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It was early morning, and the sun was just coming up. The grass was covered with dew. Birds were chirping from their nest in the large oak tree.  Squirrels were now awake, chasing each other up and down the tree. I was startled when one ran right in front of me! I jumped. The squirrel chattered away and kept running . . . right out of the gate!

The gate was always closed. But this morning, it was open, just slightly; enough for the squirrel to squeeze through.  I went over to investigate. I pushed it ever so slightly with my nose, and it opened! Just a bit wider. I slipped out the gate—no squirrel in sight.

I sat there, wondering if I should return to my yard. My owners were still home. They wouldn’t miss me if I went a little farther outside the gate and came back right away. Curiosity got the best of me. With my nose to the ground, I ventured away from the gate, sniffing all the way. There were all sorts of new smells.

The sun was high up in the sky now. I was very warm, tired, and thirsty. I found shade under a large tree and rested for a while.

As I looked around, I could not see anything that was familiar. I was afraid . . . afraid because none of the houses looked like mine. Where was I? I did not know how to get back home!!

By now, my owners would no longer be home. Then I thought that maybe, just maybe, they might be looking for me since I was not in the yard and the gate was open. I was sad . . . I had travelled too far!

As I sat there, I noticed a little girl across the street. She saw me too. So naturally, I had to go over and meet her. She sat down on the grass, and I slowed my pace, as I did not know her. She began to speak to me, very softly, and patted the grass next to her. Ever so slowly, I went over and sat next to her.

Before I knew it, she had me in her arms, and scurried toward her house. Once inside, she asked, “Mom, can we keep her? I found her in the front yard!”

The first words from her mother were . . . “No, we can’t keep it.” She then remarked, “As soon as I’m done with the dishes, we will have to take it to the pound.”

A little later, her mother asked her daughter if she, by chance, had seen the dog before. She answered “no.” Then she asked why she couldn’t keep me since they didn’t have any pets. Her mother said she wasn’t going to argue the point any further—end of discussion.

The young girl gave me a bowl of water and sat next to me while her mother finished her chores.

A short time later, her mother decided that it would be best if she waited until the next day. She had too many errands to do today, and she wanted to be here when her son came home from baseball practice.

After some time, her son came into the house and saw me in his sister’s lap. He smiled from ear to ear, and then he reached down to pet me. He asked his mother if they could keep me. The mother gave him the same answer she gave her daughter.

There was a squabble as to where I was going to sleep that night, and the mother decided I would stay in the garage. She was concerned. She had no idea where I had come from, and wasn’t sure I would behave in the house while they were sleeping.

I was given a blanket to sleep on. It was very dark, damp, and scary in there, so I didn’t really sleep.

The next morning, the door opened. Sunlight beamed through the doorway, and the young girl came in with food and water for me! I was so hungry and gobbled up every bite. Soon, I was in the car with the mother and her children. We were off to the pound! I had no idea what was yet to come.

They left me there!

The pound was a very noisy place with dogs whining and barking; cats meowing and hissing. I was terrified and had no idea why I was here. I just wanted to go home . . . now!

Someone took me outside and then to a “cage” for safekeeping.

After a while, my new surroundings soon became familiar. The routine was the same every day. Eat, sleep, and go outside . . . not in that particular order.

Each day I heard footsteps. It was people coming to see if their lost pet was here, or they were just looking for a dog or cat to bring home with them.

Some of the animals were not happy at all. The older ones slept most of the day and didn’t care where they were. They had given up hope that they would be reunited, or adopted.

Each time I saw someone coming in to look at the animals, I had hoped it was my owners. I had been with them for such a short time, and we were just getting to know each other. They weren’t home much. They left each morning and didn’t come back until it was nearly dark. I was okay with that. I had a warm bed, food, water, a few toys and a fenced yard. Darn that gate anyway!

I was used to hearing the footsteps, and I always “looked up” to see who it was. For all the time I had been here, my owners never came to find me! So, after a while, I stopped “looking up”. Over time, memories of my life in the home I once lived began to fade . . . if only I hadn’t gone out of that gate!

It was early in the morning. The usual things took place, wake up, eat, and go outside. But something was different. After I came in from outside and was placed into my cage, I heard the footsteps coming.

For some reason, I looked up.

There was a familiar scent in the air as the footsteps came closer. I knew that scent, but could not remember where it came from. All of a sudden, I heard someone yell, “She’s here!” The footsteps came faster. I couldn’t believe what I saw. I began wagging my tail, and stood up against the door of my cage, whimpering and whining at the same time!  I was so excited!

The young girl, her brother, and mother had come to take me HOME! And indeed they did.

I was a very happy girl. I now had a “forever” home with Leah, the sister who truly wanted me, and Liam, her brother. They named me “Honey”, the colour of my fur, or so they said.

They loved to cuddle me, play with me, and walk me on a leash.  That’s right, a “leash”.

After school, Liam and Leah would take me for a walk . . . through their front gate. Leaving through the gate brought back a vivid memory of how I became lost. I did not want to be lost again. But that would never happen. There was no reason for me to venture alone through a gate again. I had everything I wanted, and I knew that what lay beyond that gate, was no longer a mystery.

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- Total nr. of readings: 4,712 Copyright © The author [2020] 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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