Find Your Voice, Jack
By Padmini Krishnan
“Mary, what a cute dog you have,” gushed Nancy.
Jack wagged his tail obediently.
“He is sweet. I have never heard him bark.” Susie patted Jack.
Jack opened his mouth as if he was grinning and took in all the compliments.
Mary sighed. She was tired of her German shepherd, Jack, being called adorable, sweet and cute. All she wanted was a regular dog who would be faithful, but also show some grit when teased.
The previous week, Mary had taken Jack to a park in the vicinity of her house. A kid pulled his tail. Jack immediately whimpered and hid behind Mary. Other kids joined the first one in throwing stones at Jack. Mary chased the kids away with the help of some good Samaritans in the park. Since then, Mary seldom took him to parks. She walked him early in the mornings and late at night.
A few weeks after this incident, Mary walked him on a late night. It was a no moon night. There was no breeze, and the trees stood still and solemn. The whole park seemed empty, except for Mary, Jack and an old man walking his poodles.
Mary whistled to keep the loneliness from creeping in. Suddenly, there was a loud crash breaking into the lonely night. Two wild cats chased each other into the park. They stopped near Jack. One of the cats clenched her claws and pounced on him. Jack whimpered and ran for his life. The old man laughed at the spectacle of a huge German Shepard running away from a small cat. After a minute, the cats stopped their chase and took note of the poodles. The poodles snarled and barked loudly. Scared, the wild cats drew back. They turned to Jack. He licked Mary’s hand. Disgusted, Mary pulled her hand back and turned away. She began to walk home in anger. Jack stood uncertainly; they had just come to the park.
The wild cats, thwarted by the poodles, turned towards Jack, with an angry look in their eyes.
Alarmed, Jack searched for Mary, who was now almost out of the park. The old man had an amused smile on his face, and the poodles stared at Jack expectantly. Lonely and without support, facing two barbaric cats, something snapped inside Jack. He opened his mouth to let out a small bark. Then he barked a little louder. As the cats came closer, he was barking on top of his voice. His eyes were wide with anger. He snarled, displaying his sharp teeth. The cats drew back for the second time that night. They had not expected this; they look subdued. But, Jack chased them, his cries shaking the park.
Mary had almost reached home. Now she turned back. Was there a new dog in the park? Poor Jack! He could not help his tame nature. Ashamed of herself for leaving him alone, Mary began to run towards the park. Jack was not there. Some huge dog was running in full speed behind the cats.
Wow! The huge dog was Jack, Mary realized a minute later.
Jack chased them for ten minutes. After running behind the cats in a street and an adjoining bridge, Jack abandoned his chase and returned to the park. The old man was staring at him with his mouth wide open. The poodles looked at him with pride; her faith in her kind was now stronger than ever. Mary looked at him with shining eyes. Jack licked Mary’s hand as usual. But, he was not the old Jack. There was something majestic about him now. Bullies would no longer mess with him. At last, he had garnered Mary’s respect, and he knew it.- Total nr. of readings: 732 Copyright © The author  All Rights Reserved. This story may not be reproduced without the express written permission of the author except for personal use.
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