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I'll Wait For You
Dogs barked at the excitement as I passed each of their cages. The place smelled of kibble and smelly dogs but I was used to it now. I unlocked one lucky one, free to go to a new and better place with a loving family. I sighed as I took the leash from the owner and attached it to Riley’s collar. He was a small chocolate brown dachshund with only three legs.
“I’m going to miss you buddy.” I said and gave him over to the kid. I was so happy when each one of them left, seeing that they would have a better life. I wanted to cry but I didn’t. I returned to the other dogs to feed them. As I scooped kibble into each of their bowls, each pellet hit the bowl with a loud clunk, they immediately started digging in like wild animals. I reached the very last dog, which lived at the very end of the hall, all alone. His name was Spike.
Spike first came in when I was just starting to work at the pound. He wasn’t in the best condition, he’d been in a fire and drenched with gasoline, then almost eaten by other stray dogs. I look at him now, all lonely and weak.
“Hey buddy,” I said, stroking his head. “you hungry?”
He just looked at me.
“Ok, I’ll just leave your food here until you’re ready.”
In truth, Spike was getting old and he wasn’t expected to survive any longer. It would be one more week until they would bring people in to put him down. That’s all he had left, one week to live.
Later on in the day, a mother came in, eyes puffy and red. She came up to me and explained that she wanted a dog for her dying son, who had cancer. I offered her my sympathy and showed her a couple of dogs, small hyper ones. She denied them all.
The she came up to Spike. “I want this one.”
I didn’t dare protest. “Ok but he’s an old dog.”
Spike left this place limping slowly. He looked back at me one more time and limped on. My eyes began tear up. I knew it wouldn’t be long until he would go as well.
“Goodbye old friend.” I whispered.
The next day, the mother came by again, without Spike. Once she came in, she burst into tears. I tried my best to comfort her. She explained to me that her son, Michael had died early in the night, in his sleep, Spike curled up with him. They had both died at the same time, peacefully, with each other. She left after telling me this.
I’d thought about what she said. Maybe it was one of those coincidences, were everything works out or maybe it was faith. Michael and Spike were dying slowly, but maybe they were waiting to find each other to die, waiting to take a long journey together, boy and dog.