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The snow melted and our way of life changed. The Misses moved from house-work to yard-work and I, from the 2500 square feet of home to an infinite landscape of life bound only by the mood of whoever let me out. Under the snow a heavenly pasture rested waiting to be exposed and revived by the spring sun. The scent of other animals began to fill my nose triggering some instinctual aggression, a need to protect the ones I loved; my life had meaning if only for a short while.
She was weeding, saving botanical refugees from their dandelion aggressors. A sun hat, rubber fingered gardening gloves, and her son’s retired boots protected her as she policed the vegetation, sparing the delicate defenseless flowers and damning the weeds that threaten their process; a silent assassin. The obligatory desire to protect The Misses, note every living being, and judge their intentions began to consume me. Noticing my irritation she gave me a snack, told me to relax, and gave me a good rub. But my mind raced; after all, I was off the leash that day.
The man of the house, he was gone for a while. He left when we started in the backyard after breakfast and now as the sun made its retreat and the temperature dropped he was still nowhere to be found. Although they worked on different aspects of home improvement there was a silent agreement that made his work complement hers as if they had some master plan written out. He was tending to the residents of the well that stood among the tulips. The well’s bucket provided shelter from the world and proved to be a beacon of hope reserved for the youngest plants in need of intensive care. He was their gentle paramedic.
I wanted her to feel safer with me around. My size couldn’t scare of anything but I had the sharpest teeth. At the Christmas party a younger attendee tried to have a little tussle with me, I was game, and gave his soft toddler hands a little display of my defense skills. During the demonstration he accidently cut his finger the edge of my tooth. Everyone took it the wrong way, but I liked the thought of them knowing I could inflect damage if necessary. Around the house I thought of myself as a guardian, a natural born defense mechanism. Maybe that’s why I was off the leash; The Misses knew she needed my services.
I saw an animal standing there far across the cul-de-sac in an unfamiliar territory. As it stared at me I felt my entire body tense up, nothing else mattered beside that animals next couple of steps. All of the sudden the man arrived stepping out his vehicle carrying a bag and 2 buckets of paint, his arms were full and the misses left her post to help him. Now I had both the people I loved equidistant from a possible killer across the way, so I took off. The animal came running towards them and I knew it was my judgment day, my destiny. The misses and the man were screaming and yelling for my retreat, but I was in a dead sprint and it was just too late. As I drew near I got a sinking feeling as I realized the beast was but a mere squirrel, in my confusion I slowed to a fast jog, and then time stopped. I believed with every fiber in my body that a terrific danger was present, and that this was my time to do or die. Then it hit me. In the edge of my peripherals I made out a humongous beast. The squirrel must have been a distraction to lure me away and game home field advantage. Everything my family taught me about protecting those that in need lead up to that moment.
When the beast struck me I went flying off to the side, I heard the sound of a thousand bones crack and felt my body go limp as it bounced along the pavement like a rag doll throw away by an unsatisfied toddler. Unable to move, devoid of pain, head was pointing at the great creature, I lay. It was stopped slightly past were we collided, a woman then ran from its defeated corpse. I knew I saved my family, the creature was motionless. As I slipped into peaceful death, the misses ran to my side, she was weeping, I could taste her tears as she picked me up and cradled my shattered frame. I wanted to tell her not to cry, it was my destiny to protect her from the beast, just as she protected the beauty of the garden. When he arrived next, he gave his final farewell. I knew he was trying not to cry; he understood what I had done, he knew the sacrifice I made. In a silent pact similar to his vow of congruency with the misses, he agreed to keep watch over all the helpless little plants and give them the second chance I could not enjoy. Then as my soul began to drip from my body I knew no fear, for The Misses had told me once, all dogs go to heaven.





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