Shep sat in his lonely cage with thoughts rolling in his head. He stared at his brown paws, finally tired of tearing at the door of his cage and continued to wonder why he was unable to control the anger that burned within him. What was happening to him? He observed the other dogs at all times. When alone, some dogs would sleep; some think, and others play within their confined space. During feeding time, most would sit and wait until the man was finished and had relocked their cage before eating, some would immediately rush to their food bowl and start eating from it before it was even full, while the more aggressive ones would try to make the man’s hand a part of their meal.
None of the dogs seemed to excessively escape as he had tried to do. It was an odd…feeling almost. Whenever a human would walk by, a fiery rage would instantly ignite within him. Why was this? Shep thought silently to himself, trying to make sense of his life.
There were also the two white-coated people.
Shep had seen them in his dreams, and they had felt real. Were they real? Were they his…memories? He could see them in a fog as dreams usually are and he could not quite portray their faces. But they were there, and they felt real…
– – –
“The results were a negative. What are we to do now?”
“Try again of course. Maybe if we alter this part just a bit. What do you think?”
“Yeah, yeah. I see your point! That might just work!”
“Well, we will never know until we try.”
“Is he ready?”
“He should be fine. I think that he has recovered from last time.”
“Good! Then we should start right away.”
– – –
Shep awoke to a long howl. There was a dog in the cage beside him who had just been brought in earlier that day and he was taking his capture a little rough. He made it hard for Shep to sleep, so he decided to lie and think over his complicated dreams. There was not much else to do in this place. There was a small window on the wall overhead the cages on the opposite side of his hallway that roughly showed him what time of day it was. A faint glow met his eyes as the sun glowed off of the moon. Blue light spilled into his cage and filled the building with mystery. Parts of his previous life were coming to him in pieces.
Resting in the moonlight, Shep began to see the two humans more clearly. One was a man with short brown hair and the other a blonde-haired woman with her hair pulled back in a ponytail. They both wore long white lab-coats and were in a large building, much like the one he was in now. So shiny, so bright, so…white. It was a lab.
– – –
“Did you send in the results?”
“Of course I did! I am just waiting now…”
“Waiting is the worst part.”
“Are they here yet?”
“Yes! Let’s see here…”
“I hoped it work this time!”
“Same here…Positive! Yes!”
“Really? This is amazing! It actually worked! It <em>actually</em> worked!”
“I think it is time for another test.”
“Yes. I’ll get him ready.”
– – –
Shep’s dark eyes opened in alarm to see two large blue eyes staring back at him. He jumped up in surprise and began to growl a bit until he realized that it was a young girl. The sun had risen enough to show him that the child was just tall enough to peer into his cage and had two small blonde pigtails emerging from both sides of her head. “Mommy, Mommy! Look at this puppy here!” the girl protested while tugging on her mother’s long skirt.
The girl’s mother turned to look at the dog that her cheerful daughter had begun to fascinate at and asked, “Do you like this puppy?” The child peered into Shep’s cage, trying to squeeze her little hands through the steel bars to swipe at his face. Shep did not like this, and crouched back into the dark corner of his cage as far as he could. “He seems a little shy,” stated the mother. “Maybe we should try for another dog; one that would be a little more friendly.” The mother grabbed a hold of her child’s small wrist and drug her farther down the lit hallway to a different cage. “Well how about this puppy?” she asked while staring at a small dachshund. “Excuse me? Could I please check out this dog?” she asked reaching her hand out and motioning for the man in the overalls.
The man who had been sitting behind a small desk reading a magazine placed his reading materiel down and grabbed a pair of keys from one of the drawers with a moan and a roll of his eyes. As he passed Shep’s cage, Shep finally caught on to what was happening. “Which one is it ma’am?” asked the man, jingling through his ring of keys.
“This one right here,” she pointed. After unlocking the cage, the small, brown dog exploded into the lady’s crossed arms with a high-pitched yelp. He scrambled all over her shoulders, head, and arms, making it very difficult for the lady to keep her balance. Wagging his tail and licking her face excitedly, he made her angry enough to dump him into the man’s hold. “I…I don’t think this is the right dog for us,” she declared while wiping the saliva from her face. “We need a much…calmer dog.”
Shep knew exactly what he was to do. This was his chance to get out of here! He gave a quiet whimper, persuading the little girl to return to his cage. Walking from his corner to the door to let the girl swat at his nose, he showed the mother that he was friendly and well behaved. The mother saw this, and asked, “How about that dog there?”
“The German shepherd?” asked the man. He walked to the cage and unlocked it before returning the keys to his overall pocket. Shep slowly strolled out of his prison and paced around the child. Trying to look like the best choice for the family, he picked up his ears as tall as he could and put a smile on his face. He lied at the child’s feet and looked up to the mother. He wanted out of this place and would do anything to avoid being “put down”!
“Hmm…” began the woman. “He doesn’t seem too hyper or shy actually. Lilly, do you like this dog?” she asked her child. The child who was busy petting Shep down his black back glanced up at her questioning mother with a nod. “Does he come with that collar?” she asked while noticing the blue wrapped around his neck.
The man with the keys scratched his head and answered. “Well he has not been claimed by anyone, and we are giving him three days until we put him down. If you adopt him, I guess you get to keep the collar also.”
The tall woman walked to the lying dog and read the collar aloud. “Shep? Do you want to take Shep home?” she asked Lilly. “Will you take care of him?”
The girl jumped up with happiness and exclaimed, “Yes, mommy! Yes, yes!” Her cheeks turned bright red and her eyes glowed like the sun.
“I think we have made our choice. We will take him.”
As Shep was walked to the front desk calmly, he knew that his plan had succeeded. He smiled to himself as he realized…he was leaving!