“I woke up from a dream of kibble. Then I looked around and did not see any kibble whatsoever. That’s how I came to my conclusion that it was all just a dream.”
I woke up from a dream of kibble. Then I looked around and did not see any kibble whatsoever. That’s how I came to my conclusion that it was all just a dream. There were just bars of metal and the sound of lonely dogs howling. I was a quiet dog for my age, keen and cautious, always looking for whatever danger could be lurking around. I sighed. We never got piles of yummy kibble topped with strawberries like in my dream. I thought the animal shelter was nice. It gave us food, water, and shelter. Warmth, too. But it didn’t give us something we needed most. Love. Well, it did give us love, but not permanent love. Everlasting love. From an owner, I mean. I’m a corgi, and I stick with my pride. I’m hard to impress. Well, not anymore. I used to be, when I was living a happy life. I used to have a human. A wonderful human. But one day, there were tears. One day, there was a box. One day, there was an empty street. That one day I will never forget. I just don’t understand. Why would my human do that? She loved me. But she left me. Well, one day, I was walking around my cage when a sweet smell came in. A girl. She was carrying muffins. Yummy-looking muffins. The kind of muffins my friend, Checkers, would like to howl for until someone gave it to him. That was always his strategy. Lots of talking. That’s the thing. Humans talk too much. That is, from a dog’s point of view. We dogs don’t talk too much. Only the necessary things. I would like to have a conversation without the necessary words. With dogs, sentences get too short. Let’s move on.
The manager came to us and said, “We have a new volunteer. She’s going to be walking you.” He patted my head. “She’ll be starting today!”
Then he walked back when the phone rang.
“Hi, cutie!” the volunteer told me. She was a girl, and she scratched my back. I wagged my tail. I was trying to ask her for some muffins. The next day, she came back with a younger girl. She whispered, “This is my daughter, Lily.”
I sniffed Lily’s hand. It smelled like crackers and lotion. I licked it. She laughed. “You’re so friendly, Charlie!”
Charlie? I didn’t have a name, but I liked Charlie. I’m pretty picky, and no one had ever found a name I liked, but I was satisfied with Charlie. They came every day now, taking us for a walk. For some reason, my girl always got a tiny bit of kibble in her pocket, and she gave it to us if we were good on the walk. She would always say, “Sit,” or “Stay,” or “Come,” or “Heel,” and I didn’t have a clue what they meant. But I figured if it involved food, I would do it. We would never do anything, though, but she would just laugh and give us a treat even if we cocked our heads. My girl never took the little girl with her on walks. The little girl would just stay in the shelter and wait. One time, though, the little girl did come. She fed us lots of treats, so I decided I liked her.
But one day, no one came. I was worried. Very worried. I was pacing around my kennel when Checkers came and asked me what I was doing, but I just ignored him and kept pacing. He kept asking, but after about 30 minutes, he gave up and went to his bed. The next week, no one came, and I started to get really, really worried. After two weeks, the girl came back without the Lily, but she did come with a dog. I know. A dog. I couldn’t believe a dog held her up for two whole weeks.
“How’s Lily doing?” asked the manager.
The girl smiled and said, “Fine, thank you.”
I sniffed the dog. She growled at me. Rude! I tried licking her. I tried nudging her. I even let her chew on my ball! But, no matter what, she ignored me. She just pretended like I wasn’t there. I gave up and retreated. I didn’t enjoy these minutes of my life. Everyone was ignoring me. I had just wasted ten minutes. I sighed. I might as well get something done. I went to take a short nap. I had a nightmare. I was walking when I saw my girl. I ran to her, but she just was out of reach. She reached out her hand. Slowly, it turned to dust. Oh, no! It was horrible. I woke up scared. When I finally came to my senses, I looked around and saw the dog in a cage. Phew! My girl still loved only me. I don’t know why I call her my girl. I just hope she will take me home and give me that everlasting love I need. Over the next few weeks, my girl didn’t come again! But when she came back, she looked very tired.
“Lily just came home from her heart surgery,” she said to the manager. “I’m so glad my daughter is okay!”
