A loud thud. The door. Intruder alert. BARK BARK BARK! Who is there? No worries I got this. I will protect my humans from bad men. BARK BARK GROWL BARK BARK!
Bro comes out of his room, calls out my name and says something I can't quite understand. I'm not quite fluent in Human yet. He hoists me in his arms as he opens the door and I brace myself to attack but there's nobody there. Shucks! Was I dreaming again?
I look outside the window. Getting lighter. Almost sunrise. And that means it's almost walk time with bro. HOWL to indicate pleasure.
Bro calls my name. It's time. Intense tail wagging. I trot and skip outside. Outside is the best. I love outside. Oh there's the mechanical hound with wheels. I pull bro towards it. Lift my hind leg and let go and pee. Best feeling ever. I pull bro outside the gate but in the distance I see them. The strays. They hate me. They're jealous of me. They want to hurt me. And I'm scared. I am small. They're big. Bro lifts me in his arms as we go past them. But I'm almost an adult now. I have an ego. I want to fight. I struggle to be free. But bro is strong. I struggle and struggle and violently shake my torso and flail my paws and I accidentally hit bro in the eye which was an accident and I hope he is okay but he loses his grip and I fall down and I break out of the leash and I am ready to fight. But I turn around to see four more of them and I think this might have been a bad idea. So I run. Run fast without looking back. Run. Run. Run.
I think I lost them. Look back to see nobody chasing me. Relief. Wait. Panic. Where am I? Where is bro? Where am I? Crap. Crap. Crap. Big city small me I am lost. Crap. Who will feed me now? Water? Well at least I can walk freely whenever I want. Silver lining I guess. But food. Sigh.
The ball of fire in the sky is on right on top and I'm exhausted. And thirsty. And famished. I trudge along slowly on a sidewalk sniffing all the way in hopes of some olfactory clues. Look up and uh oh. It's him. The leader of the stray gang. He sees me. He's walking towards me. I slowly try to moonwalk my way out of there but it's too late. They're everywhere. The gang has surrounded me, revolving around me like a pack of ravenous hyenas just waiting to pounce.
This is it. This is how I go. Not like this! I haven't even mated yet.
One of them advances, I surrender. Lie down on the floor. I'm at their mercy. "Just make it quick please", I announce to no one who was listening. I close my eyes. I smell his garbage breath next to my neck. This is it.
"Wait, where is his leash?" One of them says. I slowly open my eyes, stammering, "I- I lost it. I'm lost. I'm no longer a house pet. I belong to the streets now." I can feel the hostility dissolve from their faces. What is happening?
"Follow me", said the leader. I do. They introduce themselves. Jim, the big grey bulldog was the leader. Jen, the brown coat with black splotches German Shepherd, the second in command. Troy and Abed the young indies, adopted by Jim and Jen, were the goons.
They take me to a temple, outside which there was a big bowl filled with water. "Go on, drink it", says Jen the German Shepherd. I hesitate because it doesn't seem very clean. "Better get used to it", she says. "Ain't no water purifiers out here."
"How do we get food?" I ask. "Who gives it to us?" I ask. Jim and Jen look at each other and smile as if to patronise me. "Nobody gives us food, kid. We take it."
We start pillaging houses. Jim and Jen stealing food from the kitchen while Troy and Abed were the chaos agents causing distraction.
"Here you go kid. Eat this. It's called chicken", says Jen. It smells good. I eat it. O my sweet mericful Lord! Hallelujah! It's like Christmas in my mouth. Wow, my vegetarian human family really deprived me of this heavenly delicacy. I really don't need them anymore. I belong to the streets now.
Full bellied. Satiated. Blissful, as I laid flat on my belly, swimming in the tasty drowsiness that comes after a day of doing something you've never done before. That's when I hear it. My ears perk up. Sirens. I don't know much about anything but I do know that sirens can never be good for street gangs. And sure enough. It was a white truck, on top of which it said ANIMAL CONTROL in big letters.
This is it. Of course, my freedom had to last just one day. The guys told me that it is better to surrender than rebel. "These fellas have guns, we don't want none of us shot", said Troy. So we stayed there, finishing the leftover chicken while we could, when Jim put his paw on my back and said, "you can't come with us. You're a rare one. They'll sell you through black markets, force you to breed, and then probably kill you after you're useless."
I was scared. But I was adamant. I didn't want to leave my friends. I didn't want to be saved. I said, "No. I am coming with you." Jim smiled at me, looked at Jen and gave her a slight nod. Jen advanced towards me, the sound of sirens growing louder and louder, and she kicked me in my belly as I fell backwards into the open manhole into darkness. "Follow your nose, kid!" The sound of Jen's echo overshadowed by the deafening sounds of sirens.
Sigh. They'll be alright. Follow my nose. Right. All I can smell is literal crap. Great. I trot ahead aimlessly in the filth, thinking about the crazy day I've just had. I could've been at home, destroying a pillow or something and troubling the humans. Ah, the good old days.
I keep walking. My eyes closing. Legs trembling. I can't keep going. I fall down. Exhausted. Asleep.
I dream about the humans. I'm a king. Everybody loves me. I get food and water at will. I sleep on my own soft comfy bed. I wake up to the smell of bro sleeping beside me, trapped under his giant of an arm.
I wake up to the smell of bro. Wait, what? Am I still dreaming? Follow your nose. Jen's words bouncing around in my head. I gallop towards it. Getting closer. Almost there. I see the light. I'm in a gutter. I look around. It looks familiar. I hop out. And there he is. Sitting on the curb, head in hands, with my favourite treats.
BARK BARK BARK!
We run towards each other. Almost in slow motion like in the moving pictures. I jump, he catches me. I'm filthy. He doesn't care. He's crying. I'm howling.
I know now I can survive. In the streets, in the wild. I will forever be grateful to Jim the bulldog, Jen the German Shepherd, Troy and Jeff the indies. I hope they're okay.
I'm home. In bro's arms. Nowhere else I'd rather be. What a day.