Season: After Eight
Summary: Jack and Sam get a dog.
Author’s Note: This is the last story in the series and I dedicate it to Bookworm37, one of my loyal readers, who game me the idea. So consider this one a bonus story!
I guess matters could be worse. I could be scheduled for euthanasia instead of neutering. Although now that I think about it, maybe being put to sleep wouldn’t be so bad after all. Ouch!
The last few weeks have been hell, living on the streets and scrounging for leftovers inside trash cans and pizza boxes, hiding under overpasses to avoid the rain, fighting in the alleys for meager morsels, and suffering kicks, rocks and shoves as soon as I get close enough to start begging. Some people!
Yeah! Life is rough! It’s been like this ever since Alice passed away. She was nice. My owner was a lonely but affectionate widow who lavished love and attention on this handsome, champagne-colored pooch, a gift from her young, good-looking granddaughter, who wanted to cheer her up when her husband died. My former owners had not been as kind.
They had had a little terror they liked to call Carl and I had to call “The Evil One,” who used to jump on me and pull on my tail constantly. One good day he got me in a bad mood. I’d had enough, and I nipped at the little demon… and was promptly kicked out. Lucky for me, I was given to Alice’s granddaughter, who had recently visited and fallen in love with me.
You couldn’t blame the young woman, really. She was helpless against my charms. Believe you me, I can be charming when I want to! I also know a lot of tricks that get me fed here and there. And the young lady was loaded with treats!
I remember how I shamelessly wagged my tail, barked timidly, whined a little bit with my tongue lolling out, and acted really excited the moment her eyes would fall on me. She was mush in my paws in no time at all. So I was quite shocked when, after being given to her within weeks of her visit, she took me straight to her grandma’s house and dropped me off.
That first day, as I sniffed around and contemplated my new home, Alice’s dull eyes took me in and promptly filled up with tears. So I sadly laid my head on her knee and licked her hand, and we were best friends from that moment on.
I miss Alice, but she’s gone now. She went to sleep and I couldn’t wake her up. I hope she’s happy wherever she is now. I know she’s happier than I am, that’s for sure!
Here I am, freshly scrubbed and trimmed, waiting for my date with Mr. Scalpel. It’s a depressing situation, but there’s not much I can do about it. I might as well… hold your horses! What do we have here?! Hubba, hubba, hubba! The day is looking brighter already! Time to perform, Mr. Mutt! Hot blond bombshell approaching!
“Oh, Jack, look at this one!” she says, kneeling before me and giving me her hand to sniff. Then those long fingers dig into my fur and… ahhh, I’m a goner! She smells sweeeeet!
“He looks like a good possibility,” “Jack” answers, looking non-committal. I look at him and bark playfully. He narrows his eyes at me, then he says, “He’s got personality, but he’s a little too old, don’t you think?”
I bark again, a little indignantly now. ‘You’ve seen better days, too, pal!’
“Awww, but he’s so cute! He’s not too big nor too small, his coloring is unusual, and look,” she coos as I lick her hand devotedly, “he’s so affectionate!”
“It’s hard not to be affectionate with you, Carter,” “Jack” says, and I have to agree. No great effort from here, that’s the truth.
My intended looks up and gives him a blinding smile, one I wish she’d aim in my direction. So I bark again, pawing insistently against the lock of my cage. I add a pathetic little whine for good measure.
“I really like him,” my beautiful damsel — and very soon owner — purrs as her hand continues to give me a much needed scratch behind my left ear. I can see “Jack” caving. He’s not looking at me at all. He’s looking at her, and he’s melting, slowly but surely.
“If this is the one you like, then…” he starts to say, but then blondie stops scratching my ear and again looks up at him with wide blue eyes.
“No… I mean… if you want to keep looking…” she stammers, and I think I’m going to suffer a conniption! Can’t she see I’m the best there is? Who cares what he wants? It’s clear that she’s the boss! ‘Put your foot down, woman! I’m yours!!!’
“I like him, too.”
‘Liar!’ But it works for me!
“Are you sure?”