The manager smiled. I couldn’t understand what they were saying, but I could sense the sadness in her voice. I whined. When she came over, I nudged and licked her hand. She smiled a weary and sad smile. I whimpered and whined all day long. If my girl was like this, something horrible must have happened to make her this sad. If she was sad, I was sad, and everyone (every dog, I mean) hates it when I’m sad because I whimper and howl all day long. And that’s exactly what I did. I howled until my throat was sore and my mouth was dry. I lapped some water from my water bowl. I was really bored and sleepy. I took a short nap and woke up. My girl’s smell came drifting in. Click. She opened up my cage door.
“You first.” She took me to our usual spot. But then she opened up the big gate. I didn’t know you could open that big thing! So many new smells. Almost too many to count. Almost. (I counted 231.) I rolled on the grass. I dived into some leaves. My girl laughed. I found something. Something moist, tall, and green. I ate it. It wasn’t half-bad.
“Don’t eat the grass, silly!” She laughed. What? Never mind. I ignored her and ran all around! my girl came and unclipped my leash. Yay! Afterwards, she took me back to my cage. I wanted to stay out there forever. Next, she took Checkers. I caught a glimpse of them. Checkers didn’t get to run around, though. He got put in the car. And I never saw him again.
That happened quite a lot now. One day, my girl came to me and muttered that she would find me someone and that, one day, I would finally belong to someone. I don’t know what that meant, but I knew it wasn’t good because she was pushing back tears. I could tell. I licked her hand comfortably and supportingly. I sat down. I was bored again. That happened to me a whole lot. I missed Checkers. Who would I tell stories to? Who would I talk to in my free time? Who would be my best friend? I was pushing back tears. Even though dogs can’t cry, I was on the verge of crying. I tried to imagine Checkers running around happily, but it was hard, too. I just couldn’t help but wonder why. I came to the conclusion that he was going to be with his human. If that was true, I hoped he had a good human to play with him every day. But what if his humans were the worst? And why did he have to leave me? I just wanted to curl up in my bed and be sad. So that’s what I did. I was really bored. Like I said before, I got bored easily. The following day, my girl came back.
“I really want to keep you, Charlie!” she said, dully and sadly. Huh? “Someone is adopting you tomorrow. I’ll miss you! They will be picking you up here. I should be happy. I’m sorry. Plus, on the bright side, you’ll be happy!” She was blinking back tears. She hugged me and kissed me on the top of my head. “You’re the cutest dog in the world!” she exclaimed.
Ack! Well, that was sudden. If you didn’t know, dogs don’t like surprises. Especially corgis named Charlie. Like me. The next day, a big van pulled into the parking lot. My ears perked up. A couple of people came in. Three, to be exact. Two big people and one small person. I sniffed. The small person was a girl. One big person was a woman, and the other was a boy. I slowly stepped back. The woman had long, golden hair with dark brown eyes. The little girl was a miniature copy. The man had dark brown hair and blue eyes. They reminded me of a blueberry. I know. Weird. I snuggled inside my bed. The little girl pointed to my cage and said, “Look! His name is Charlie!”
“It’s her…” my girl said impatiently. I wonder why. I was going to stay with her forever, and I could cheer her up every day, so why was she crying? I wobbled over like a newborn puppy. I barked calmly and softly to the little girl. I nudged her hand and licked it. It did not smell like crackers and lotion. I was disappointed. I left and took a short nap on my bed. Soon I got lifted up and put into a box. I yipped and whined.
“Woah! Easy, girl!” the manager shouted. He scratched me behind the ears. I calmed down. I still whined softly, though. I got put into the big van. It was pitch black in the box. It rocked and slid all over the place! I did not like this one bit! I decided to just settle down and deal with it. I was wondering about my girl. What if she left me like Checkers? I hoped she didn’t. I was sure she was there with me. She was always there with me until she left because her shift ended. I was sure she was trying to comfort me but I just couldn’t hear it. I thought. I hoped so. I wanted to know. I didn’t know, though. And that’s what was making me worried. But, that’s the thing. I hoped. I didn’t know.
