Yawn! Stretch, y-a-w-n!!!!!!
I padded out of my room to the doorway of the Big Room. I scratched on the glass. I could see the Family moving around. Ma was talking away once in a while screaming out to Dada and Didi who were not visible yet. I could see that my food had been placed in my little bowl in front of the kitchen, but Ma never fed me. Didi or Dada did. Ah well, I was not that hungry anyway.
A little point just beyond my reach behind my ear, felt itchy. I pondered and decided it was not bad enough to try and get to. I padded over to the bowl of water in front of my room and drank thirstily. Sleeping can make a dog really thirsty. I turned and looked back at Ma, who was still thumping food on to the table and stomping back and forth from the kitchen. I knew that if I did my doo-doos here she would be unhappy. One does not make Ma unhappy. Regardless of who feeds me, it is she who is the boss of all things. I ran down the steps to the doo-doo corner.
When I came back, Baba was there and Dada and Didi had come down as well. I started jumping up and down and uttering little yelps. Didi always loves to see me excited. Sure enough, she was bringing the food over. She opened the glass door. I ran to sit at My Spot waiting for her to put it down for me. However much excited I get, Ma has ruled that I only get fed if I sit in My Spot. Didi put the food down, gave me a squish, and went back indoors with a promise that today, after school, we would go biking. I like biking. Didi rides her bike and I run alongside. Much more my style than trying to slow down when she decides to run.
I finished the food, overturned the bowl to see if any morsels were clinging underneath, and padded back to the door. It was open. I was allowed to go in. Keeping a wary eye on Ma, I went and sat a little distance away from the dining table watching the comings and goings with interest. Baba was bringing toast to the table, Didi was finishing her smoothie and Dada tossed me a crumb. I quickly caught it in my mouth, but Ma had noticed.
“Don’t feed The Dog indoors!” Why does she call me The Dog? I tried to look as sweet and innocent as possible. But she carried on, “If you don’t follow the rules, The Dog stays outside”. Dada winked at me. I looked back seriously. I didn’t want to Stay Outside. But what can I do if someone tosses me food?
Ma went off upstairs to get changed and ready for work. Downstairs everyone was engaged in clearing up. I walked to the kitchen door. On his way back out Baba stooped and scratched me behind my ear just where it was itchy. Aaah! He always knows. Ruffling up my coat he said, “Don’t go in there! Ma will be mad.” I know, oh I know.
“The Dog can go here”.
“The Dog can’t go there”.
“Take The Dog out and brush him down.” Okay, that’s a good one.
“Will someone clean The Dog’s Do-do???!!!!!!” Well, that’s a good one, too…. I don’t like do-dos to pile up.
This is the worst time of the day. They all go away and I am left to myself. I tell you, making sure that the cats next door don’t come into my garden can pall.
Ma came downstairs, “Has someone made sure that The Dog’s water has been filled up?” Baba replied from his study… “ I have”
“Okay. Bye everyone”
She had gone, waving at me as she went out the front door.
Dada and Didi clattered down the stairs, closed the toddler gate on the bottom of the stairs, and as Baba walked out of the front door, they left through the back door, unlocking the flap door that allowed me to go in if it got too hot during the day.
I walked out to the back gate with them, seeing them off as they ran to their bus stop down the little lane. I sat down in the shade of the hedge, peering underneath until the bus came, and they got in.
All around it was quietening down. The morning rush was over. A few birds were chirping from the top branches of the tree. Further away a couple of toddlers were playing in their backyard, but for the most part the neighbourhood had departed for the day. An unaccustomed creak startled me. I turned to the gate, it was swinging slightly on its hinges.
Gingerly, I stepped out to the gate and pushed against the bottom rung with one paw. It swung outwards. It. Was. Not. Locked.
I stood, trembling a little, just outside my yard. The path to the bus stop was on one side. On the other side I could see the blue of the ocean. That was where Didi would take me for my run later, along the cliffs next to the big blue, right up to the top, where I would see the sky meet the water and feel the balmy wind. I stepped out a little bit more. No one yelled. I took a deep breath and had just decided to go for it, when suddenly I heard a distant deep bark.
I dived back in and made straight for the porch. The big ugly dog was out with his deaf owner. Not that I am scared of big ugly dogs. I just don’t like being mauled. I am fastidious like that. After a while I realised that the B.U.D. was going another way today. I quietly made my way across the garden to the gate again.
Step by tentative step, I started towards the ocean. Soon I felt stronger, and I was gambolling along the path, my ears flat against my shoulders and the wind streaming through my fur.
It was magnificent! The skies were blue, the birds were flying high, the path leading up from the beach had very few people on it. I met no one who knew me. I heard someone laughing as I streaked past, “Whoa! Boy!” But most of them ignored me, as I did them.
I wandered all day. It was warm, with the breeze just the right amount of cool. I went up and down the pathway on the cliffs till I tired of it, and went back down to the street and houses. This was surely the life! No silly cats peering at me over the fence. No fences holding me in. I slunk under the fence of one house and lapped up some water out of their swimming pool. I scared a tiny dog with a pink bow. I charmed a mother and toddler in the park. I ran around and around in circles with a couple of other wandering dogs.
As it started to get dark, I realised how hungry I was. I suddenly remembered Didi. She must have come home long ago… It was late now, she would be doing her homework, and I would not get to go biking with her and listen to her sing at the top of her voice at the top of the cliff. I had missed “trick time” with Dada. All the silly little tricks I performed for him, and the treats he gave me. Ma would be getting dinner on the table. My dinner would be in my bowl…
The other dogs I had been playing with had long gone, and the cars were shining their lights as they whooshed past, blinding me. It was really not that nice being out here all alone.
I turned and came back home.
Ma was the first one to come out. “There he is!” Didi came rushing out and hugged me tight. Dada danced around and Baba smiled at me and said “welcome back”.