Author’s note: If you are interested in having your rescue pet featured on Shelter Stories Wednesday (use of pet noted, it doesn’t have to be a dog) please send me some information on your pet’s background (or guessed background) as well as two photos (before and afters are great, but I will take whatever). Please note you must OWN the photos or have express written permission from whoever took them for me to use them on my page. Also, you have to be willing to let me use them on my blog 🙂 I will create a story around your rescue with some information from you. For more details or to submit your pet, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Round and round I go, when I’ll stop, nobody knows.
You can see the years go by in my footsteps, spinning. Never ending years. The tugging is half-hearted now, the pain from the chain in my neck a dull ache that never ceases. The only smells that hit my nose are the dust and the dirt made by my circle and the smell of the puss seeping down my neck from the infection the chain has caused.
Yet I persist, despite my desire to die. Round and round I go, hoping that maybe this chain will break and maybe I will be free.
I remember promise, somewhere, in the fading cavities of my mind. Which I’m losing. Slowly. The mind goes slowly when you are young. But quickly. The days. Fading. Disappearing in the whirlwind, the merry go round, the eternal hell. But what was I…oh yes. Promise. I look up at the sky and pull my lips back, half grimace, half smile. My tongue sags. It is hot today. The sun and the burning. My eyes tear, but I look up. Where…oh yes. Promise.
Eight weeks old. They brought me here and put me in the house, where I had a warm bed. Ah, my bed. My body shivers thinking about it despite the heat. The bed was so soft. And there was always a bowl of food that I could trot to and from whenever I wanted. Now I just scarf down whatever they bring me, whenever they remember. And sometimes my own feces. Sometimes those are my meals, when they forget. But the old days were promising indeed. I wasn’t on a chain then. I had a fancy collar and tags that jingled when I walked. I held my tail high when they walked me multiple times a day, and I visited every stranger who was filled with kind words and pets and cuddles. Those were the days.
But they didn’t last. Nothing good lasts. That’s what I’ve learned. I don’t know why I ended up out here on this chain. It wasn’t long after I got here that the promise ended and the nightmare began. Round and round I go, when I’ll stop, nobody knows.
I lie down, tired of the endless pacing. Tired of the endless life. Tired of the chain and the heat and the cold and the snow and the rain and the wind and the days that go into oblivion. I sigh and put my head between my paws. My nails hurt. They’ve grown out too far. Too far. They’re curling back on themselves now. I try to keep pacing to file them down, but the track that I have made is only earth, not strong enough to file them away, and I have long since chewed up all the rocks. The rocks. They were fun. At least that was something to do. I miss the rocks.
Over the years I have been attacked several times by roaming dogs. One wanted his way with me when I was not ready. He left me here, bleeding, and took me anyway. I didn’t have puppies. Not that time. One time, I did. And I loved them, their small bodies keeping me warm, giving me something to do. I would lick each one over and over while they kneaded my stomach with their paws. But then they too were taken away. Like the rocks that I chewed. One day they were here. The next they were not.
Children throw stones at me sometimes. At first I growled and lunged and tried to make them stop. Now, I just wait for them to be finished and hope some of the stones land within my track, so I have something to chew on once more.
In the first days, I thought this would be temporary. I howled and cried and waited for my people to come bring me back into the house with my bed. Ah, my bed. I get up again and stretch.
Round and round I go, when I’ll stop, nobody knows.
Everything frightens me. I used to be proud. To be confident. To hold my tail high while my tags jingled. I can’t remember the last time I touched the people. I did in the beginning. When they would come to feed me, I would run up to them with my tail wagging, stupid, naïve me, and lick them, paw at them, pleading with them to let me come back into the house with my bed. Ah, my bed. I lie down again, thinking about it.
But now? Oh now. I can’t look at them, I won’t, I don’t, I can’t, I won’t. They come with the food and the water, and I wait for them to leave despite the fact that I am lonely and thirsty and hungry and just want to go back inside to my bed. Ah, my bed. I know though, that they will not take me. So I wait for them to leave and then gobble up the food and suck in the water. And then the smell of the dust and the puss greet me once more. Here I am, alone on my chain.
I get up again. Round and round I go, when I’ll stop nobody knows. What’s that? Oh, a car. A door. Familiar sounds. A voice. Unfamiliar. I stop. Miraculous. I stop. I let out a high pitched bark, surprised at myself. I stopped! I cry. Voices. Familiar. Anger. Familiar. Then the unfamiliar voice. Stern. A crackling voice with a high pitched whine behind it. Unfamiliar. A smell. Leather. Familiar, but old, from the inside days with my bed. Ah, my bed. I cock my head and listen and try to breathe past the dust.
The voices come closer, the angry and the unfamiliar. I tuck my body down and hide. The unfamiliar voice belongs to a man, dressed in stiff, fresh smelling clothes. I watch him from the corner of my eye. I tongue flick. I hide. But there is nowhere to go on this chain. The man kneels down and makes noises at me. I stay where I am, crouched. Unfamiliar. Is this a trick?
The man looks at the people with the familiar voices. Anger. Familiar. He stands up quickly, and I shudder and try to throw myself further into the dirt. More voices. More anger. More familiarity.
And then the unfamiliar man comes closer, and I curl back my teeth and snarl. He kneels down, holds out a hand. I urinate. Then slowly, ever so slowly, he starts to creep forward, still kneeling. Frantically, I dart my head back and forth, but there is nowhere to go on this chain. I growl again. He stops. Success. I understand how the unfamiliar man works now. He moves again. I growl. He stops. Step. Growl. Stop. But before I know it I have led him right to me, and he slips a rope around my neck. I struggle as it tightens. I struggle harder. It tightens more. Then I stop and lie there, growling and licking and hoping it will be over soon. I close my eyes.
When I open them, the chain is gone. Startled, I look at the unfamiliar man. His voice is quiet and soft. Unfamiliar. I stare at him, my eyes trembling along with the rest of my body. Promise. My bed. Ah, my bed. Rocks. Puppies. Unfamiliar.
And then the man took me away, and I found freedom. I have a bed again, a warm, soft, cozy bed, and people like the man who have voices that are no longer unfamiliar. In the sound I recognize kindness. I go on walks many, many times a day, but there is no chain, there is only a harness that goes around my body which doesn’t scare me as much. New people still frighten me, but I am learning to remember the promise from my old days, where people meant cuddles and kisses and kindness. I get fed three times a day and sometimes even get pieces of meat from my new humans’ plates. I no longer smell like dirt and puss, but like grass and leather from the couch. It’s funny to me that I ever found rocks appealing, now that I have tennis balls to play with. And I swim! The feel of the water around my legs as I pump to go after my ball has no equal.
I am free, I am flying, I am found. I no longer have to go round and round.