Some bark dogs are the most loyal animals. I like to think this is true. But then again I guess I am slightly biased, being a dog and all. Sorry, I am being rather rude and my mumma always taught me not to be rude. Let me introduce myself.
My name is Ruby. At least that is what the humans call me. I have tiger brindle coloured hair with some white and big brown eyes. I have big feet which aren’t very feminine but I think that’s because I’m still growing. At least I hear the humans bark “hopefully she will grow into those feet and be a nice big dog” and I’m assuming that’s what that means.
They also bark I’m a staffy cross, whatever that means. I’m not very tall yet but my mumma was a big dog so I hope I get to be big like her. And she was so pretty. I miss my mumma. She died when I was six months old. The humans bark she died when I was six weeks old when they are standing over me talking about me but I know I was six months so I think they can’t count.
I don’t much like the humans. They are mean and when they come near I feel pain. These humans that hold me captive now aren’t so bad. They feed me every morning and night and give me lots of blankets to sleep on. But they try touching me and it feels good so far but I know it will hurt eventually. Their big paws always bring pain. I just cower as low as I can and think of my mumma.
I remember the day my mumma died very clearly. Those men kept beating her with a stick and kicking her. It was really mean and I wanted to help my mumma but she told me to hide so I did. But then they pointed a big stick at her and I heard a bang. My mumma went quiet after that bang and it was just my littermates that I could hear. Then they went quiet too and it was just me.
I went a whole month without food or water I just curled up against my mumma’s cold body and slept and whimpered for my mumma to wake up but she never did. Then one day, when the sky was crying with me, these humans came and got me. I wanted to run and hide but I didn’t want to leave my mumma so I just cowered against her and begged them not to hurt me.
Their big paws picked me up and held me in front of their faces and then they wrapped me in a blanket and held me. They kept barking stuff but I couldn’t understand their language then so I couldn’t tell you what they were barking.
I’ve been here at this place for two years now. The humans bark “if she doesn’t get adopted soon she will have to be put down” but I don’t understand what that means. I’m already on the ground I can’t get down another level.
Today I’m scared though. The humans have taken me from my bed and put me in a jail. They bark I’m going to my new forever home but I don’t know what forever means. Then a human came and got me and took me away. I whimper in my little jail but he just keeps looking at me and barking “I’m gonna take good care of you Ruby. You are a beautiful girl aren’t you” and other silly things. I already know I’m beautiful I look just like my mumma and she was beautiful. What a silly thing to bark but I don’t tell him that.
After a while he carries my jail into a big house and lets me out. He barks this is my new forever home. There that word is again. I hope that word doesn’t bring pain.
After being here for 42 years I have learnt to trust this human. Other humans call him Ethan but I call him Master. It’s a very affectionate name that I call him much better then Ethan. I love Master almost as much as I love my mumma. He feeds me every morning and night real yummy food and he has never forgotten to feed me. He also takes me out on long walks and to the water place. I love the water it’s fun to play in. He gives me heaps of pats and his paws have never hurt me. I also like getting cuddles in front of the fire when it’s a cold night.
In the past seven years though there has been another human come into our home. She has long blond hair and mean eyes. I don’t think she likes me very much but that’s okay because I don’t like her either. Sometimes she hits me hard with her paws or kicks me when she walks past and it hurts. She only does it when Master isn’t around so he can’t protect me.
And just recently her tummy has been getting really fat. I think she is eating too much food and not playing in the water enough. She barks things to Master that I don’t like. She barks “You have to get rid of that mutt. She will attack the baby”. I don’t know what a baby is would I would never hurt anything! Master just looks at me sadly.
Today he barked he would find me a new home. I barked loudly that I don’t want a new home but he just looked at me sadly and that other human with the fat belly barked she will take me to the pound to be re-homed. Master just patted me on my head and left the room. I tried to follow to ask what was happening but he closed the door in my face.
Now he’s giving me cuddles in that moving thing they call a car. He had water coming out of his eyes and this scares me. I’ve never seen water coming out of his eyes. I lick the water away but it tastes funny. He barks that I have to be good for my new owners and that he will miss me then he goes and shuts me in the moving thing. That mean human drives me away barking horrible things the whole time but I just look out the back to see if master is following.
Soon she stops the car and pushes me out. She kicks me and barks “you can survive on the streets you ugly mutt. Or die. I don’t care” and leaves in the moving thing. I feel really scared and want Master to come get me but he never does. I wonder what I did wrong to make Master hate me.
After walking the streets for about a year I get picked up by some humans. They feed me and put me in a jail. It reminds me of the place I stayed at when I was much younger. The humans look at me and examine me with their paws. It doesn’t hurt but I’m still pretty scared. They bark if no one adopts me in the next seven days I will have to be put down.
There’s that saying again. I still don’t understand it. A whole four weeks past and no one comes to see me other than for my food and to let me out to run for a little while. I always ask to go to the water place when they let me out but they never take me. I really miss Master.
Then one day they take me out of my bed and to a big white room. They place me on a table and make me lie down. They stroke me with their big paws and bark stuff softly. I feel a sharp prickle and try get up because it hurt and it scared me but they just hold me down and stroke me with their big paws.
I start to feel real sleepy and think of cuddling Master in front of the fire at night. I like this thought. I miss Master.
"Painful Paws" by Eric Vasquez and Joseph Andrews
Rating - 145/200 Points
(Word limit Penalty - Minus 8 Points)
Final Rating - 137/200 Points
Judge - Mr. Mayank Sharma