After I stopped bumping around in the darkness for a while, I opened my eyes. The thing had jerked to a stop. I heard footsteps. Something opened, and hands grabbed me out of the box. Soft and calm muttering and whispering. The man opened the door. Shouts. Surprises. I don’t like those types of surprises. Whooping. Hollering. Ears hurt. My ears hurt. I yipped for some peace and quiet. There was a long silence. Then louder hollering. This time, I howled. Very loud.
“STOP!!! You’re scaring her!” the little girl shouted. She picked me up and ran up the stairs into a big room. She shut the door. There were soft pillows and rugs. There was a closet with some mirrors. There was a big drawer. She took a pillow and put it into a drawer. She put me on it. It was comfortable, and I fit perfectly. “This will be your bed for a while. Until we get you a proper bed, I guess.” Where was my girl? Suddenly there was a loud sneeze. It was followed by a series of coughs and sneezes. “MOM!” She ran down the stairs. She took me with her. “Mom! I don’t feel so good.”
Afterward, the woman came and took me. She put me back inside the box. It slid around again. The woman took me out and gently carried me to the shelter. At the shelter, she told the manager that her daughter was allergic to dogs and that she was very sorry. She left. Later, my girl came.
“Oh! Charlie! You’re back!” Then there was lots of talking. “Oh. I understand what happened,” she whispered to me. I licked her. She shook her head and laughed. I didn’t understand, but that didn’t matter. I was back with my girl!
I snuggled up in my bed like I always do. I looked around. Wait! I thought I saw a new dog in Checkers’ cage. I walked up to her and politely sniffed her. She sniffed back. She licked me. I licked her. Lots of back-and-forth things. Here’s what I knew about her: she was a puppy, she was a girl, her name was Daisy, and she was curious with a bubbly personality, just like Checkers. It made me miss him a whole lot. My heart ached. I wanted to tell someone about Checkers and how he was such a great friend. So I told Daisy. And I added all the non-essential information into my sentences, too.
After I finished telling everything about Checkers to Daisy, I decided to rest my mind because it was zooming with thoughts. Actually, it was mostly zooming with questions and not thoughts. My biggest question was: did Checkers miss me the same way I missed him? I hoped so. I also hoped that my girl would one day take me home. I could imagine it. The warmth. The kibble. The love. And with that, I slowly but surely fell asleep. Sound asleep. The shelter door opened. That’s what woke me up. My girl was here! I licked her and rubbed my nose on her hand. She giggled. I got a scratch behind the ears. She took me on a walk. The whole time, she was talking to me. I wasn’t listening, though. I was thinking about Checkers. Oh, how I missed him! I could howl all day for him and not get tired. Super tired, I mean. I would definitely get tired. I realized that it was about time that I would be taken away by someone who was not my girl.
I had more nightmares then. One was where I was in the big, dark house, alone, and then the door creaked open. I barked and yipped, thinking it was my girl and she had come to get me. But it was not. Someone came and flashed eerie and angry eyes at me. I whimpered. The person took me and dumped me in a box, and it slid all over again. Then there were car honks and bright lights. It was raining hard. I got thrown on the street, and I was hurt physically and mentally. My body was hurt, but so was my heart. That was the worst nightmare I had had yet. I trembled.
The next day, I waited for my girl. But instead of her, someone new came. A girl, younger than mine. The new girl was filled with interesting smells. I wanted to distinguish all of them, but I just couldn’t. I got confused and ended up stumbling backward. I yipped after I stepped on my tail. Ow! I licked my tail and eagerly came and sniffed the new person. I named her “my girl Jr.” No, that sounded weird. How about “the girl?” That sounded casual enough. And, plus, she would never ever be my girl. I only had one girl. I sighed. I trotted around my cage, acting all excited. But, to be honest, I wasn’t all that excited. I wanted my girl, not the girl. Sorry if it gets kind of confusing. My cage opened. The girl got a leash and clipped it to my collar. She patted me.
