Sammy shivered uncontrollably hunkered down in a dark corner of the metal cage. A door opened and the mean man was coming.
A small shaft of light allowed Sammy to intently watch his captor’s movements.
The cage door opened with a rusty squeak.
The man stooped to place a grimy bowl of something that resembled corned beef hash and a plastic cup full of water inside then quickly re-locked the latch.
The man stood. Sammy did not budge.
“Come on, boy. You gotta’ eat somethin’.”
Sammy did not move, just whimpered silently.
“Ahh. Suit yourself. You’ll eat when you get hungry enough.” The door closed and dowsed Sammy in darkness again.
Sammy’s eyes were moist, but he learned quickly not to cry out loud.
His ear still stung with the memory from the first few minutes after he was shoved into this animal cage. The man had popped the side of Sammy’s head as he slapped the cage with a stick to make him be quiet.
Sammy wasn’t sure how long he had been in here. He sure missed his mommy.
Michelle was not his biological mother. She and Ben adopted Sammy when he was eight weeks old.
He was seven now and old enough to know not to leave his yard.
He just wanted to play with Jamie and Julie, the kids across the street. They were older, but they were fun and treated him nice. They even shared their snacks.
He was hungry and the smell of the food, whatever it was, pulled to him. He crawled over and tasted it. It was pretty good, actually.
After emptying the bowl he took a drink of the water.
Then Sammy fell asleep. He dreamed of mommy and home.
“Ok, tell me what happened ma’am?"
“Sammy was right here in the yard, right next to the porch. The phone rang and I went in to answer it. It’s right inside the door there on a hall table.” She stopped long enough to wipe her eyes and blow her nose. “I came directly back outside and he was gone. It couldn’t have been more than two minutes at the most. We’ve got to find him, we’ve just got to.” Michelle sobbed.
“How long has he been missing?”
“About six hours.” Ben answered this time.
“Try not to worry just yet. He probably just wandered to a neighbor’s house and fell asleep in a sand box or a playhouse or something.”
“We’ve already checked with the neighbor’s. No one has seen Sammy. Why are we just standing here wasting time? Why aren’t you out looking?” Michelle sputtered.
“I know it’s difficult, but try to stay calm. As soon as I gather enough information here I’ll call in a search team. We will find Sammy, ma'am. I promise. Ok?”
Michelle leaned into her husbands shoulder.
“Do you have a photo of Sammy?”
“Yes.” Michelle said. “I’ll get one.” She quickly returned handing over a five by seven of Sammy sitting in her lap and the tears returned.
Alone again in the front yard Ben hugged Michelle tighter and said. “Let’s pray again for Sammy’s safe return.”
The door opened again and Sammy awoke.
“You need to go to the bathroom, boy? Huh?”
As the mean man fumbled with the latch Sammy formed a plan to make a break for it.
As soon as the man reached in the cage to remove the bowl Sammy moved quickly and bit down hard on the fleshy part of his hand tasting the salty tang of blood.
Yelping the angry captor did not notice Sammy slip past as he examined the damage to his hand.
The open door led out of the shed where the cage was kept hidden and into a backyard unfamiliar to Sammy, but as soon as he rounded the first corner he knew exactly where he was- only a couple of blocks from home.
He ran as fast as he could. He was a good runner.
Sammy looked back a couple of times, no one followed.
Soon Sammy saw a wonderful sight. Mommy and Ben were standing in the yard waiting for him.
Michelle saw Sammy and began to run toward him.
From two feet away Sammy leapt into Michelle’s waiting arms and began excitedly licking the tears from her face. He was a good jumper, too.
“Oh, Sammy. Where have you been? You worried mommy so much, you bad little doggie.”
Sammy was home at last.
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