The dirt around her was full of her feces and urine and she was made to lay in it day in, day out, without respite. It irritated her swollen raw skin and her eyes, leaving them sore and infected much of the time.
The pups at least were free to wander about the yard, but not her. She was tethered. Tethered on a short piece of wire that was put there when she herself was still a pup. The wire was wrapped around her neck and twisted at the back. It took her only a few attempts at pulling free to realize that this wire could and did tighten when she pulled at it. And no one came to loosen it. So it was tight almost as soon as it was placed around her neck, making it difficult to swallow, to drink and eat on the rare occasions when food or water was offered.
Unlike the wire, she grew. Despite the cruel circumstances of her life, she managed to grow.
A young boy would come regularly, but not often enough, and throw her scraps. At first he was too frightened to get close, but in time he would bring water as well. He looked around furtively every time, she guessed, to see if her captors were there and watching. Afraid maybe, that he would be treated similarly if caught in the act of kindness.
Gradually, the mange ate away at the rest of her coat and her skin was a mosaic of open infected sores. Her eyes could not open some days and she lay there alone in the dark. The puppies were all gone, she hoped to somewhere far far away and very different from this place.
In time, she grew into a medium-sized dog and the wire did not grow with her. It remained taut around her neck creating a deep impression there. Sometimes the wire would cut and wounds were created. Her voice became more plaintiff as it squeezed her larynx. She would call and call, begging to be released, but if anyone came, they only yelled and left again.
She imagined that she must have done something terrible and that this was her punishment, her hell. And she almost submitted, gave up and moved on.
One day, when he came he was more nervous than usual and his movements were quick and deliberate. He did not bring food or water, but something else was in his hands. She knew he was a friend and her bodied wiggled at the sight of him, but she was confused by his new movements. She heard a strange sound and felt him raise her up off the putrid ground. Then they were moving, quickly, and away!
She saw things she had never seen before; a large tree in the yard next door where they passed and the boy said something to a woman there. She sensed that they were co-conspirators in this thing that was happening.
He laid her upon a soft uneven surface and spoke to the woman who had followed them. A metal door closed next to her and then another and another. A strange noise began and the container began to vibrate and then move. But she wasn’t afraid because he was there and she was no longer lying in the dirt without hope.
A tall man with dark hair and a kind voice was speaking to the lady now, and she was carried into a strange building. They laid her on a shiny metal table and the man began to run his hands over her body and to look closely at the place where the wire remained around her neck. She sensed their shared sadness, but they touched her with such tenderness that she felt safe.
She awoke from what seemed like a very long and deep sleep. She did not know where she was but there were other dogs nearby. Curled up on a soft surface, she sensed right away that something was different. The tension around her neck seemed to have been released. In its place a sensation of cool moisture. Still tired, exhausted, she slept.
Upon waking again, she saw there was water. Clean water. In a bowl within easy reach. She lifted her head and drank. Water had never tasted so sweet. And swallowing seemed easier.
Over the next several weeks, this sweet dog was treated for her mange and given antibiotics and ointments to cure the open wounds on her body. The wound made by the wire that had been cutting into her neck her entire life was almost an inch and a half deep and at least an inch wide in places. It was a great challenge for the veterinarian to remove it without causing serious damage to life-sustaining arteries and veins.
Evidence of the cruel wire, so carelessly wrapped around her young neck would always be. But she could wear a harness and the kind lady and her young male savior would teach her to walk on a leash.
On the way home, her new home, with shade trees that were tall and full of flowers this spring, he whispered to her his promise that she would be forever free in her fenced yard with all the food and clean water she wanted. That she would NEVER again be tied or tortured. She didn’t know what he was saying, but liked the way it sounded. She wiggled her entire body and licked his face.
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