“Come on girl!” she said, but I didn’t budge. Who was ‘girl’? I knew the command “come on,” but I didn’t think she was addressing it to me, so I just lay down. I yawned. The girl talked to the manager for a little while and then came to me and said, “Come on, Charlie!”
I jerked up and followed her. I exchanged a little conversation with some of my friends while the girl was looking at a square-shaped device. She laughed randomly and typed something on the device. Huh. A sound came out of the device and she put it to her ear. Weird.
“Hi, Mom. Okay. All right. Yeah. Okay, thanks. Uh-huh. Bye.” She shook her head and laughed. She kept on looking at the device. I wandered on the street. So many different smells all just came shooting at me. I was really curious. I stepped forward. I tripped on the curb. Pain rushed quickly.
Just then, an engine roar came. A big black vehicle came, like the one I went on before with the other family. It was zooming at me. I whimpered and whined, trying to get the girl’s attention. I was hurt, and I couldn’t get up. I barked this time. No one came. I was scared. Very scared. Suddenly, a dark shadow came over me. I thought the car was running me over! I thought this was the end. But, right then, light shone. I opened my eyes. Trees. Grass. Sun. I was alive! I’m pretty small, so the car must have gone over me!
“Oh! Are you okay?” The girl scooped me up. She walked back to the shelter with a solemn and melancholy look in her eyes. I never saw her again after that. I was waiting for my girl the next day when I decided to talk to Daisy.
“Hello, Daisy. How are you?”
“Fine, thank you. You?”
“Oui, je vais bien!”
“That’s French! Weird, huh?”
“Yeah!” Daisy smiled. “What’s French?” she asked.
“Umm… a language, I guess?”
“You sound like you’re not sure…” she said with a mischievous look on her face. I grumbled.
“Well, I am!” I said. I raised my head high. She giggled. “I don’t think you’re taking me seriously, are you?” I said grumpily. Now, her giggles broke into a series of laughs. I frowned. “All right. Humph!” She was laughing so hard that she could be crying by now. I sighed and just smiled at her. “All right,” I repeated. This time, it wasn’t filled with annoyance, but it was filled with care. I curled up for a daily nap.
The bell on the shelter door dinged. That meant my girl! I jumped up and barked.
“Hi, Charlie!” I licked her hand. I nudged her pockets, looking for treats. I found a tiny kibble bone and munched on it. “Charlie!” My girl laughed. She sounded serious but happy at the same time. I cocked my head. “Oh, I just wish I could adopt you. I’m too busy, though. With all my work. I know you understand.” She gently lifted up my head. She smiled through the tears that were starting to roll down her face. I licked them. Salty. She laughed. She kissed me and opened up my cage. She clipped on my leash. She wiped her tears and took me outside. “Oh, Charlie. I will miss you when you get adopted.” I yipped in agreement, even though I didn’t understand. She stopped. She sat down. She hugged me. “Oh, Charlie.” She started to cry again. “I heard what happened to you. With the other girl. I just can’t believe it! So caught up in her phone that she let you hurt yourself!”
I could feel her boiling up with anger and irritation. I licked her face. She didn’t laugh, though. I was disappointed. That always worked. I yipped and barked and started wagging my tail. I just had to get my girl happy. I understood now. I was supposed to love and cheer up my girl. That was my purpose. That was life itself, its purpose. I needed to spread my love. I needed to guard her. To make her think life had a purpose. Yes, that was my mission and my purpose. I nudged her gently. She smiled and scratched me. When I got back, I talked to Daisy. I was just wound up with emotion. Dogs don’t feel very strong emotions like humans do. But sometimes I do. I just wanted to bundle up my emotions and throw them away or something to get rid of them. I felt so much love toward my girl. I felt like… she was special. One of a kind. The best owner a corgi could ask for. I smiled and felt happiness and sorrow swell up in my heart. I swallowed tears. I just can’t explain my feelings at that time. They all just mushed up and bundled together. I was feeling too many things all at once. I started crying. Not really tears and all. But super sad. Like I was crying. Oh, I sometimes wished that dogs couldn’t have sadness. But I was also glad. That I had experienced life. That I had experienced love and emotions. I trotted happily, suddenly feeling good for myself. I smiled.
