Stuck at the pound

The fat butcher carried the hopeless pup up the stairs to his room. He plonked the youngster half-heartily on his bed and gave a sigh of relief; he had though it was a dangerous dog such as a Doberman, not a beagle pup. The quilt was yanked from beneath the scared youngster as another beefy human emerged from the bed. As soon as she saw the dog, she screamed.

“AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!”.

“What is it?” the butcher asked his wife.

“A large rat is on the bed!” she screeched. Buck heard this hurtful comment and yapped in dismay. I’m not a rat you fat bulldog.

The screaming had aroused two more residents. Two young children came scampering into the bedroom. They both looked the same and they were both boys. Neither of them was older than ten years; in fact, they were identical twins. Unlike their parents, they were skinny and underfed, much like Buck.

Now the Greyhounds come. Buck would compare humans to dogs, and that is how he knows them in the future.    

“Mum, Dad, a puppy!” they smiled together “can we keep him?”.

“No we certainly cannot. That thing is probably infested with fleas and dirt” the woman protested, pointing her thick finger at the frightened pup.

“Can he sleep with us tonight then?” one of the twins asked.

“No, the Dog Catcher is going to take him away soon” the butcher explained angrily.

“Go too bed” the butcher’s wife ordered. Once the two boys had left and gone back to bed, the bulldog, as Buck called her, shoved the beagle off of her bed.

“I don’t want that filthy thing on my bed” she hissed.

There were three loud raps on the door at the entrance of the shop as the Dog Catcher arrived to collect his prize. The butcher got out of bed and, taking Buck with him, went downstairs to answer the door. The Dog Catcher was a slender figure with a mop of black hair upon his head and an evil grin plastered across his face. He took Buck from the butcher’s extended hand and chucked the terrified pup into the back of his van.

“Thank you for phoning us” the Catcher snickered “you have done this island a great favour by ridding the streets of yet another four legged thief”.

With a curt nod towards the butcher, the Catcher slipped into his van and drove off into the pitch black streets.

 

Dosi was steaming after her argument with Buck. She wasn’t ready to go back to Alsatian and she was worried about Buck; he had just run off blindly into the dark streets of the town.

In the end, after Buck had not returned for at least 20 minutes, Dosi decided to go and see Alsatian.

“What is the rush?” asked Alsatian calmly as she entered her den.

“Buck’s gone” Dosi muttered.

“What!? He could be dead or kidnapped like Pasha” Alsatian gasped, all calmness lost.

“You are not going anywhere with that leg” Dosi insisted. She paced over to where the stray was lying and grasped his twisted paw in her mouth.

“What are you doing?” he said.

“Yourf phaw isf only fwisted. I can hix it” Dosi grunted through a mouthful of paw. She twisted her neck and shook her head violently. She then put a paw on Alsatian’s wounded leg and pressed down hard. With a satisfying crack the leg untwisted itself.

“Ouch!” Alsatian spat as sharp pain shot up his leg.

Now we can look for our angry young friend” retorted Dosi.

Alsatian got up lazily and tested out his healed paw by putting some of his 35kg of weight on that one paw.

Satisfied with the result, he plodded out of the comfortable den and into the fresh atmosphere the night held.

“That pup could be anywhere by now” Alsatian groaned, knowing how fast Buck could be when he needed to be.

“We need to think like Buck. Where would he go when he’s in a mood?” Alsatian queried.

“I dunno. Eating probably” Dosi concluded.

“Where are the popular food places?” Alsatian questioned.

“You tell me. You’ve been a stray a lot longer than I have”.

“Maybe we should scout around town, look for anything suspicious. With all these dog’s disappearing, we can’t be too careful” Alsatian voiced his doubts.

 

The ride going to the dog pound was an unpleasant experience for Buck. The driver seemed to be taking the bumpiest routes and making the journey as painful as possible.

The car screeched to a halt and the front door slammed. The boot door was pulled open and the wire mesh to his cage was unlocked. The thin Dog Catcher scooped Buck up and carried him towards a tall grey building. Buck immediately knew that this building was where he would most likely meet his end. The whole place stank of death and despair. A range of barks filled the air; from the highest-pitched yaps to the lowest barks and from the saddest song to the angriest howl.

The Dog Hunter carried Buck towards the building of death and through the double doors that were the entrance to the horrible place.

The man placed Buck on a counter where he was inspected by a snobby-looking woman.

“Another stray” she sighed.

After his antagonizing inspection was done, he was led through some more double doors and into a heavily guarded area. Once the pair had fought through the mass of guards that were stationed in the most awkward of places, they came to a large metal gate. The gate had at least ten different locks running up it and the holes between the mesh were so small that a Chihuahua would not have been able to escape.

After all the locks were unlocked, the man carrying Buck had to type in a six numbered code on a small device.

The gate swung open slowly to reveal a very long hallway. Coming off the hallway at regular intervals were cages.

Each cage contained two or three sorry looking dogs, a small food bowl, a water bowl, a lumpy pillow and what looked like a litter box.  At the sight of another victim to the Dog Hunter, the strays started growling as loud as they could. The growls were mixed emotions; some were sad that a puppy so young had been caught. Others were angry at Buck being caught, whilst some bad tempered dogs threw insults at the scared puppy.

