It was warm by the Aga, warm piled up with Old Gruff and Angus, the moon casting a peaceful eye through the thin gingham. Old Gruff yelped in his sleep, twitched through his rabbit-chasing dreams, his claws raking my neck.

The pain took me back, back to that child with her pinching fingers and biting teeth. "Naughty puppy!" she'd admonished "There now, I've bitten you back." Then she'd sat on the steps and cuddled me. I'd licked her pink face; got slapped for that. Out she'd flounced, slamming the gate.

Hunched in the kennel, I shivered. Rain dribbled through the roof, wind stabbed in. I longed for my brothers and sisters. Where were they? Had they been chosen by children, just as I'd been chosen by Little Miss Pink?

The kitchen door opened. He was coming. Scampering to the gate I wagged and wagged, paws scrabbling at the wire. He'd brought me here in his posh, warm Range Rover. He'd love me.

His fat hand pushed me back, threw a handful of biscuits into the yard.

Without a word he hurried in, collar high against the wind. That night it snowed.

As grey streaks brushed the sky, he came again, tossed in a turkey bone, and left. Later, Little Miss Pink brought a boy to see me. He brought a ball, threw it for me, kicked it for me. Kicked me. Little Miss Pink giggled. They left - left me with a turkey bone and bruises. I heard the Range Rover start up. Wagged and wagged at the gate. Were they taking me home? Was I going home? No. Off they drove - him, Little Miss Pink, the kicking boy and a lady with long, yellow hair and red nails. I hadn't seen her before.

It was ages before I saw her again. That was when the man came. He knocked at the kitchen door. I wagged and wagged at the yard gate, scrabbling my paws on the wire. He spoke kindly; spoke sternly to her when she came. "Your dog," he said, "could I take a look at her?" He showed her a card. "I can't open that gate," she replied. "My nails aren't dry. What's it about?"

He came into my yard: rubbed my ears, felt my ribs, spoke gently. Then he looked around, retched at the filth, picked his way through the piles to the old tank from which I drank, stroked away the slime from the surface, huffed and grunted as he made notes. I followed him to my kennel. The roof had collapsed by then, held only by a web of felt, rain puddled on the concrete. He sighed. And then he left, left with me.

It was warm by the Aga, warm piled up with Old Gruff and Angus, the moon casting a peaceful eye through the thin gingham. Old Gruff stretched again. I snuggled into him, sighed. Tomorrow we'd be chasing rabbits. My other life was over.

Rescue Dog

You have no rights to post comments