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Ray wagged his tail and nudged his human’s hand but he was just yelled at and sent away, this was his fifth home and he wasn’t liking it so far. Then he heard his human, Josh, call the pound, he’d had enough of the pound, he remembered it vividly.
He looked through his cage bars at the humans who passed by, the puppies were the ones who went to homes and dogs that weren’t labeled as dangerous. He was a pitbull and because of that fact, finding a home wasn’t easy and every home he went to the human grew bored of him which resulted in them sending him away or he did something that scared them by accident and they sent him away.
’’Hey daddy look!’’ the little girl was pointing at him.
“Oh no honey, not this dog, how about a puppy?’’ the girl's father asked and they walked away, another one walked away.
He was snapped back to reality where the door had just opened and a man with a cage stepped in, no, he wasn’t going to the pound. Ray ran in between his legs and the man called him back but he wasn’t coming back, he ran as fast as his legs would carry him until he was far away.
A week had passed since he ran away and now he had new problems. Dog catchers were always on the lookout for stray dogs but he wasn’t going back to the pound, not now not ever. Then he saw a woman in front of him, he would’ve turned tail and flee but something rooted him to his place.
“Hey, little guy! Are you lost?” she asked.
Josh had given him a collar that had his name on it, she read the label Ray but there was no address. She reached out her hand and he licked it but the response was heartwarming, she laughed and patted him. For the first time in forever, his tail wagged, not just to please his human but because he was happy.
She brought him to the pound and he knew it all too well, his tail stopped wagging and he stopped dead in his tracks but it was too late, they were inside.
“I found this guy on the street, can you check for a microchip?” she asked.
“Oh, you found Ray I see,” the lady at the front desk said.
“You know him?” she asked.
“All too well, every home he goes to he gets sent back. I can call the owner, I know who adopted him,” the lady said.
When she called him and hung up she had a sad look on her face, he knew what came next, lock uptime.
“Sorry mam, the owner said he just sent the people here to go get him so I can take him for you,” the lady offered.
He was wrong, the lady took him home and he soon learned that another dog lived here. A black and white border collie was inhabiting the home too, he learned her name was Piper and the lady’s name was Sage.
It had been a week since Sage rescued Ray and life was perfect, no humans yelling at him, plenty of food, and a loving friend.
“Where do you want to go today?” Ray asked.
“I’m not sure, maybe we could try and get her to go to the dog park,” Piper replied.
Piper and Ray ran up to Sage with leashes in their mouths and wagging tails to greet her. Sage took the leashes out of their mouths and hooked them to their collars and they were off to the dog park.
“So boy and girl, how about a hiking trip?” Sage asked her dogs.
Ray and Piper barked happily in response as they turned towards the gate to the dog park and then as they were unleashed they ran like wild dogs through the dog park barking joyfully.
“Hey, look! It’s Old Hugo,” Piper pointed out, “And he’s sunbathing, let’s go talk to him.”
They made their way to Hugo who was just chilling in the sun. He is eleven which is old for an Akita seeing as they only live to be ten or fifteen.
“Hey, Hugo!” Ray greeted.
“Well hello there Ray and Piper are always good to see familiar faces,” Hugo told them.
He layed back down and closed his eyes so Ray and Piper took the reaction as a sign that he was tired so they went back to Sage. She hooked their leashes onto their collars and took them home.
Sage had taken Ray and Piper on a hiking trip and they were camping for the night. The sun had risen high above the trees so naturally, Ray did what any dog would do. He licked her face until she woke up and then wagged his tail and ran out of the tent calling Piper to join him.
“Come on Pipes! New day, hiking to do, and a world to see!” he exclaimed.
Ray had never been hiking before because his humans always put him in a kennel when they were going off to do fun stuff. He was ready for the day and felt refreshed even if it took them two hours to get to the campsite, all he could think about was getting to be a part of nature and being with his human, Sage, plus her dog and his friend, Piper.
“Hold on there boy,” she said with a yawn, “We still have to eat.”
After they ate, Sage packed up their stuff and they got on the trail and Ray was ready to see the world with his new family. Ray took the lead and Piper was right next to him.
“Isn’t this fun?” she asked.
“Yes!” he replied.
“Good to hear but it only gets…” she was interrupted by the sound of boulders falling followed by a scream.
Ray and Piper turned to see Sage, their human, laying on the ground holding her leg and when they got closer they saw how twisted and broken it was.
“Ray, what do we do?” Piper cried.
A determined look set on Ray’s face and he gave the order for Piper to look after Sage then he set off.
