It was a very warm, pleasant sunny day, but to me it felt cold, wet and unfamiliar. What I thought began as a pleasant drive to the country to visit relatives ended in a dark, cold facility. I only assumed that because all my belongings were packed up we were going someplace fun, interesting and engaging. The woman, the one I call my mother, even packed up my travel bag. We went to the country all right, but it was not like visiting family. It was confinement. This man took my belongings and put them in a 14' by 4' cell while She filled out papers. I was curious to know what was going on and somewhat excited at first for what seemed like my new adventure. Until, he picked up, put me in the cell and shut the cage door. The dogs around me were howling their sentiments. I was warned by the black lab next to me to watch out for Charlie, the fat beagle. "He's trouble." As far as I'm concerned, all loud dogs are trouble despite their height and weight. I hoped this was temporary, but it wasn't. The man and She walked by my cage. I tried to poke my head out between the wall and the cage bars, but the opening was too small. I tried whimpering to get her attention. "I just want to go home," I cried. She walked past me as if she didn't see me. My senses told me she was depressed. I wondered what this all meant. For the first day I tried to feign mental illness. If it worked for Paris Hilton, than it should work on me too, right? Although, at the time of this publishing she's back in jail.
At night it got dark and cold. Some of the other cell mates quieted down. Others, like fat Charlie continued to howl as if a pack of coyotes would hear him and break him out. I didn't think it was possible to hate a dog so much. Unfortunately, the boxer across from me was young and inexperienced. She didn't deserve to be here either.
Morning finally came and I received my food and water. The man also opened this door on the back end of my cell. Could this be my escape opportunity? I thought. It was a larger outdoor cage, called a run. I wasn't sure what to think. I ran outside quickly, scoped out the place and ran back inside my original cell. Decidedly, I liked it better out in the warm sunshine, where it was bright, where I didn't have to remember I was confined. I jumped through the door back into the warm sunshine and laid down on the brick covered floor where I let the suns rays beat down on me. I wondered how long I would be here and where my parent's were and what they were doing. I only hoped it was worth it for them to leave me. I hoped they wouldn't forget me because I wasn't going to forget them. They were my humans and I am their dog. I began to wonder what I would do if they never came back. Could I get used to my five minute walks, and my 14' by 4' cell? Sure, it's no king size bed or a trip to a dog park.
As I laid there pondering this new journey in my life, I noticed that in between the cracks in the brick were green weeds and grass. I sat up, stretched and shook my body to re-energize myself before I went to check it out. I sniffed the grass and tasted it. It wasn't bad so I ate more. I noticed there was more green forage growing in between the brick's cracks. I ate more, but decided to save the rest for later. I could never be sure how long I would be there or how quickly it would grow back.
I quietly padded around in the run until I saw a boy. My hopeful brown eyes gazed upon him as he approached me. I wiggled my brown curly tail, "are you going to play with me? Please let me out. Let's go for a walk," I called. He stopped by the door, faltered and walked away.
I didn't know what to do. I was instantly hit with a rush of emotions. I was angry for being left here, sad because I was lonely, excited because I thought this boy would play with me, relieved because I didn't want to be taken out only to be confined again, depressed because I didn't know what I wanted or what I should do.
I cried and barked instantaneously. Then I saw the boy again. I jumped up against the door like a mad dog, desperate for attention. Then I saw my blue, braided rope dog. He didn't ignore me, he went to get my toy, I realized. We played for a good 15 minutes.
After he left, I trotted to the corner of the run where I slumped down on the ground and laid there. The sun was beginning to set and the evening was getting cooler. It wasn't long after, when I was ushered back inside and the door to the outdoor world was shut behind me.
I lapped up what was left of my water and walked into my crate, the only familiar place in this whole facility. I circled on my bed, patting it down so I could lay. Finally curled up on my bed, I fell asleep and dreamt of the dog park.
Three more nights went by. The days were pretty much the same. Fat Charlie wouldn't stop his howling, but the black lab was no longer there. I spent most of the days enjoying the outside. But something about this day was different. The man came to the front of my cell, put on my halter and leash and packed up my bags. I was scared because I didn't know where we were going. But mostly, I was excited because I knew they came back for me. We walked through the door and there She was!
I was so happy I didn't know what to do. I chastised her with barks and whimpers for leaving me, but I wiggled and jumped my way to her. We dogs are a forgiving species. We are too trusting in the fact that we know our humans will return to us and even if they don't we are always happy to show our love to the next family that picks us up. I was lucky because it was mine.
I sat on Mommy's lap the whole ride home. I sat tall and proud, leaned my head against her shoulder, closed my eyes and lifted my head and looked at her sharing my warm, doggy breath till we got home. It was great to be going home.
When I got home, I greeted Daddy much the same way as I greeted Mommy, just without the chastising. I'm sure he had nothing to do with this. We all played and chased each other around the house. Mommy and I went for a nice long walk.
That evening, after playing and watching TV, we collapsed in the king size bed. It was good to be home and be a family again. After saying our goodnights, we shut off the lights and I languidly spread myself on my body pillow and went to sleep.
I won't dream about the boarding facility, but it did make me really appreciate my family. But, I know that they love me and they will always come back for me. Because they are my humans and I am their dog.