Hello, my dear Friends! Thank you for allowing me to share my rather precarious story with you!
These awesome people here at P.T.N. called me LORD, inspired, they say, by my regal countenance, which, and this is again what they say, is not in the least marred by the fact that my hind legs are actually shorter than the front ones.
But I wasn’t born like this, you see. Like all dogs, I was born with four legs, all perfectly proportioned, and they went on growing as I grew myself, still in perfect balance. Until one day...
Well, one day, some human figured that, being a dog, and a rather feisty one, too, I was supposed to be tethered in his backyard. Nowadays, because I know better, I wonder who on earth determined that dogs are meant to be chained... but back then, being a dog, I didn’t question this decision. You know, it came from a human... and, being a dog, I am genetically programmed to trust humans and their judgment, so... that’s what I did!
And so, for a long time – I don’t really know how long, because, being a dog, I don’t actually have the same notion of time as humans do – I lived in that human’s backyard, with a tight collar around my neck, and a rather short chain keeping me attached to half a tin barrel, that I learned to accept as my home, because I’d never known any other. It wasn’t much of a home, though. It was freakin’ cold in winter - ‘scuse my language, I wasn’t brought up like a “lord”, you know... - and much too hot in summer, when the sun beat relentlessly on the tin surface that served as my roof. Besides, the thing didn’t keep the water out when it rained, and all I could do was to lie down in the mud, under the barrel. It didn’t really keep me from getting wet, but I suppose it was better than nothing.
The worst thing about it all, though, was that it was terribly lonely. Of course I didn’t know that then, but, being a dog, I’m a naturally social being, who is programmed to thrive on interaction with human beings and other animals. However, my human didn’t provide much company – I actually hardly ever got to see him at all, except when he came by to throw me some food scraps in a haste, once in a while, or to pour some water in a broken cement trough, where lots of silly birds pooped all the time. Sometimes I kind of envied those birds… they seemed to be able to go anywhere they wanted, with those wings, and sometimes I hated them, for stealing my scraps of food, disgusting as they might have been, and pooping in my water, scarce as it was. Most of the time, though, I actually liked them. You see, they were the only other animals around, and at least I could pretend I was socializing… whatever that might mean.
But I had found another way to fight my loneliness. Being a dog, I could bark… and, oh, boy, did I bark my head off all the time! I barked to listen to myself, I barked at noises and invisible things and beings, I barked to hear other invisible dogs bark back at me, I barked… because I had nothing better to do, really! Sometimes, I got a human roar in response - “SHUT THE F… UP!” – and although it meant that the human hadn’t been brought up like a “lord”, either, it actually brought me closer to him… so I actually barked even louder, just to hear his voice again!
I suppose I must have overdone it, though… because one night the human came stomping by, ripped off my tight collar, grabbed me by the scruff of my neck (that had, in time, become quite hairless), and... threw me over a wall!
As I fell, in the darkness, I couldn’t help thinking of the pooping birds, and of how I’d envied their wings. See, being a dog, I hadn’t been endowed with any... and yet, there I was, flying... flying... flying in the pitch black void, for what felt like forever...
... Until, at last, I crash-landed on some very hard surface. OUCH! I’d landed on my chin, and that hurt, dammit! But there was something worse than the pain. I felt dizzy, I had no idea where I was, because I couldn’t see a thing and some strange clucking sounds didn’t give me a clue, and... I was actually scared “poopless”! So, I huddled in a corner, shivering... and, being a dog, I didn’t know how to pray like humans do, so... I just waited.
Eventually, I fell asleep, so the rest of the night wasn’t that bad... but, if you’ve ever heard of rude awakenings, well, that’s exactly what I had, when the sun came up and lit up my surroundings! My first and shocked reaction was... a fervent plea: “Dear Dog, I promise I’ll never envy or least of all hate pooping birds again!” – for, as I dimly realized I could actually pray after all, I found myself surrounded by... birds, of a kind I’d never seen before, all flaunting some weird red and dented appendages on their heads, and staring at me threateningly, or so it seemed!