It took him an hour to get back down the way they came and he ran straight for the camping grounds but no one was there. That's when he realized a storm was setting in, he had to hurry.
It had been hours since he left and he still found no signs of humans but he wasn’t giving up, not when he was so close to finding his place.
Meanwhile, back on the hiking trail, Piper watched over Sage who had passed out due to pain. Piper was scared of losing her but she had faith in Ray.
“Come on Ray, please make it back,” she whispered.
She nosed her way under her owner's arm and whimpered, if she lost Sage, she would lose everything.
Back where Ray was he was having a series of flashbacks of his first home, the one home he had that he loved.
“Ray, come here boy!” Ved called.
Ray came up to him, his tail wagging, and licked his outstretched hand-making Ved laugh, he loved it when his human laughed.
“Who’s my boy? You are! You are!” he said in a baby voice.
Then Ved started making gagging noises and fell over, he was having a heart attack but Ray didn’t know what to do, he barked for hours but no one came and by the time the neighbors were home it was too late, Ved was dead.
He was snapped back to reality, he remembered how guilty he felt that day, the day he went to the pound and started going from home to home.
“No. I won’t let it happen again! I won’t lose this home, not this time,” he said confidently.
He put his nose to the ground and caught the scent of humans, he followed it until he came to the edge of a cliff and he saw them. He barked like his life depended on it and ran in circles trying to let them know to follow him but to no avail. They couldn’t hear him, how was he going to get their attention?
Back where Piper watched over Sage they had run into a problem of their own, they knew now that they weren’t alone, rocks dropped every so often and that’s when they saw it. A cougar was stalking them and Piper got up immediately and she woke up Sage by barking and nudging her. She stood her ground as the cougar slowly made its way towards them, she would die for Sage.
“Not today!” Ray yelled as he leaped at the cougar landing on his back.
Not long after, humans showed up and the paramedics arrived soon after them but it wasn’t over. Ray was thrown into a rock and the cougar was heading right for him and Piper wasn’t losing him so she ran in front of him right when the cougar was about to attack and felt its claws rake down her side but as it had her pinned down a gunshot was fired and its limp body fell to the side of her. It was dead. She stood up weakly, blood still oozing from her side, and limped to Ray.
“Ray, you did it, the humans are taking care of Sage and the cougar is dead,” she said but Ray didn’t move, “Ray?”
She laid down next to him and licked him over and over but to no avail, he still laid motionless.
“Ray… Please don’t leave me, without you the sun won’t shine and the sky will be grey, I love you Ray and I always have, come back to me,” she whispered.
The humans leashed her and she pulled as hard as she could, she didn’t want to leave him.
“He’s dead girl, we have to leave him,” the human said, “And we need to get you looked at.”
She stopped pulling and allowed them to take her away, she had to leave, he was gone and there was nothing she could do.
A week had passed since they left the hospital and Sage was on crutches getting along well but the same couldn’t be said for Piper. She spent every day waiting on the front porch for Ray to come home but he never showed. Sage set her food bowl next to her.
“You’ve gotta eat girl, he would’ve wanted you to keep going and I need you,” Sage tried encouraging her to eat but she wouldn’t budge, she was heartbroken, “He’s… Not coming back.”
Then she heard a bark and Piper looked up, she ran to the driveway but all she saw was a dog playing fetch with his human, she turned back to go to the porch. Sage watched helplessly as her dog went back to the porch and that’s when she saw him.
“Aren’t you going to welcome me home?” a familiar voice asked.
Piper turned around and saw Ray limping towards her, she ran to him and licked him until he was covered with wet fur.
“Ray! I love you! I never want to lose you again!” she said happily.
Sage smiled, the two lovebirds were reunited and now the family was together again.
“Come on dogs, I’m starved and I’m sure you are too,” she said.
They came running side by side into the house, they were reunited and nothing would ever break them apart again.
Ray died from his injuries a year later and Piper lived on for many years after that because she had puppies the day before he died, Ray never saw his puppies but he looked down at them every day as they grew. One of them looked just like Ray and was named after him, when he grew up he was just as loyal and compassionate about protecting his human-like his father before him. Sage never forgot Ray’s undying loyalty, love, and devotion to her and how he saved her that day on the hiking trail which ended his life soon after. She wrote a book about him and it ended like this: A dog isn’t defined by his exterior or his label, he’s defined by his heart and if you can’t see that then your not worthy of such love or loyalty because that pit I met, was labeled dangerous because of his breed but I’d never met such a kind and devoted dog and from moment I met him to the last breath he took he never stopped loving me and I will never stop loving him, that’s devotion.