The Other Dogs

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic

An old dog first looses her hearing, then her master. She deals with loneliness, abandonment and finally a new home where she meets ‘The Other Dogs.’

THE OTHER DOGS


Emma, the little black dachshund woke from her nap into the silence that was her life. She could see the dogs leap from their perches on the armchair and run barking outside. Sometimes Emma followed, sometimes she just lay back down. She didn’t know their names, just their smells. But that was fine. She was content. 
It hadn’t always been this way. In the beginning there was sound, and Vic and Sarah. They told her she was a good girl and called fetch when they threw her ball. She loved to stand on Vic’s lap in the car. He rolled down the window on sunny days, and she stuck her head out and let her ears flap in the wind, smelling the world as Vic drove through it.
“Careful not to fall out,” he’d say, and brace her body with his arm. Vic would never let that happen. She trusted him. He was so big. A giant. So was Sarah, but they were gentle, and she knew they would never hurt her.
Emma knew something was different when Vic and Sarah stopped taking her for walks. They looked tired, and Sarah quit sitting in her chair. She stayed in bed, and Vic cooked for her, and helped her walk to the bathroom. Emma knew she must stay out of the way, that Sarah could fall. So, Emma did. Sometimes, she would stand against Sarah’s bed and she would lift Emma, so they could lay together. Or, she’d jump into Vic’s lap as he watched television. But it wasn’t the same.
One day Vic lifted her onto Sarah’s bed. Emma looked up into her face, it was different, and Sarah started crying. When Sarah hugged her, Sarah’s arms felt thin and weak. Emma tried to lick away her tears, but they just came faster. That was the last time she saw Sarah. There were days after that strangers came to feed Emma. She was lonely.
It must have happened slowly. Emma didn’t notice at first. Her world was so small, the yard, her bed, sometimes Vic’s lap. He never drove the car anymore, and Emma never felt the wind in her face. One day everything was silent. After that it was gentle nudges, and soft strokes if Vic wanted her to do something.  But that was ok. Emma was just happy to be with him.
One day Vic opened the door to a woman. Emma picked up her ball and dropped it at the woman’s feet. The woman smiled and tossed it. She did this a few times and stroked Emma’s fur. Emma liked the woman. She came everyday and would toss the ball. One day she stayed. 
Men came with a bed. They moved Vic and Sarah’s chairs and put Vic into it. The woman let Emma sit in her lap. Sometimes, she’d let her lay with Vic, but all he did was sleep.
One day the woman had tears in her eyes. She hugged Emma, set her on Vic’s chest and stroked her. Vic felt funny. The woman cried, and Emma blinked. Men filled the room, and Vic and the bed were gone. There was only the woman and her. Emma stayed with the woman a while, but it was different. Then the woman took her to another place. She hugged Emma and cried and walked away.
Emma wasn’t scared, but she didn’t know anybody. There were other dogs. She learned their smells and slept on a blanket in a wire cage. After many days the cage was opened. Emma was carried to a grassy yard, there was a man and a lady, and another dog. Emma sniffed them, they petted her, and they threw the ball. They petted her some more, and the lady lifted and hugged her and took her away. She let Emma sit on her lap as the man drove, but he didn’t roll down the window.
That was the last move Emma made. She watched the dogs as they jumped off the armchair and ran to bark in the backyard. She was tired most of the time. Her stomach hurt, and she couldn’t see like she used to. Emma still liked to go for rides, and the man let her stick her head out the window. She felt his arm brace her, so she didn’t go too far. Her ears flapped in the wind, and she smelled the world as the man drove through it.

Emma walked through the doggy door into the backyard. She dreaded going to the bathroom. It was so painful, it made her shake, sometimes she vomited.
“Are you alright?” 
Emma jumped. She hadn’t heard a voice in years. There was no one around her, and her nose told her there was nobody there. Uncertainty filled her as she walked back into the house and burrowed under the blankets. Food didn’t taste good, and the lady took her to a building that smelled funny. They poked her. Emma shivered, and watched a woman’s lips move. Then her lady started to cry.
Even special food didn’t taste good, and her stomach felt raw inside. Emma heard the disconnected voices every time she went to the backyard. There were three of them. They told her things would be ok. They told her they were waiting for her. They told her she would be with them soon. The rest of the time Emma’s world was silent and grew smaller. Her bed, the water bowl, a few steps out the doggy door. 
Emma couldn’t get up. She wanted to, but her legs were too weak. The man petted her and cried. He left and came back with the lady. She cried too. Emma blinked as the world went by. She was in the car, but she couldn’t poke her head outside. The lady hugged her and stroked her fur. Then Emma was in the funny smelling building again. As she lay on a metal table, Emma heard the lady and man’s voices for the first time. 
“We love you Emma,” they said. “Thank you for being such a good dog.” They patted her side and cried.
Emma lifted her head, she felt so tired. Something poked her.

Emma opened her eyes and saw three dogs staring at her. “Hi Emma, do you remember us?”
“Not really,” she replied.  “But I’ve heard your voices before.”  Emma looked around and noticed she was in the backyard. She saw the dogs from the house explode out the doggy door and bark at the fence. 
Emma looked at the two red, and one black and tan dachshunds gathered around her. “Who are you?”
“We’re the other dogs.”
“The other dogs?” Emma repeated.
“Yes, we’re the ones that talked to you. You’re one of us now.”
“I’m one of you?”
They all nodded. “All dogs that are loved never go away. We just wait for our people to come and get us.” All three dachshunds turned to the gate. 
Emma jumped to her feet and ran barking as Vic and Sarah walked to the gate and opened it. She jumped into Vic’s arms, and he hugged and kissed her while Sarah stroked her fur. 
“Look Emma,” Sarah pulled a ball from her pocket. “Come on girl.  We’ve been waiting for you for such a long time. Let’s go play.”

 


Submitted: February 16, 2019

© Copyright 2022 Mark Ready. All rights reserved.

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