But I didn’t have time to freak out or to actually do anything else... because, suddenly, a very tall human came into that scary feathery place, stopped short when he saw me, scratched his head with a flabbergasted expression on his face... and then started to laugh, while saying: “Hey ole’ fella, how the heck did you get in here?”
Later, after I’d been led, still in a daze, out of what looked like a huge wire cage, with no roof but with a long row of nice wooden houses with legs and small ramps on them, and those clucking winged beings, who, ironically, didn’t seem to be able to fly much or at all, were left behind, ravenously picking at some sort of grain the tall fellow had thrown them in big handfuls, I finally came to understand what had happened to me. I had landed inside a chicken coop – so, that’s what those weird birds were, chickens! – that stood, at a much lower level, on the other side of the wall my human had thrown me over!!!
As he gently tended to my wounded chin, the tall fellow whispered “how can human beings do these cruel things?” – and, as I heard that and looked at his rather kind face, I began to understand that... maybe not all humans see dogs in the same way. This new one, and two or three more humans that I came to meet later that day, seemed to believe, unlike my previous one, that dogs are meant to have lots of space to move around, that they are meant to have comfortable and dry places to rest, that they are meant to be fed nice and nutritious things at least twice a day, and that they are meant to have lots of clear, fresh water to drink, with no poop in it, at all times.
This was a totally new set of notions for me, but I must say I started to enjoy each and every one of them immediately, which means... dogs must be “meant” for all this, after all, rather than for what I thought that, being a dog, “I was meant” for, before!
Ah, life was good, at this place, and it wasn’t lonely at all! The humans, here, kept coming by and taking me for walks, and talking to me, and stroking me, and... it all felt simply wonderful! On the other hand... there were lots and lots of other dogs around, and it was nice to be actually able to SEE them and be in touch with them!
And this could have been a happy ending to a story with a not so happy beginning... if it weren’t for one more ludicrous episode I found myself involved in!
You see, I must admit that, in those early days, I wasn’t really what you could consider a sociable dog. No, not entirely, not all together... for I hadn’t yet learned exactly what “sociable” and to “socialize” really meant, but it sure seemed like it was anything but being terribly jealous, and therefore snarling at almost any other dog when the humans were around, or least of all... bite them when they weren’t being in the least provocative or threatening! So, I was kept away from them, most of the time, until one day, the nice humans who ran that place figured I would probably be happier if I lived somewhere else – in a home where I didn’t have “competition”, and could have all the attentions to myself.
So I was put up for adoption, and since I’m a good looking dog (ahem, ahem...) – in spite of the already mentioned shorter hind legs, which were the result of having been tied to a chain that was much too short for about three years or so – it wasn’t long before some other human came by, a gentleman who owned a café in the neighbourhood, and decided to take me home with him. End of story? Not yet:
The very next morning, the gentleman who owned the café brought me back to P.T.N. because, he complained to the nice humans here... I BARKED!!!
Oh, the Great Dog give me patience! Was it really my fate to be a dog permanently rejected... for barking? So, were dogs not meant to bark, after all? Why hadn’t I learned how to chirp with the silly pooping birds back at my old home, or how to cluck and squawk with those chickens I’d spent my first night at P.T.N. with?
Well, the fact is that, after having put up with a “soaring dumping” and an adoption with a return at “jet speed”, the good humans here at P.T.N. figured I’d had more than enough... and shouldn’t be put through any more “flying ordeals” – and that I deserved to “land” serenely, once and for all!
And so it was, and so it is, because I settled here, and this has been my home for about seven years, now. Being a dog, I finally learned how to be more sociable with other dogs like me – such as gorgeous BECAS, the blonde here in the picture with me... ain’t she a “dish”? – who, being dogs, do BARK as much as they like and are meant to... because these particular humans, who have to be the nicest and the smartest I’ve ever met, don’t expect us to actually cackle, or tweet, or lay eggs... or ask the customers if they prefer a “latte” or an “espresso”!!!
So, I’m truly happy... and, being a dog, I now know that, regardless of any confusing human notions, HAPPY, with its feet on the ground - not flying - and barking... is what a dog “is meant” to really be!
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