The little dog was curious.
What was that smell? It had no experience with it. Was it food? Maybe- but it didn’t smell like the food in the dish, the dry stale chunks that it learned was all it must eat when in the warm place. Not from the trashcan, always full of fascinating morsels, but from the cold metal dish on the floor. Only eat from the cold metal dish.
Was this the smell of another beast, another dog or perhaps something altogether different? It was familiar with the other hounds on this street, they left their pungent scent everywhere. In fact, it was compelled to add its perfume at every stop where it smelled the leavings of another dog. Not something to think about, just do. The little dog didn’t spend much time outside, at least not alone like this. Usually it was tethered to the two-legs and led about slowly along the hard walking place, never allowed to just run and run, as it liked to do very much.
Today was different.
This morning after the ritual of scratching at the door, and being let out to take care of the important business, the two-legs didn’t call it back into the warm place with a whistle. The little dog became restless in the small fenced-in yard, and returned to the digging spot in the corner. After what seemed like a very long time digging in the soft fragrant earth, kicking up the soil and surprised insects into the bright morning sky, it had made a hole clear under the fence. The little dog stopped and blinked dirt out of its eyes, not quite understanding. Then the smell…What was that? As if led by the two-legs tether, the dog was under the fence and trotting briskly down the street. Something was not right about this. The little dog kept looking back toward home. Something not right, like when it did its important business inside the warm place. That time the two-legs barked loudly, and shoved the little dogs face into the mess. It didn’t mess inside the warm place today, yet it seemed that soon it would hear the loud bark of the two-legs regardless.
So the little dog hurried along. A fresh morning breeze lifted up the dry leaves ahead and the little dog began to run. THAT’S IT. There was no tether holding it back, connecting it to the oh-so-slow two-legs. Running was freedom! Faster and faster the little dog ran, and with every grateful breath it felt less apprehensive about the situation, and soon forgot all about the tether and the two-legs, and the cold metal bowl from which it must eat its dry stale food.
Soon the little dog was farther than it had ever traveled before. It had run past all the houses on the street, across the open place with the horrible loud things that rolled-with-no-legs, and now was in a grassy place with water near. It liked this place, there was no smell of the two-legs here, only the water and that odd smell. This place felt more like home than the warm place ever did. It was quiet and there was tall grass that smelled sweet and felt wonderful to roll in. The little dog headed toward the water, it was very thirsty after all that running. The water was cool and delightful, and tasted so much better than the water from the cold metal bowl. The little dog drank for a long time, and then burped. Later, it would be hungry, but not now.
Sated, the little dog walked back up the bank into the tall grass, where it caught wind of the smell again, stronger now. It pushed through the tall grass, delighting in the feeling of the grass softly brushing against it. Every sense was alive within the little dog. It was as content as it had ever been, and much more so than it had been in a long while. The grass gave way to scrubby brush, harder to push through, but now the smell was strongest, and before returning to the water place, the little dog was compelled to continue forward. There it was, up ahead. Large. Very large and intriguing. The little dog approached, sniffed. After a moment, the dog lifted a leg, marked the corpse and hurried on its way, satisfied.