For you, dear readers.
I am finishing up the first rough draft of my novel. I believe giving birth to my son was easier and much less painful!
I hope you enjoy this little excerpt, in which puppy Hope goes with her Uncle Zack to her first Obedience Class with their Woman.
I am not too proud to ask for encouragement. At this point in the writing, I am so full of self doubt and oh, yikes.
When the Woman got the two whippets out of the van, Zack was a little excited, too, though he was staid compared to Hope. She was bouncing around on her lead, wagging her tail, and grinning at the Woman. Fun! This looked like fun! They walked on the grass outside a large building, and Hope could smell all sorts of different dogs.
“HOLY SCHMOLY what the heck is that hairy monster?” Little Hope felt every hair along her back prickle to full attention, and she heard herself sound the alarm. “Danger! Danger! Hairy MONSTER!” she barked. She had never in her young life seen such a big, hairy dog. The Woman told her it was all right, it was only a Malamute, whatever the heck that was, but good grief, what did the Woman know about danger?
“Get back! Get away from us! I’m a very important protector of my Human, who doesn’t have the sense to get us back in the van, obviously. Hey, Uncle, a little help here?” The terrified puppy glanced sideways at Zack, who was totally unfazed by the Hairy Monster. Maybe he hadn’t heard her.
“Look Out. Warning. Danger. Back OFF, Hairy Monster, you don’t want me to have to get physical!” Her little body bounced with each bark, legs stick straight, tail up, neck stretched taught as a high wire to make herself look as big and imposing as a nine month old, skinny little Whippet puppy could look. The Malamute, (a very large, husky/wolf looking breed developed to pull heavy loads on a sled) waved his huge tail over his back and acted friendly and non-threatening. Hope could not believe what she heard the Woman say next.
“Could my puppy meet your dog? She’s never seen a Malamute.”
“Are you completely wacko, Woman?” Hope gave a token woof, but got smaller as her Woman actually approached the Monster. Zack, on the other hand, had apparently taken total leave of his senses and seemed to be actually pleased to see this mutant beast. The two dogs wagged tails, and sniffed noses and privates, while Hope did her best to become invisible behind her insane Woman. She tried to sneak a sniff at all that hair, but darted back when the hair noticed her. After a while, as the humans rattled on in their inane spoken language, the Monster assured Hope that he was, after all, a Good and Honorable Dog, and she gambled a sniff, survived that, and met him properly. He didn’t eat her, and he smelled so interesting, and she was glad to make his honorable acquaintance. But she still kept a wary eye on him. Sort of like you might be friendly to a warty troll, but you wouldn’t turn your back on him.
After everyone was pottied they went into the building. So many dogs, and such a racket Hope had never heard indoors. But since she had been lure coursing, which had been even louder and oh so much fun, she wasn’t too scared. Although there were certainly stranger looking dogs here than there had been at the field trials. There were short, midget dogs, and big fat dogs and poor dogs whose faces were mashed in and lordy so many of them had way too much hair. There weren’t any other whippets in sight, although there was a Giant. She had seen them at the coursing events, and heard them called “greyhounds.” Hope felt a great deal of pain coming from this one, a Queen, who had suffered terribly, and not too long ago. She was surrounded by the sick yellow color of fear, with streaks of jagged red panic. Hope pulled toward the greyhound; she said to the Woman, “We need to help her.” And for once the Human seemed to hear her, and headed towards the greyhound.
“This sounds like the races. Are there shocks here? Are they taking me back? Don’t let them take me back. Oh don’t let them take me back!” The poor greyhound was panting and frantic.
“Back to what, Your Majesty?” asked Hope.
“The track, the track, the track,” panted the grey. She was just shy of hysterical and the whippet puppy couldn’t understand.
Zack said, “No, I don’t think they’ll take you back.” He stood tall and calm and kind. “It’s good here. A little silly, but it’s a great place for teaching the Humans. Do you have a good One now?”
“Back to the track, taking me back to the track, backtrack, oh!”
The poor grey’s eyes were wide and blind with terror.
“Do you have a good human NOW?” Zack licked the grey’s muzzle.
“What? Oh, yes, this one is very good. He doesn’t ignore me. I sleep in his bed, and he cares. There’s no shocking. No loneliness.” She looked up at her Human and her great, long tail wagged, even through her panic. “Yes, he’s a good Human and I love him. But I’ve loved other humans and they used cattle prods on me and I never slept in a bed and I hurt and they didn’t ever care. They just didn’t ever care. Am I back there? Is this the track? It’s loud. It’s so loud.”
“I don’t know a track,” said Zack calmly. “But this is not a bad place. Look at your Human and teach him. He can hear you better here than just about anywhere. You are safe here. It will quiet down. You are safe. You are safe. You are safe. Listen to my heart. You are the Queen of all dogs. You are safe.”
The greyhound relaxed, her panic passed. Hope wondered what misery such a thing as a “track” was, that could cause such horrid yellow fear even in the Royalty of dogs. She wagged a worshipful tail at the grey, and even gave a submissive lick, which was of course ignored.
The greyhound was busy telling her Human that she liked this Zack very much, and that she remembered that he was a good Human, and perhaps they should go home now.
(c) 2008 Patience C. Renzulli
all rights reserved
hug your hounds
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