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Oscar learned almost everything that he knew from his mom; how to keep he coat of snow white hair spotted with brow clean; How to find shelter and food in the small park, rarely visited by the humans that lived around it, in the city called New York. Oscar was nearly 6 months old now, still just a puppy. Oscar knew that his mom was old, so on a daily basis he would go out to find them some food, usually the red berries that ran abundant in the small park they called home.
One day, after following his usual trail along the bushes, Oscar arrived home to find it empty. This didn’t worry him at first because she was active most of her life, but an ominous feeling of worry crept through him when she didn’t arrive home by nightfall. He knew that the animal police often came to Central Park in search of stray animals, but it had never really been a reality to Oscar until now. He loved his mom but he just had to face the facts. He lay down to sleep in his home. It was time to live on his own now.
Always one step behind. Trees swept past him. He couldn’t feel his legs anymore. Twigs exploded under the pressure of his dash. What he was chasing, he didn’t know, but he only thing that mattered to him was to keep moving.
He jerked suddenly, and his eyes flashed open. Oscar was suspended in the air. The only thing between him and the 5 foot fall to the ground was net made of course lines, threaded together in a diamond pattern. The clang of metal doors resounded throughout the structure of the van that the people had put him in. Darkness consumed Oscar’s vision. He could hear the whimpering of other animals that the humans must’ve picked up elsewhere.
The van started. Oscar had never been in an automobile of any sort in his life and he didn’t like it. The rumble became increasingly annoying the faster the van went. Soon enough the though, it was over. He felt so lone; so cold. He didn’t understand why this had to happen. He wished he was back at home now, where it was safe. They opened his cage. Oscar was put in a different bag this time, one he couldn’t see through.
His paws felt cold on the metal table. The world seemed hazy and he felt light headed. He vaguely saw the needles being prepared, and when he was injected he didn’t even feel the pain that he had expected. When the operation was said and done, he was given a treat which he saved for later since he was too dizzy to even consider eating at that moment.
Oscar had heard that the Humane Society was a very bad place to go, but to him it seemed like a good thing. They offered him shelter, food, water; they bathed him, and even gave him play time for an hour or two once a day. Every day was a new adventure. He got to meet all sorts of different dogs; some big, some small.
One of the days, a new dog moved into the cage across his. He was anxious to meet her and she even looked familiar, but she only had three legs. She seemed to be asleep for most of the next few days. Oscar got to play with other dogs and things continued as they had before. The fourth day after the other dog had first arrived; she began to be more active, but didn’t make any noise. By the sixth day that had even gone in the playpen outside together. She didn’t say much though.
Then it hit him. That other dog was his mom! She seemed so weak… what had happened to her? When they were let into the playpen, he approached her. He told her about what happened and how lonely he’d been, and the best response she could muster was a lick of affirmation. Over the next week her strength gradually increased to the point where she could walk.
It was Memorial Day, or so he had heard the humans say, and it was going to be a day ingrained in his mind for the rest of his ten or so years. It started in their usual meeting place in the playpen. It was overcast outside as if the sky itself signaled a bad day in New York. Oscar’s mom’s increase in health hadn’t been without a price. He could sense that she had lost the majority of her energy. He wanted to come to terms with her; let her know that he loved her. She licked him in response and they spent the next while together. She licked him one more time goodbye, and then she was carried away. He never saw again and assumed that they had put her down.
Oscar was the next one to go, but rather than being put down by the pound, a cord was tied around his neck and he was given to a family of three; a mother, father, and a young boy. The ride in their minivan was his only his second experience, but he actually enjoyed it. The casual stroll of the vehicle was much less bumpy than that of Humane Society van. They arrived at single story house, fit for a small family. It seemed cozy, and Oscar was excited. He explored that house, thinking about his mom at the same time. In time, he would learn to accept what happened. He and the boy became fast friends and would go on various adventures together. This was a good family, Oscar decided, and he had loved his mom but he also loved these people. A lot of things had changed in the last month. He had never even really encountered a human until being swept away from his home. Now he lived with a group of them. He and the boy were not only partners, but family.