I think a lot about the life Cassie might have had before she to live with us. We’ll never know the real story but I can piece together some of it from the adoption agency, some more from what the pound report said, and because I’m writer, I can imagine even more than that.
We were told that she had been found running as a stray, taken to the pound, and then adopted. She was back at the pound in a few days after being told that she made too much noise and didn’t get along with the other little dogs in the house. I can buy that story because I see how she acts when she sees the little dogs on our walks. This 70 pound dog stops and backs up until she is standing behind me, putting me in-between her and the dogs that are barely the size of the stuffed gorilla she plays with at home. She will nose around me, wanting to sniff but afraid of what might happen if she does. She’s been burned before.
The part of the story I know is that the people who adopted her from the pound had several small dogs. They adopted Cassie and named her Patton. Yes, for a female dog. Cassie barked a lot and didn’t get along with the other dogs. She went back to the pound. End of story.
Or is it? The part of the story I made up goes like this: Woman had several small dogs that were spoiled rotten and had the run of the house. Man wanted a watch dog. A big dog. A man’s dog. Goes to the pound and sees a German Shepherd and knows they are supposed to be fierce dogs. Doesn’t bother to learn about the breed, about their intense love and devotion and NEED to be a part of the family. Takes the dog home and chains it in the backyard. Doesn’t try to get to know it. Doesn’t give it any love. Doesn’t let it come in the house but lets the little dogs out all the time.
Close your eyes and I bet you can see what I see. Patton/Cassie on a chain, unable to get away from the little dogs who are yapping at her, biting her ankles, doing whatever they want to her. And she just has to take it because she can’t run away and no one seems to care what is happening to her.
She could have turned mean. She could have chomped down on those little dogs or the people who were supposedly her caretakers. She didn’t. All she did was speak up, she barked a lot, which was the only way she had to express her displeasure with her current situation. Thankfully she didn’t have to stay there long. While she is better with little dogs now she is still nervous, tentative when it comes to saying hello, unsure if the new little dog will be a friend or not.
I’ve started three different dog stories today and now, here it is 10:30 pm and I haven’t finished a single one of them. It’s been one of those days that’s rough around the edges where nothing seems to be going right and I am either opening my mouth and sticking my foot into it or running into brick walls that only seem to get thicker instead of crumbling at my feet. It’s a frustrating kind of day where not much gets done and your self-worth goes down instead of up because you can’t for the life of you figure out what it is you keep doing wrong. All you want is to connect and the only way you know how to do that is to speak up.
Writers write to connect with the world. Not everyone is going to agree with you. Not everyone is going to want to hear what you have to say. Not everyone who needs to hear you will hear you and a lot of people will hear you and forget you.
But still you try.
Because if you’re lucky the right people, or just one right person, will hear you.
And your world, and theirs, will never be the same.