Part I – The Dog:
(A man is sat in the park looking rather glum with his hands in his pockets, he is looking at the floor to begin with, then as a passerby passes with their dog he begins to talk.)
“I remember when I got her, my dog I mean, my auntie is a dog breeder. Her favourite dog Fudge gave birth to five beautiful pedigrees and one little runt.
The runt is always naturally pushed out and starved, then it dies. I was visiting after a week or so of them being born, and I seen her! Pushed out of the group already. Evolution I guess. Survival of the fittest! We talk about these things with indifference, but when it is staring at us in the eyes, it is heart breaking and our humanity takes over! It often wins out.
I took pity. Picked her up and asked my aunt if I could buy her, she replied “You can have that little missy for free.” in a cheerful manner, “She would only be put down or starved anyway, and I breed for money and can’t be charitable to every runt Fudge makes!”
What she said made sense, but I still resented her cold words because of how cheerfully they were delivered.
But anyway, I took that little runt and named her Naomi, a human name I know but I always liked it, so I thought if I have to brand this little dog with a name, it might as well be an endearing name that I like. Which to be honest was embarrassing when I had to scold or shout at or for her in public.”
(Begins to smile a little while speaking.)
“Screaming ‘Naomi, don’t you dare poo there!’ is more embarrassing than say ‘Spike, no pooing!’, not much less embarrassing but I’m sure I make sense”
(Laughs a little at his remark, then carries on talking in a cheerful manner.)
“Surprisingly, raising her was easy. I think because she was a runt and cast out, she was timid, which meant that she didn’t do much other than seek affection and after shouting at her once, she never did it again. Just raising my voice terrified her, so after a few months she never did anything to raise my voice about.”
(Carries on talking cheerily and looks up while talking.)
“I remember her first walk, I didn’t take her out for a while because of how timid she is and I thought maybe that outside, other dogs and other people would terrify her. But no, I put a collar and lead on her, and she walked around the house as if with pride. And then! I actually took her outside, she reminded me of a child. So excited and adventurous. Happy to sniff each and every blade of grass, which I am sure she would have done if I hadn’t have tugged her to follow me. At this point she was a little bigger, but looking more like a puppy still, she had yet to grow into her feet. They seemed massive, as well as her ears, and she walked like a scuba diver on land with his flippers on. It was adorable, completely ill-suited for survival, but I think that is why we find it cute and have the urge to protect and help. For a tiny weak dog, she had an odd habit. The moment she was to see a bigger dog, she would stand still like a statue and stare with erect ears and not moving her tail, and then…Pounce! Forgetting she was on a lead and getting almost strangled by it. A German Shepard versus a tiny little floppy eared, big footed puppy scuba runt. I just picked her up and walked off with her as if nothing had happened.
I then started to take her out for a walk daily, for longer and longer walks. We have a huge field near us and at the edge of the field is a little pathway that leads through a small woods. I would let her off her lead and let her sniff whatever she wanted…Apart from other dogs, she always ran around all excited, the moment I seen another dog, I would put the lead back on before she ran at them like a crazy psychopath pup!
The only thing she didn’t seem to like was other dogs, and was oddly terrified of cats. The first one she ever seen was when I was walking home. I let her off the lead as we were almost home. She spotted a cat and ran at it. The cat stood its ground and dug its claws into her face. She yelped, ran and jumped at my chest and ever since has never even looked at another cat. She just lowers her face and looks timid.”
(Looks glum again.)
“Well, that was until earlier today…I was taking Naomi for a walk and let her odd the lead as usual when we entered the woods. She went off to sniff something and I carried on walking as I always do. I called her a few times, carried on walking then got a little worried. I called her louder and nothing happened. No noise, no little flipper feet noises. So I went back to look, nothing!
I walked all the way back to the park on the field, still no sign. Then I sat down on this very bench I’m on now. I was just staring at the field when something caught my eye. Something shiny. I went over to it and picked it up. It was a collar, her collar! Makes no sense! Was she dog-napped? Ran away? But how did she remove her collar, and why didn’t she come to my calling when she usually always does.”
(Takes his hands out of his coat pockets with the dog collar and lead in his hand.)
“I just don’t understand!”
Part II – The watcher:
(A young woman is sat on the same bench as the man was sat on, with a little dog on her lap. It is sleeping and she is gently stroking it when she begins to speak.)
“Kinda odd of me, to be sat here, with a collarless dog with no lead. Well, it is odd and so was what led up to this. I often go out for walks on this field, passed the park and through the forest. I love the outdoors and walking, and I’m a student so because it is Summer I have plenty of spare time. So I spend all of my time outside, walking and reading. Apparently it is good for you, the walking not so much the reading. I read a lot so I have to get outside to stretch and give me fresh air and fresh thoughts. My thoughts get a bit…clunky when I don’t leave the house and just read.
I have become well acquainted with all the people who walk, run and take their children and pets to or passed the park and field. I always say hello with a smile, for about four weeks now, but about three weeks ago, there was a man who whilst walking his dog, never did return my hello or smile. He just looked at the floor, and awkwardly walked passed me as if he didn’t see me. Of course that didn’t bother me. Some people go outside to be alone, so that’s okay. I said hello every time anyway, just in case he appreciated it and was too shy to say it back.
About a week or so ago, I was just casually walking, taking my time. In no rush at all to get anywhere in particular. I came to a bench area in the forest and just outside was a fallen tree. Me being me, I sat on the tree instead, to rest and read a little bit of one of my books. The quiet man was walking his dog a bit further behind me. The little dog was off its lead and was slightly ahead of him, running with excitement and sniffing everything it could. It didn’t spot me while I watched out of view, admiring its cuteness. The man called its name, but the dog was too excited and concerned with its little adventure to have noticed. I think it just hadn’t him him from concentrating too hard on looking around and sniffing everything. The man seemed to get a little agitated, he hadn’t spotted me either. It seems I had found a blind spot to read in where I can go undisturbed and undetected. Well when the man got to his dog he roughly grabbed its neck, and but like how a mother dog does, and put the lead back on the dog so he could keep it close. He did the usual pat on the nose to show the dog he didn’t approve, and then carried on walking it. I didn’t think anything of it, why would I? Pretty normal behaviour.
Well, I went back to this spot every day. I came to like how no one noticed me and I could just rest and read without bothering with anyone. Every day about the same time the man and his little dog walked passed. Pretty much the same thing happened every time. The dog was off the lead, it didn’t listen when it was called, the man got annoyed and put the lead back on the dog again and punished the pup. My thought was why let it off the chain if every time the same thing happens, but each time this happened the man seemed to react worse. There is a difference between showing a dog it has done something you don’t approve of, and just harming the thing. The punishment went from a simple nose pat, to a knuckle slap off the nose, to a kick, and I don’t mean a nudge or push, I mean a kick. A stomp almost. I am ashamed to say I did and said nothing. I just watched in horror and was quite literally scared to say anything.
The last time this happened…He was even more aggressive and after he didn’t put the lead on the dog, it stayed behind a little to sniff more things, as a dog does. I got up from my natural seat, checked the man was out of sight and the dog ran up to me without barking, jumped at my chest. I picked it up and literally ran as fast as I can, as if I were being chased. I could still hear the man calling the dog, it was terrifying but no one was following me. I didn’t stop running until I got to this bench. I ripped the dog’s collar off and threw it. I can’t keep the dog, he’ll obviously see me. So I’m going to take it to my friend’s mom’s house. She breeds dogs and might know a good kennel for me to take it to. I would keep it, but…that’s a stupid idea.”