my cage. The female person was smaller than the male person, and she had long head fur. The male person had those removable eyes that I’d come to learn some people had. The female person smiled at me and said the pleasing things. I jumped up on the cage and licked her fingers as she stuck them through the cage to scratch my nose. The male person growled at her, but didn’t bark. She never took her eyes off of me while she barked back at him. The male person looked at me but then took the female person’s shoulder and led her away. The female person looked behind to look at me, and I stared right back. For some reason, I didn’t want these people to leave.

Time went by. I was laying in my cage when one of the new people showed up with the nice rope. I jumped up and wagged my tail. Normally we didn’t go out to play with the Toys when it got dark Outside. I was excited to go out and play.

She put me on the rope, but she didn’t take me to the hallway that led Outside. Instead, she led me down the hallway of barking dogs. She opened a door and in the room were the male person and the female person, sitting in chairs.

I grinned and charged to them. I jumped up on the female person’s lap, and she laughed and scratched my head and said pleasing things. I reached up and smelled something strange, so I went to lick it, but the male person barked quietly at me, and I stopped. I looked at the male person and got off the female person. I sat in front of the male person and gently put my head in his lap. For some reason, I just knew that the male person wasn’t like the female person, and this was how I should tell him hello. The male person pet my head and looked at the female person, who had the outline of rain in her eyes as the people talked to the new person. I wagged my tail and whined.

Then the new person took my rope and took me back to my cage. I cried and jumped up on the cage, but the male person and the female person were gone. Eventually, I laid back down.

A little while later, the new person came back with another rope, although this one was much smaller and not as comfortable because it didn’t have the thing they put around my neck to connect the rope to that made it more comfortable. I followed the new person and panted because the rope hurt a little.

The new person led me out into the first room I’d seen at the New Place. I hadn’t been in that room in a long time. Immediately, I saw the male person and the female person. The female person held out her hands, and I charged into her. The male person took my rope, but gently, so it didn’t hurt. I was very happy to see the new people and wagged my tail and pushed my body into the female person.

The male person said something to the female person and started to walk out. I looked behind me. The male person still had the rope, and he was pulling me forward, to the Outside. I followed, starting to feel afraid.

We walked Outside, but there was no cage. There was just Outside, and the ground on the Outside was hot and burned my pads. I looked back to the New Place. Where were the people taking me? I didn’t want to leave my New Place. My legs shook, and I laid down so the male person wouldn’t drag me further away from my New Place.

The female person tried to say pleasing things to me, but I was too scared to care. I did not want to leave the New Place. The New Place was the best place I’d ever been, and I knew the people. I wanted my Toys and my cage and my water and my food and my Outside cage.

The female person got down on the ground, but I refused to look at her. Instead, I tried to crawl toward the door of the New Place, but the male person stopped me. The male person said something to the female person, who had rain in her eyes again, and they both sounded sad, which made me more afraid. I decided I didn’t want to disappear, and I wanted to stay in the New Place, even if these people were going to bring me to K-9.

Outside got darker and darker, and finally, the male person came toward me and put his hands around my belly. He lifted up, and I had no choice but to stand. Gently, the male person pulled me forward on my rope, and with my tail tucked, I followed.

We got to another one of those people cages on water bowls, but this one was smaller. I laid down. The male person picked up my rear end and carefully pushed me into the people cage on water bowls. I stepped in because I had no choice, my legs shaking, my stomach heaving. The people said pleasing things to me, but I didn’t care. My eyes rolled as I stared out the window and the thing began to move, taking me further and further away from the New Place until I couldn’t see it anymore.

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