The next day, my girl came. She petted me but walked right past me! She walked to the manager and said, “Want me to handle Charlie’s new owners?”
The manager nodded. A man, not much older than my girl, came.
“Hello. I’m here to adopt uh… umm… Charlie?” he stammered and sputtered.
The manager smiled. “Yes.”
The man nodded nervously.
“I’m a very busy man,” he said.
The manager’s smile turned to a frown. “That’s not too good.”
The man stammered, “It isn’t?”
“No.” The manager looked slightly disappointed. The man looked nervous.
“Well, I can still take her, right?” the man said right away.
“Let’s see how it works out,” the manager said. He sounded concerned. The man smiled a crooked smile. One that kind of creeped me out. I had a bad feeling about this man. He nodded nervously.
“Well, I’ll be off, then!” he said. He carried me in an awkward kind of way.
“Woah!” said my girl. “That’s not how you hold a dog!”
My girl did something with her arms, as though she was holding something, and the man copied her. Much more comfortable. He took me outside. He took me to a small, yellow thing, like the big, black one but, well… small and yellow. I got put into a box AGAIN! It rolled around AGAIN! I should stop capitalizing the word “AGAIN.” I really didn’t like this. I wobbled and tripped. Twists and turns were not pleasant for me since every time we had to turn, there would be a stop sign. The car would jerk to a stop and keep going really fast. Too fast. My stomach lurched. Something told me I shouldn’t have eaten the burger crumbs that were dropped on the floor. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, the car stopped for good. I sighed with relief. I paced back and forth around the car. Suddenly, the trunk jerked open. I jumped out, expecting gentle hands. Instead, I hit the ground. I looked around. The man was nowhere to be seen. I looked everywhere. I’m not being dramatic. I was really worried. Suddenly, rough hands took me, and I got placed in the car. Soon, we were at the animal shelter. Lots of talking. I heard the man say, “I’m sorry, but I just can’t handle a dog.”
I finally got put into my cage. What happened? It was all so sudden. At least my girl would come, and I would be happy. At last, I could be happy. I have this weird feeling. When other people I love take care of me, like the manager, I don’t feel incredibly, off-the-world happy, and it doesn’t make me calm. But when I’m with my girl, I do. Kind of weird, I don’t know, sensation or something. I can’t explain it. But I might as well be happy rather than complaining.
From the very beginning, I have told you about me and my girl. I have told you how we were supposed to be together one day. But I have finally realized why there were tears. It’s because we are meant to be together, but we can’t. I can’t be with my girl. I’ve dreamed, and I’ve hoped. But that’s just not reality. And it’s never going to be. But, sometimes, the world will give you hope again. Hope for you to rise up. Sometimes the world will give you what you want. You just have to hope and love forever. Now, let’s get back to the story. The doorbell rang. It was a cloudy, gloomy day, but my girl could cheer me up. She walked in with a smile.
“Hey there, Charlie.” I yipped. She scratched me. “I got a surprise for you after, okay, Charlie?” I wagged my tail. She took a treat from her pocket and threw it at me. This was a trick she taught me. I opened my mouth and caught it. I nibbled on it. It tasted like beef jerky. It was too big for my small mouth. I struggled to get it into my mouth completely. I eventually just gave up. After my girl took me on my daily walk, she said, “All right, Charlie, ready for the surprise?”
I cocked my head to the side. She laughed. She cli pped on a bright blue collar and leash I had never seen before. She talked to the manager and walked out the door happily. She carried me to a blue car – it looked shiny – and put me into a box. What’s the deal with humans and boxes? But she opened it, and I popped my head out. I was next to my girl! After, like, five minutes, we got out, and I saw a nice home next to a lot of similar homes. There was a fence next to the door. It was big and brown and made of wood. She took me to the doorstep, and she took a small curvy thing, put it into another small curvy thing (it was smaller), and opened the door. Warmth. I jumped out of her arms. Then I realized something. I thought that me and my girl would never be together. That’s why there were tears sometimes. But, to my surprise, I was wrong. I am happy now. I am so happy now.