The lamp post desperately flicks on. Sound fills every inch of my shadowy bedroom, slamming through the air, shattering my ears. First louder, then quieter, as it echoes down the street towards the wooded darkness. I hear her paws dragging along the cement sidewalk.
Every single hair rises and forms a ridge down my back. I whine and for once, and I mean this is the only time ever, I don’t bark. In fact, I barely move. If I move it would find me too.
I want to go to full battle stations mode. I really do. I want to flatten my ears against my skull and stretch my paws wide open with my nails ready to defend. I want to lift my tail into the overconfident position high on my back and fly through the air in attack mode. But, I don’t.
I freeze. My world may be ending and I didn’t want to go down without a fight. I want to throw myself against the shadows bouncing off the walls. But, I don’t.
I freeze for the length of a single in-drawn breath, believing myself back in the kill shelter again. Self-preservation took over – for once. Straight ahead into a fight without thinking is usually how I live. Not this time.
I’d heard this kind of scream before. These aren’t the normal evening cat gang territory fight screams. They are much, much worse. Every living fur soul instinctively knows this difference when they hear it. I heard screams like this on my last, lonely night all those years ago at the kill shelter.
In a flash, I forget the past. I forget the pain. I forget the loneliness and fear. I remember where I am. I am in my forever home. I have friends – friends that love me and need me. I couldn’t let Duchess’ life go without a fierce battle. I suspect it’s no surprise if I tell you that I’m not very good at self-preservation.
I have to save Duchess. I fly off the bed, away from the window and the acrid smell of fear roiling in through the open window. I throw my whole body against the closed door. I’m desperate to get outside. Finally, my barking instinct engages. I run around the room chasing at – what – I don’t know.
All I know is that I have to save my friend now. Back on the bed, digging through the covers, I paw at Diana’s arm. I’m getting desperate to get outside. This is not the time for the canine good citizen training Mr. David from BarkBusters taught me. I bark and bark and paw and everything I can think of to wake Diana.
“What in the world? Sasha? Sasha? What’s going on?”
It came again. Duchess’ howl of pain and desperation. This time Diana hears it too. Diana rolls out of bed and turns on the light.
“Oh, my stars. What is happening?”
Groggy from sleep, Diana opens the door and I run out. I fly down the stairs, taking them two at a time in my hurry to reach the front door. Clicking on lights as she comes down right behind me, Diana rushes to the door but stops and opens the door to my crate.
“Sasha, in. Now.”
Oh, no. No way. I’d lived too much of my life in a crate. This time, I wasn’t going to get left behind. My friend is in trouble. I couldn’t give up. I have to help. I have to. I lie down flat on the floor, refusing to move.
Diana realizes instantly I am in no mood to be crated. There is some rational thinking going on in that round head of hers. Sometimes in the past, I’ve had my doubts.
“Ok, ok. Fine. There’s no time to argue with you, Sasha. Where is your harness? Your leash?”
I run back to the steps and touch my nose to the harness and leash. We put it there every night after our walk, but she never remembers. She is forever asking where we left it. Telling me we can’t go for a walk until I’m in my harness and the leash is clipped on.
Her hands shake as she slips my harness over my head and clips it firmly into place. Weirdly, I don’t feel the normal push click of my matching purple leash, the leash with the cute little white daisy’s embroidered on it, in the harness ring.
This hand shaking stuff scares me though. If Diana is afraid, there really is something awful happening outside the door. I may not want to see it. But I have to. Duchess is a member of my pack. You always help your pack members. Always. I have responsibilities on Cherry Wood Lane.
I run back to the door, dragging the partially clipped leash behind me. I whimper and jump up and down, anxious to be out there. Out where I can save Duchess.
Based on what you just learned in today’s post, the Pals would like you to:
- Think really hard and list every member of your pack. Who is in your pack? Your parents? Your sister? Brother? Friends? Your dog? Your stuffed toys? Your pack will be different from every other person in the world. Remember, there are no wrong answers.
- Sasha tells us that Duchess is a member of her pack. For Sasha, being in a pack means friendship, loyalty and safety. Share 3 words that describe what being in a pack means to you.
Leave us your thoughts and answers to these two questions in the comment section below. We promise to read every single comment and will even answer some.
Paw & Wing & Tread Hugs