Date: December, 2016
Subject: [WP] In the canine world, Humans are celestial beings who live for 500 years.
“Come!” The paw on the back of my head scratches through my fur. I snap at Dodger. He still treats me like a pup, and he is old. Old or not, he manages to catch me and roll me over. I bat at his chest and he snaps and growls near my ears until I surrender.
“Insolent pup,” he growls again as he lets me up.
“I’m not a pup!” I stand up and shake. “I have earned my name. The Lady gave me a name!”
“Dodger! Sapphire!” The girl’s voice from inside makes me perk up my ears.
“The Lady calls again. Come!” He turns back toward the house and trots over. I follow, and playfully snap at his golden tail. He ignores me because I am obeying.
The Lady opens the door. The youngest. Not quite 100 years yet. She just came of age last week, and there was a big celebration. I was quite popular that night, as her friends gave me many treats.
There was talk among the adults about her going away. She said I would go with her, and that made me happy. I wag my tail at her. The Lady pats my head, but then she kneels down and hugs Dodger. The Lady is crying.
“What’s wrong?” I ask her. She only reaches out and pats my head again. She doesn’t understand me yet. Not like the Master. The Master knows what we say. He understands Dodger more easily.
And then I notice that Dodger is not wagging his tail. He is also sad.
“Dodger?” I demand. I muscle my way into the hug and lick the Lady’s face. She laughs a little.
“Dodger, what’s wrong?”
“I have to go see the Master,” he says. He breaks away from the hug and leaves me with the Lady, who hugs me now instead.
I sniff her. She smells of the chemicals that Master smells like all the time now. I listen. I can hear the Mistress talking, talking to the Peddler of the chemicals. I nudge out of the hug to follow Dodger, up the stairs, up to Master’s room.
“Hey Sapphire,” says the Mistress when I enter. She rubs me behind the ears the way I like. I tell her thank you.
“Beautiful Husky,” says the Peddler. I greet him and he pets me. He seems all right, but for the odd smell.
“She belongs to my granddaughter.” The Mistress’s voice sounds odd, like she is in distress, but I smell no danger.
“Ah.” The Peddler is packing up. “If you need anything else…”
“Thank you.” The Mistress walks out with him.
Dodger is on the bed. He lays his head on Master’s chest, who looks asleep. The chemicals make me want to sneeze, but Dodger had told me that is disrespectful.
There’s another smell too: it’s been present for a long time, but today it is stronger than before.
I walk up to the side of the bed. “Dodger!” I speak loudly to get his attention.
He opens his big brown eyes. “Quiet, pup,” he says. “And go away.”
“No! Tell me what is going on. Why does the Master smell like this? Why is my Lady crying?” I put my paws on the bed to look at Master. His skin is very sallow and thin. The veins stand out.
“I am the Seventh,” says Dodger. He lifts his head from Master’s chest. “My family was made part of the Master’s family generations ago, when he was just a pup.”
Dodger looks at his Master’s face. “The First was named Dodger as well. He named me, knowing I would be the last.”
“The last?” I whine. “Dodger, what are you talking about?”
Dodger sighs. “You’re too young to understand.”
“I am not a puppy!” I say it loudly. “I am not!”
The Master opens his eyes, and I wonder if I have made a mistake. But he laughs and reaches out to scratch my ears. Like the Mistress, he knows how to scratch properly.
“Hullo, Sapphire,” he says. I wag my tail. “Be a good dog for Jenny, mm?”
“I will,” I tell him. I feel Dodger looking at me, all solemn.
“Good girl,” says Master. “I don’t have long before I go. Dodger will take care of me.”
I hear a car pull up the driveway outside. It’s a large one. I run to the window and look out: it’s big and white, and strange humans in uniform get out. The Mistress begins to talk with them. I run back to the bed.
I look at Dodger. “He can’t leave. You can’t leave!” I whine.
“Hey, hey,” says Master. He catches me near the ears again, gently. “I told you, Dodger will take care of me.”
I whine at them both. “You can’t leave!”
The men come upstairs with a bed on wheels. The Lady comes with them and takes me aside.
“Gotta move the dog.”
“I’ll move him,” says the Mistress. She lifts Dodger off the bed. He seems older than he did a little while ago. I whine at the Lady, but she just holds me and cries.
“He can’t leave!” I tell her, but she doesn’t understand yet. “They won’t bring him back!”
But he does leave. The Lady just holds me and weeps while the vehicles drive away.
We go downstairs and outside. Dodger walks down the driveway, following the vehicles.
“Dodger, wait!” I strain against the Lady’s hands. She calls for Dodger, and he waits a moment. I get free.
“Dodger, we have to bring the Master back!” I tell him. I could still hear the vehicles on the road. The Lady was running up behind me.
He wags his tail at me. “He told you to be a good dog and take care of the Lady. Be good, Sapphire.” He licks my face and runs off, golden fur shining in the sunlight.
Lady holds onto me and calls for Dodger, but he disobeys. I had never seen him disobey before. He had never called me by my name before.
I only saw Dodger one more time: we found him at the meadow where the Master’s body was laid, curled against the crossed stone that marked it.
He was the Seventh of his family. I am the First of mine.