Domino

domino cover3

 

A scrawny black-and-white dog, about eight months old, who had no name which she knew of, wandered out of the forest she had lived in almost since she could remember. There on the side of the rounded hill beside the forest, she saw three humans. One of them was smaller than the other two. She liked the look of the small one, and could tell he liked her, so she crept cautiously down the slope. She still remembered the day when the big man with gray hair growing from his chin had put her down in the dark, scary, forest as a tiny puppy, and shouted and waved sticks until she ran away into the spooky woods. But these were friendly humans.

 

As a 10-year-old boy I went for a hike with my family at a lake in Sonoma County. All my life, I had terribly wanted a dog. I did not care what breed, what size, or anything, as long as it was a Canis Lupus. On that particular day I was looking for a sharp-shinned hawk flight feather, but I did not find one. Instead, when we were almost back at the parking lot, I saw a skinny shape slip into view from behind a bush.  “Look!” – I said to my parents. I pointed at the animal: “Coyote!”
“No,” – my dad whispered. “It’s a stray.”

 

DOMINO

 

It did turn out to be a dog, the most charming Border Collie you have ever seen!  “We will take her to the Humane Society this evening,” – my mom said. And that is exactly what we did. Getting her to follow us went fine, when we held out a piece of cheese from a sandwich she came, but putting into the car was difficult. At first she did not even want us to touch her, only growl at the car, but in a minute she let us stroke her.  Her hair needed quite a bit of brushing! I tried picking her up gently, but she whimpered until I put her down. Finally, I sacrificed my last piece of tasty cheese from my sandwich, climbed into the car and held it out for the dog. She jumped into the car, and I gave her the cheese while my dad quickly closed the door. We were in the car when I actually realized what a nice dog she was. She had a perfect black-and-white face, and white tipped tail. One of her eyes was a deep ocean blue, and the other was like melting chocolate.

Just as we got out of the car, I asked for the fifth time, “Are you sure we could not keep her?”
“No, we can’t.” – My dad said. “It is… You know that it is hard to keep a dog.”
“No, I don’t. “- I muttered.
As we handed her over to the lady on duty, I looked into the dog’s eyes. She was terrified! The blue eye looked at me as if I had betrayed her. But the brown one seemed to say ‘Do not worry! I will be back!’

 

The humans wanted to put her into a huge metal thing on wheels that they said was friendly, but she growled at it all the same. But the rich smell of Gouda was overwhelming, and finally she jumped up. When she turned around, she found that the door was closed. She thought how strange it was when humans were not barking out loud, they were barking in their heads instead of thinking properly. The mind of a human must be a very noisy place! About fifteen minutes later, they came to a huge building, where a lady took her away! She did not like the lady. At first all she did was put her here and there and show off her teeth. Then the lady spoke to her in such a way that made her laugh if a dog can do that. Then, even worse, the lady picked up a tiny metal branch and poked her! Now, you can do many things to that dog and get away with it, but this was something quite different. She howled and clawed and bit until the lady let her go. When she did, the dog leaped out the window, and sprinted toward the direction the humans went. By the time she was beginning to get hungry, she was galloping into her humans’ yard. The little human was waiting for her right at the door.

 

I saw the little dog coming, and I rushed outside. She ran into my arms. “She is yours, you can keep her,” – my mom said as the dog licked at my face. That magnificent Border Collie will be known forever as Domino, a dog truly, like no other.

 

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