Emma, the little black and tan dachshund woke into the silence that was her everyday life. She could see the younger dogs leap from their perches and run barking through the house. Sometimes she followed, sometimes she just lay back down. She didn’t know their names, just their smells. But that was fine. She was content.
It hadn’t always been that way. In the beginning there was sound, and there was Vic and Sarah. They told her she was a good girl, and called fetch when they threw her ball. She loved to stand on Vic’s lap as he drove the car. He’d roll the window down on sunny days and she’d stick her head out and let her ears flap in the wind. She smelled the world as Vic drove through it.
“Careful not to fall out,” he’d say, and brace her with his arm. Vic would never let that happen, she trusted him. He was so big. A giant. So was Sarah, but they were gentle, and she knew they would never hurt her.
Emma knew something was different when they stopped taking her for walks. They looked tired, and Sarah quit sitting in her chair. She stayed in bed. Vic cooked for her and helped her walk to the bathroom. Emma knew she must stay out of the way, that Sarah could fall. So she did. Sometimes, she stood on her back legs against Sarah’s bed and she would lift her so they could lay together. Or, she’d jump into Vic’s lap as he watched television. But it wasn’t the same.
One day Vic lifted her onto Sarah’s bed. Emma looked up into her face, it was different, and Sarah started crying. When she hugged her, Sarah’s arms felt thin and weak. Emma tried to lick away her tears but they just came faster. That was the last time she saw her. There were days after that, strangers came to feed her. She was lonely.
Emma didn’t notice at first. Her world was so small, the yard, her bed, sometimes Vic’s lap. He never drove the car, and she never felt the wind in her face. Then one day everything was silent. It took Vic a while to realize. She saw his lips move and he lifted her into his arms and hugged and kissed her. After that it was gentle nudges if he wanted her to do something. But that was ok. She was just happy to be with him.
One day Vic opened the door to a lady. Emma picked up her ball and dropped it in front of her. The lady smiled and tossed it. She did this a few times and stroked her fur. Emma liked her. She came everyday and would toss the ball. One day she stayed. Men came with a bed, they moved Vic and Sarah’s chairs and put him into it. The lady let Emma sit with her. Sometimes, she’d let her lay with Vic, but all he did was sleep.
One morning the lady had tears in her eyes. She hugged Emma, set her on Vic’s chest and stroked her. He felt funny. The lady cried, and Emma blinked. Men filled the room and Vic and the bed were gone. There was only the lady and her. Emma stayed with the lady for a while, but it was different. Then the lady took her to another place. She hugged Emma, cried and walked away.
Emma wasn’t scared, but she didn’t know anybody. There were other dogs. She learned their smells and slept on a blanket in a cage. After many days the cage was opened. She was carried to a grassy yard where there was a man, a lady and another dog. Emma sniffed them, they petted her and threw the ball. They petted her some more and the new lady lifted her and hugged her and took her away. She let her sit on her lap as the man drove, but he didn’t roll down the window.
They brought her to a new place and she was happy. After a while she found she was tired most of the time. Her stomach hurt and she couldn’t see like she used to. Emma still liked to go for rides, and the man let her stick her head out the window. She felt his arm brace her so she didn’t go too far. Her ears flapped in the wind, and she smelled the world as the man drove through it.
Emma walked through the doggy door into the backyard. She had to go to the bathroom but she dreaded it. It was so painful, it made her shake, sometimes she vomited.
“Are you alright?”
Emma jumped. She hadn’t heard a voice for a long time. She looked all around her and sniffed, but there was nobody. She hurried back into the house and burrowed under the blankets. Her food didn’t taste good so she stopped eating. The lady took her to a building that smelled funny. They poked her. Emma shivered, and watched the lady’s lips move, her lady started to cry.
She got special food, then it didn’t taste good, and going to the bathroom was even more painful. Emma heard the voices almost every time she went to the backyard. There were three of them. They told her things would be ok. They told her they were waiting for her. The rest of the time Emma’s world was silent, and it grew smaller. Her bed, the water bowl and a few steps outside the doggy door.
Emma couldn’t get up. She wanted to, but her legs were too weak. The man pet her and cried. He left and came back with the lady. She cried too. Emma blinked as the world went by. She was in the car, but she couldn’t poke her head outside. The lady hugged her and stroked her fur. Then she was in the funny smelling building again. They put her blanket on a metal table and laid her on it. Emma heard the lady and man’s voices for the first time.
“We love you Emma,” they said. “Thank you for being such a good dog.” They stroked her side. She lifted her head and felt something poke her.
Emma opened her eyes and three dogs were staring at her. “Hi Emma, do you remember us?”
“No, but I’ve heard your voices.” Emma looked around and noticed she was in the backyard. She saw the dogs from the house explode out the doggy door and bark at the fence.
She looked at the two red, and one black and tan dachshunds gathered around her. “Who are you?”
“We’re the other dogs.”
“The other dogs?”
“Yes, you’re one of us now.”
“I’m one of you?”
They all nodded. “All dogs that are loved never go away. We just wait for our people to come and get us.” The three dachshunds turned to the gate.
Emma jumped to her feet and ran happily barking as Vic and Sarah walked into the backyard. She jumped into Vic’s arms. He hugged and kissed her while Sarah stroked her fur.
“Look Emma,” Sarah pulled a ball from her pocket. “Come on girl. We’ve been waiting for you for such a long time. Let’s go play.”