I am born
The puppies keep popping out, until the runt arrives.
The mother licks them all, keeps them safe, but the runt struggles, shunted aside, unable to push through for milk.
I am a sucker for the underdog so I help him. After weeks of watching, assisting, I can hardly walk away now. Rather than let the runt struggle I decide to take it home with me.
He may be small, but he is tough, tenacious.
I know the owner mind, she doesn’t want them anyway. But I do, a fighter like that, well, he will be a great guard dog.
I love her
I love her. She makes me happy. She walks along the river with me.
I look up to her. When she comes home I want to call out to her. Beckon her forward into a close embrace.
She loves me. She feeds me. Cleans me. Let’s me lay on her cold feet to warm them up.
She is my leader. My confidant. She talks and I listen. And I feel wonderful when she gives me attention.
I miss her when she is gone and I feel fulfilled when she is here.
So much so, that my tail won’t stop wagging.
My sweet leader is gone.
She cared and loved me.
But now, there is only him. The kicker, the yeller, the abuser.
I spend more time outside now, on the chain, with dirty water and little food.
He wants me to scare people, to menace them.
I can’t fail.
He wants me angry, to hate, to push everyone away.
I want to protect, I want a pack. A reason to protect.
Why do I menace everyone?
I want to care for them, protect them, not to scare them.
But I have to be mean, or the abuser will beat me.
Oh, to run through the paddocks.
To pounce and leap, bound after the rabbits through overlong grass.
Feeling my muscles stretch, to push strongly forward.
But it is a dream.
I look down the chain. Restricting my run, my distance. If I run I am stopped when the chain stops.
I have a job to do. To cause fear in the intruders. To bark with ferocity, making children wide eyed, and adults wary of approach.
It is my job.
I want to be stroked and held. To feel affection. Be connected to a pack.
But I am here to guard.
The flies get into my ears, regardless of how often I twitch them. They surround my eyes, drinking from their edges, ignoring the blinks. They dance around the edge of my mouth, irritating me with their moving feet.
I am hot. The kennel offers some relief, but the flies, oh the flies.
I am waiting for her. She brings water and food, releases me from my chain. Then I get a hug before I take off for a game of hide and seek.
But before I know it, she is gone, and the flies, oh those horrible flies.
I can’t see who approaches in the dark. I bark but she keeps approaching.
I am stretching the chain so hard my front legs lift, it helps me look big, feel strong, but I am fearful.
Nobody keeps coming, nobody comes close.
I increase my fear, embolden my anger at the approach, but she keeps coming.
What is wrong with her?
I don’t want to bite her, but I will. I have too.
She is close.
“Sammy, it is me” she whispers.
I keep barking, surely a trick.
She shines the light on her face.
It is her, my love.
The Fear Stays
I growl without reason now.
She places the food in a bowl, shifts it closer using a stick. I can’t blame her, I still try to bite.
I watch her while I eat. She still has the stick; will she use it?
She sits on the edge of reach. Every day, she begs me closer, hand outreached, ready to stroke my head.
Gently. A caress.
I long for it. Yet I growl. Bare my teeth each time. And her hand beckons me forward.
I want the caress. I move closer, head down, shifting slowly.
Her hand moves, touches me.