"The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven, not man's." – Mark Twain, Letter to W D Howells, 4/2/1899

Hope.


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I was lonely and I’d almost given up.

Dogs aren’t meant to live alone.

I remember being in the litter with my whole family, but now, there was just me.

My owner bought me to ‘protect the place’.

I don’t mind. I like protecting stuff, but as time went by I saw my owner less and less. Some days he forgot to bring me some food. I did my job. I barked every time someone got close to the yard. I could have done a better job if I hadn’t been chained up, but I did the best I could under the circumstances.

I had a little house to sleep in, but it did get very cold at night, but as my mum used to say to me, “If you are lucky enough to find an owner, find out what job he wants you to do and do it as well as you can.”

I tried very hard, but I was lonely and hungry most of the time. Sometimes my water bowl ran out of water. That was very unpleasant. In the winter, there were always puddles to drink out of but the summer could be brutal.

All that was before Sally moved in next door. I know her name is Sally because she told me so.

“Hi doggie, my name is Sally and there is nothing to be frightened about.”

I wasn’t frightened and my name wasn’t ‘doggie’ but there was something about this human that I liked. She smelled good.

I barked at her a bit because it was my job, but she knew my heart wasn’t in it.

She was very gentle and she seemed to understand my language. She approached me ‘side on’ just like dogs do when they want you to know that they mean no harm. I let her scratch behind my ears. No one had done that for a very long time.

Sometimes, after she finished her work, she would come and sit with me and tell me about her day.

Her boss was an arsehole, apparently, and he did not appreciate her.

She had a boyfriend and he was a lot better than the boyfriends she had had in the past. I was looking forward to meeting him, but she said he was afraid of dogs.

She said that he would come around; that he would learn to love and understand dogs.

She said that she hoped that he would ask her to marry him and if he did she would move in with him. This worried me a bit but then she said that if he did propose she would borrow his bolt cutters, jump the fence and cut me loose. I would become her dog. I liked the sound of that.

He might ask her to marry him and he might not, I will just have to wait and see. But, in the meantime, I’m here, eating my dinner in the rain, protected by Sally’s umbrella.

Dogs don’t hope, but if they did, they would hope for an owner like Sally.

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