THE FAMILY DOG
Read this story to your kids tonight and let his imagination run "wild" to a place where dogs evolved and evil is always defeated. Halloween is scary but it teaches us things.
It was late when something woke the sleeping dog. The kids had worn him out running around the yard pretending to be goblins and witches.
He had made one last round through the kitchen after checking each bedroom. He was sure no one was up but wait, there it was again! A soft rubbing sound. It seemed to come from behind the fence where his doghouse stood in now-vacant glory. Jeesh! When they had brought him home from the shelter, the first thing Bob did was build that stupid dog house. He had quickly made it known to Bob that he was a house dog and his job was to sleep inside and watch over the family.
Okay, so the “dog house” would’ve been better than the cold floor and the constant wailing in the dog pound. He had spent most of his time curled in the back corner, pretending to sleep but really, thinking about his people, missing them terribly. It had been a good life, then "she" had gotten pregnant and demanded a better house for herself and “the baby.” So the man found them a new place and for a week things were good. He had been excited when they invited him to jump in the car. He rarely got to “go” but loved seeing new places speed by and sometimes they would crack the window so he could feel the wind on his face. When they pulled up at the strange building and he could hear dogs barking like mad, he was apprehensive but they assured him “everything will be alright” so he had walked into the “nice facility” like the “good dog” that he was.
It had been a long two weeks and then Bob, “mom” and “the kids” had stopped right in front of his space. He remembered how the man had knelt down and spoke softly to him. She had been hesitant. It seemed she had her mind set on a little hairy dog but the man said they needed a bigger dog that could romp and play with the kids. They moved on and after watching them for a minute, he laid down in the back corner. But then, they came back to him. The man knelt down again and called to him. He uncurled and went to him. The man scratched his ears through the chain link, the woman tapped her foot, and then the kids pushed up to the fence and he licked their hands. He remembered kids. They were just small people with shrill voices.
They left again and dejected, he went back to his corner. But then, suddenly, the whole human pack was back and the keeper opened his gate and well, that was that. He got to ride in a car again and before long, they had arrived at his new home and things had been swell ever since. They yelled at him for howling when they left him outside but pretty soon, they gave up and let him “sleep inside.” Bob had pointed out that a guard dog should be inside with the family and he thought right then that even though the man had built that stupid dog house, he was really a pretty smart guy. The kids named him Rover and that was okay too.
Wait, there’s that scuffling sound again. Moving quick as a cat (how he hated that term) he slipped out through partially closed patio doors.
There! What???? On the fence, about to jump down into his yard!
Silhouetted against the full moon, it looked like a man but it was ... growling? Yes, growling! He was perched right on top of the fence just where the roof of the dog house (built way too tall to be snug) met the fence. And yes, he was making that low pitched sound that sounded like a growl but was somehow different.
Intrigued, he watched for just a moment and then fearlessly charged across the patio towards the fence. It didn’t occur to him to bark. His ancestors were guard dogs, not watch dogs. Dogs that watch stuff were barkers. His job as he saw it, was to catch any intruder and that meant a swift silent attack!
He skidded to a stop just as the man-thing jumped down, landing only a leash length away from him. They crouched low, ready to spring at each other. Rover’s lips curled back to show the thing he meant business. He exhaled a deep low rumble, enough to end most standoffs. But the thing crouched lower and pointed at him!
Rover had never seen a gun but immediately sensed it was to be feared. For a split second he debated whether to bark to rouse Bob. Just as quickly he dismissed the thought, realizing the woman and the kids would rush outside too. No. He would handle this himself, quietly and with a power he knew was his but which he had never used.
Rover stood taller and taller – and taller. He summoned the ancient eye, sometimes seen in the wolf or sheep dogs but inherent in all his ancestors. He focused on the man-thing, turning his head slightly sideways because he knew the power was concentrated in his left eye.
He projected the image of canis lupus and mankind’s power into the human-thing’s brain. The thing recoiled, then its shoulder slumped and the gun wavered. Rover sent a vision of ancient ages when man first stood upright but with it, he sent an image of the thing's immediate future!
Time ceased. Every cell in his taunt body concentrated energy and eons of ancient power into his gaze. The man-thing staggered back, the gun slipped from his hand, and suddenly it was over!
The personification of man’s inhumanity turned, took a step toward the fence, then in three giant leaps, he was up, over the roof of the doghouse, and – gone.
Rover trembled. He had never done that before. He felt weak all over. Somewhat overcome and drained of energy, he sat back on his haunches. He glanced up at the full moon. He howled.
He proclaimed victory in the only way he knew. And then, in a long quavering note that ascended to the stars, he poured out overwhelming sadness for his wild brethren. For them, it was the end of time because when the ancient power had concentrated time, it had also shown him the future.
He turned and wearily started for the patio door as lights came on upstairs.
The woman scolded him. The man looked at him strangely. Rover just went into the corner and curled up, tucking his nose under the tip of his long tail.
They found the pistol the next morning when Bob went out to water the lawn. She called the police and everyone speculated over how it got there. Later, sipping coffee, the man looked over at Rover and for just a moment, they spoke the same language. The dog’s tail thumped twice.
All was good. He would be on duty tonight just as his ancestors have been for thousands of years.
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