Those first few days at his new home were a blur. He learned many things.
1. That he was to hate baths for the rest of his life.
2. Food taste better at homes.
3. That just because someone looks just like a giant brown version of you, it doesn’t mean she’s nice.
For the first time since he could remember, he was comfy. Which was short for comfortable, or so he was told by the crooning woman who said she was his Mom. He liked comfy and comfortable. It had beds and couches and blankets and laps. It didn’t have feces, urine or wire cage bottoms. He was laying beside his Mom, the line of his body pressed against the warmth of her, staring into the eyes of Death. Death named Murcie. She was sitting next to Dad, beady eyes staring at me. She confused me. They called her Murcie and she told me to call her Death.
“So…Death. Pretty cool we’re both boxers, right?” Mom and Dad loved boxers. Which is what he found out he was. He was a brindle boxer and Murc-Death was a Flashy Fawn boxer. Turned out that all those dogs at the puppy store had different names too. He sniffled, letting out a cough that wracked his tiny body. It elicited a warm hand to fall along his body. He licked his nose, then his paws.
Murcie huffed, lifting her head, ears perked as she looked away and pretended not to be interested in what he was saying. “You realized you’re not a boxer right?” Her voice was haughty.
He stopped licking his paw, forgetting why he started in the first place. “What?”
“Seriously? Look in the mirror. We don’t look the same.” She cut her eyes down toward me. I looked up at Mom. She crooned something at me, the hand stroking again.
“Of course I am…they said we’re the same.”
“No. I am a boxer. From the Tree-Climbers Family. You are a sick mutt they got out of a store.”
He was still skeptical. Something in the way her eyes shone, like she was some sort of predator, ready to catch me unaware. “But we look the same.”
“No we don’t.” Her voice was patient and patronizing. She stood up so suddenly that I jumped up too. She shook her body vigorously and jumped off with a grace that he could only envy. He waddled over the blankets and stood at the edge of where she disappeared. He had no clue how she just threw her body off of the side with no regard for her own life. He couldn’t even see her anymore and for a moment he started to worry that she was swallowed. Swallowed by some monster just over the edge. He shifted, walking a few paces over, but it all looked the same. “Just jump.” Contempt now, her disembodied voice was perhaps more scary than the open expanse in front of him.
He started to whine. He couldn’t help it.
“I just took him out.” Dad’s deep rumbly voice came from behind him.
“He just wants down. He’s been following Murcie around like crazy.” Mom’s voice, then he felt a hand under him, a sick feeling that made his head spin and his feet were on the carpet.
Any feelings of fear disappeared instantly, the world looked brighter and more normal. Murcie was sitting proud and regal in front of him. He got excited, seeing her. Something made him want to jump on her. His nub started ticking.
She seemed unfazed. “Look behind me.” Walking closer, as he moved behind her, she turned with him, so that she was nearly straddling him. He saw another dog! No! Two dogs! Staring at them. He barked, and it started barking back at him. Excited, he padded up to it only to be stopped sharply by a knock on the nose. He sat back on his haunches, confused. The larger boxer in front of him looked amused, tongue hanging out of her mouth.
“Had to let you do it. It’s not another dog. It’s you, and me. Look at us.”
He wasn’t really sure what she was talking about, but he didn’t argue. He looked. “See any differences?” He started to pant, excited again. A game?
“No. Ears, eyes, noses. Nubs. We’re all there.” She seemed impatient again.
“Our noses. Mine is short and yours is long. We’re not the same.” He looked at his nose, looked at her nose. She was crazy. They were almost identical in every way – boxers, siblings.
“No it’s not.” He panted, mouth open wide, grinning.
Exasperated, she let out a low, frustrated growl then hopped off. Turning his head, he watched her until she disappeared, then turned, suddenly hungry. Oh! It’s another puppy! His nub is wagging! He started barking.