Personal Story – The Early Times
He doesn’t remember too much about the early weeks of his life. He remembers the competition for food, the sparse contact of his siblings and the warmth provided by the group. Just as he was getting to know all of the other little bodies that he had been with constantly since his arrival into this world (and even before, in the darkness), he was swept away, never to see them again. It was perhaps just as well. He figured that they were secretly planning his demise. Death by suffocation perhaps? He wasn’t keen on sticking around to find out.
He was thrown in with another group entirely. This new place was loud and bright and had so much going on that he could scarecely keep it all straight. Gentle hands held him close to a warm body but it didn’t last long. He was plunked down into a cold, smelly, hard cage. Blinking, he took a moment to evaluate his surroundings. A strong, bitter smell over-powered the scent from the last puppy that was in this place. He couldn’t readily identify exactly what the last inhabitant was. Chubby legs propelled him forward slightly and his wet nose wiggled as he investigated his new, small home. A small dish held water that smelled equally bitter. Next, the food. Oh, how his mouth watered. He made short work of the bowl, even though the little lumps of food were a bit big for his smaller mouth.
The entire time he was set about investigating, sounds were going on all around him. He didn’t know exactly what all the fuss was about. All of the other puppies were crying out, climbing over themselves and generally creating chaos. He turned around a few times, relieved himself and then curled into a small ball, resting his head on his small paws.
“Feed meeee!” Said one to the right of him.
“Pick me, pick me, pick me!” Said one to the left.
“This long skinny one stinks, take him first!”
It didn’t take him very long to see what all of the fuss was about. An older puppy to the right of him, large and muscled, told him that if those large, warm people came and liked you enough, you’d go home with them. From that point on, whenever he heard someone speak of this “home,” it was reverently, as though it was something to be cherished. When he asked what exactly “home” was, no one could tell him specifically. Some of the theories though, made him skeptical. A small, fluffy, white puppy across the row said it was a place with unlimited food! But, she was a chubby little thing, and everyone knew you couldn’t trust those little fluffy ones anyway. A larger puppy with a thick brown colored coat below him kept talking about ear scratches. A home filled with ear scratches. Why ever would he want his ears scratched? That sounded down right painful. So, it was no surprise why he wasn’t exactly looking foward to this “home.”
It was hard to make any friends. Just as he would get to know a puppy, they would be whisked off to their new “home.” He was pretty easy-going. There was plenty of food, and even though he was moved around a lot, it wasn’t so bad. These people really didn’t have a respect for privacy. Didn’t matter what he was doing, eating, sleeping, taking a nice poop, he could be pulled out and swung around regardless.
It wasn’t long before life had become somewhat comfortable and he was getting used to the routine of it all. He was starting to think that this whole “home” thing was just something that the younger puppies told themselves to feel better at night when everything was dark and quiet. If it wasn’t for an occasional cough he had picked up, things might just be perfect. He was even getting used to the weird smells and the loneliness of being surrounded by puppies he couldn’t touch.
Over the short amount of time that he had been there, only a handful of people had picked him up. Since he had adopted a strict viewpoint on this whole “home” business, he made it a point to seem as unappealing as possible. Since all of the other puppies were excited, licking and jumping and wagging their little tails, he tried to do the exact opposite. This didn’t always work though. So he knew that he was headed for trouble one day when a large face consumed the entire wall in front of his food bowl. He looked up, annoyed. He barely had time to swallow the bite that was in his mouth before he was pulled out and held close. Giving a huff, he swallowed quickly and prepared to seem as unappealing as possible. He went limp in the hands that held him, refusing to look any of them in the face. A squeal nearly deafened him and he squirmed a little as he was passed from one set of hands to the other.
“Oh my gosh! Look how cute he is!” Another close-up of a face and fingers ran along his neck and back.
“He’s gorgeous! That brindle pattern is so pretty.” He was passed to another set of hands and he put what he hoped was a vacant and glazed look to his eyes.
Yet another set of hands, and large fingers rubbed along his ear. Oooh. That felt kind of good. Must be strong! Must be strong! He felt his resolve slipping. The combination of warmth, and the rumbling before a deeper voice spoke started making him sleepy. “Do you like that, little guy? Look. He likes ear scratches.”
“His nub is wagging!”
What?! He took a stare back at his traitorous stump of a tail that was indeed moving and then tried to make a break for it. There was no way he was going to fall for this set up.
Something significant was happening, he could tell. He stayed in these hands longer than ever, and no matter what he did, wiggled, licked, nibbled, nothing seemed to deter them from petting his body. Despite his previously conceived notions of what a “home” actually was, he was starting to look forward to it and it scared him.
It would be the last time he would ever see the loud, smelly pet store. When they left, they brought him to a small enclosed mobile area that they kept referring to as a car. He rembered it a little from when he was a tiny puppy. By this time, he was freaked out. They were going to take him to this “home” that everyone had spoken about. For better or worse, his fate was sealed. Eyes wide, he sat on the lap of the larger person with the deep voice. He kept scratching his ears but it didn’t seem to help any. Finally, he couldn’t take it any longer, he wasn’t just going to sit there and let whoever these people were take him to whoever knew where. He leapt up, jumped, turned, wriggled and generally tried to break free of the large hands that were holding him.
“Whoah! Enzo. Chill out, dude.” The fingers clumsily tried to keep up with his movements. Any time they would get a respectable hold, he managed to shimmy out of them again. A deep rumbling sound left the chest, and the other person let out a higher pitched, painful sound.
“What’s gotten into him? Poor little guy is acting like we’re taking him to his death.”
Finally, exhausted, he slumped down. Panting, he decided to give up. Whatever these people were going to do to him, there was obviously nothing he could do to thwart them. They had cleverly outsmarted him…for now.
To be continued…