‘Yes, he’s sure! He’s sure!’
“Yeah. He’s got intelligent eyes. And maybe he’s not as old as he looks. Once those scratches heal and he grows all his fur back, he’ll look much better.”
Look who’s talking! ‘You could use a makeover yourself, mister! I don’t know what this knockout sees in you!’
“Let’s get him, then. It feels right. I’m in love already,” my golden goddess decides, and I’m the happiest seven-year-old puppy alive!
“He’s scheduled for neutering later today. You could pick him up tomorrow morning,” an unwelcome nasal voice says, and my ears droop.
“That won’t be necessary. We’ll take him now,” “Jack” says, and when I look at him again, I find him suddenly quite attractive.
“Sorry, but we’re supposed to…” the young man that bathed me tries to argue, but my beloved master interrupts.
“I know, but I’m sure we can make an exception. There’ll be no cutting. We take him now.” His tone allows for no argument whatsoever, and I see the kid wilt under my new and all-powerful master’s uncompromising look.
‘You tell him, boss!’
“Okay. I’ll start with the paperwork.” If he had a tail, it would be stuck between his legs as he unlocks my cage and snaps a leash on my collar. Then he hands it over to my precious fair-haired new owner and quickly leaves the room.
‘That’s my master, everyone! His name is Jack, and he’s one lucky guy!’ Carter, the gorgeous woman by his side, is looking at him with adoration. His arms wrap around her and he hugs her tightly as she kisses his neck. I’m feeling a little left out, so I bark.
“Someone’s in a hurry,” Jack says. He pats my head and looks into my eyes. Yep! There’s a connection there. We understand each other, and of course I’m in a hurry! This place gives me the heebby-jeebbies! ‘Take me home, Master!’
“Yes, I am,” SHE growls against his neck, and I realize there may be less of a language barrier than I had thought. Oh… oh! Serious nuzzling going on! I bark.
“Let’s get out of here,” Jack decides, and I bark again, in complete agreement. Carter laughs at my exuberance and kneels again to ruffle my fur, which feels like heaven. Oh, yeah!
“What are we going to call him?” my lovely new proprietor asks, and I’m all ears because I liked neither name I had before. “Sparky” is for sissies, and “Tiny” was rather insulting. I look up to my invincible master expectantly.
“He’s really bright, this one,” he comments, and I bark again, wagging my tail in approval. The man is not only handsome. He’s as smart as humans come! “How about ‘Einstein’?”
“Einstein?” She makes a face.
‘Yes, my princess. I agree. Not a cool name at all!’
“Oh, because Schroedinger is sooo much better! You decide, then,” Jack whines, almost as well as I do.
Carter giggles and plays with me while my new master pays the fee and takes the few papers the pimply-faced teenager hands to him. “Okay,” she says as she shakes her head at him. “We’ll give it some thought.”
“Uh-oh,” Jack replies as we walk out of the building into sunlit freedom. I don’t know what that means, but she lightly punches the arm she’s hanging on to.
I just happily follow them to their vehicle, a black truck. Yeah! Now we’re talking! A man’s car, not a cutesy VW bug or a cluttered minivan.
I waste no time jumping into the truck and taking my place in the back seat. Jack and Carter look at each other and smile; then they follow me in. She slides over to his side and lifts her face invitingly, the sultry siren. He grins at her and presses his lips to her mouth. Veeery sweet. These two are ga-ga over each other, that much is obvious! ‘Okay, now, enough kissing. Time to take me home. Hello-o?’ I bark!
“Okay, Bud, listen up! No interrupting when I smooch with Carter. Is that clear?” Jack reprimands. I bark again.
‘Crystal, my commandant! But, can we get going?’
“I think you just named him!” Carter says.
“You called him ‘Bud’, and I think he likes it,” she answers, beaming at me.
‘If you like it, my queen, I like it, too!’
“It does suit him,” Jack comments with a pensive look; then he ignores me to pull her face toward his and starts kissing her again.
I wisely get comfortable on the back seat and settle down to wait. I have my orders.