Wearily, he wonders what will happen next. Scruffy and dirty, the dog crouches in the back of the crate, quivering. Fearful eyes dart back and forth as if to ward off an unseen enemy. The day that began as a nightmare seems to worsen by the minute. With a whimper, he shrinks back, looking for safety.
Reflecting on the last few weeks, he berates himself for giving in to the hunger that had landed him here. Just when he thought he had found some “nice” people, turned out he was wrong. Eventually they handed him off to some other folks who kept him tied in a garage. At least he had been fed and warm-- yet today, they had shoved him in a cage .
With a bump and sway, the cage lifts from the ground. Off balance, the captive scrambles and panic sets in. Anxious voices escalate, doors slam, and engines roar to life as his sensitive ears scream for relief. Soon there's motion, and his stomach lurches as the cage slides back and forth across the seat. The scene would be almost comical if he didn't have that sinking sensation in the pit of his stomach: fear of the unknown.
After a while, the vehicle stops and there is momentary quiet. Abruptly, the cage is hauled into the blinding sunlight, causing its occupant to blink. A few steps later, he is lowered to the ground, the door swings open, and a man peers in.
“Hey, Buddy, come on out,” comes a soft whisper.
They gaze at one another then, slowly a hand slips in with gentle fingers to pat the new arrival. Tension seeps out of the weary little body and he noticeably begins to relax. Craving an act of kindness, he leans forward and hope replaces apprehension. Inching toward the opening, he wonders if it is worth the risk...
“Hi Buddy,” says the man, “my name is Joe. Doesn't it feel good to get out of there?”
Cautiously, the dog draws near and greets his benefactor with a tentative lick on the hand. Momentarily tensing when Joe scoops him up, he soon begins to calm under tender petting.
“Don't worry, Buddy,” Joe whispers in his ear, “We're going to be friends. I know you're scared right now--so was I when I first got here--but soon enough you'll realize this place isn't so bad--for a prison.”
As Buddy curls up in welcoming arms, Joe continues in soothing tones.
“I don't know what you've been through, I'm guessin' much the same as me: nobody wantin' ya, always scrapin' by. And trust? No way. I'm a lifer, locked up forever, so I know what I'm talkin' about. Learnin' to trust is hard but I got yer back and I won't let ya down. Over the next few months, I'll always be here. Then when our time is done and you go to yer 'forever' home, you'll remember today: the beginning of your second chance--something we all deserve....” Joe's wistful voice trails off as he stands. Nodding to the guard, he heads back to his cell. Buddy trots along, deciding that the day couldn't end any better.
Read more articles by Kimberly Russell or search for articles on the same topic or others.