The Hunter strolled down the hallway at an amazingly fast pace, kicking dog cages as he went. Eventually, Buck and his captor arrived near the end of the vast walkway. A cage was unlocked at random and Buck was literally thrown in.

He smashed against the wall opposite and yelped in surprise.

Before he had the chance to get up, a heavy weight was pressed on his body.

“Get off!” Buck shouted. He kicked with all his might and managed to wriggle out from beneath the weight. When he turned to face the thing that had tried to squash him, he expected to find a strong ruthless dog ready for the kill, but instead he only found a small Pug.

“Name’s Rocky” the Pug said “what’s yours?”

“Uh...uh…Buck” the beagle answered “where am I?”

“You are at the pound” Rocky informed flatly.

“What is a pound?” Buck questioned, his tail tucked between his hind legs.

“It’s where all the stray and unwanted dogs are kept. They are kept here for two days and when that time is up, they are taken through the double doors at the end of the hallway and they never return”.

“Do they go away?” Buck asked.

“No. They never return. Sometimes, dogs get taken away as soon as they get here” Rocky whispered.

All hope now lost, Buck let his tired legs buckle beneath him, put his head on his paws and tried to get to sleep.

“Little ones are always tired” Rocky moaned. He had to admit that his own arthritic bones were aching, so he soon decided to get some rest. His two days would be up by the time he awoke and he wanted to be in top condition to put up as much of a fight as he could.

Dosi and Alsatian sped through the shadowy town, glancing at every food shop or bakery they passed, hoping to see Buck tucking into a midnight meal.

They had searched the whole town twice before Dosi who suggested the inevitable. “Buck might have been caught by the Dog Hunter”. 

Alsatian exhaled loudly, considering the option.

“If he is, we have no chance of saving him” Alsatian muttered grimly, slowing his pace.

“We have to get him out” Dosi gasped.

“I thought you and him had an argument” Alsatian guessed.

“We did and he may be a stupid pup, but he’s our stupid pup and he’s been like a brother to me” Dosi sighed.

“He’s been like a son to me” the German shepherd admitted to his adoptive daughter.

“What about your real kids?” Dosi queried suddenly.

“I will find them” Alsatian uttered.

“What are there names again?”

“My mate is called Sandy. My sons are called Russell and Husky. And my daughter is called Papillion” Alsatian said, brightening up.

“Why are they called those names?” Dosi tilted her head questioningly.

“Sandy is called Sandy because pf the colour of her fur. Russell is called Russell because when he was born he looked like a Jack Russell. Quite a lot like you actually. Husky is called Husky because of his colourings. Papillion is called Papillion because of her facial markings which are similar to the breed which is her namesake”.

“Nice names” Dosi commented.

“I miss them, but I will find them”.

“Right now we need to find Buck” Dosi yapped.

 

Whilst Dosi and Alsatian were facing the dilemma of how to save Buck, and Buck was facing death, Pasha was dealing with her own problems.

The upturned boat had beached itself on the small stretch of sand that rimmed the island. Buster seemed confident in his actions, but his eyes told a different story.

A flash of terror and guilt conquered his eyes. When Pasha looked again, it was gone.

Princess refused to leave the boat and in the end Buster had to carry her, which is not easy for a dog who didn’t exceed the weight of 10kg.

“Where do we go?” Pasha barked, her voice shaky with the cold.

“My guess is through there” Buster answered, pointing his narrow muzzle towards the main entrance of the abandoned building. Pasha found herself thinking that Buster knew more than he was telling.

 

Buck may have looked asleep, but his eyes were only closed to allow him peace to concentrate.

He needed a way to not only escape certain death at the hands of the twolegs, but to free the other canines trapped in the small cages.

The only two ways to free all of the caged dogs was to either unlock every individual cage with the different selection of keys that hung on a hook that was way out of reach. The other option was to press the button that was placed by the door at the end of the hallway. There were lots of flaws with each plan like; Buck didn’t have opposable thumbs to hold the keys to unlock the cages, he couldn’t reach the keys or the buttons and he didn’t know how to get out of his own cage in the first place.

A sudden thought rushed through his brain and his plan began to fit into place.

“Rocky?” Buck said as he prodded the sleeping shape with his paw. He had to repeat the action three times before the elderly Pug hauled himself to his feet.

“What is it young one?” Rocky groaned.

“I have a plan” Buck announced quietly.

 

Pasha was exhausted with the effort of ploughing on through the thick mud that covered the forest floor.

She went on without a fuss and she and her companions swiftly made it through the woods.

Pasha barely had time to retrieve her energy before Buster was leading them out of the forest and onto a steep hill.

Buster didn’t seem to be tiring, even with the added weight of Princess.

“How much further?” Princess asked from beneath Buster’s jaws.

“We need to walk up this hill, climb up a small mountain then swim through a river” responded Buster.

“Oh dog” Pasha sighed.

 

The plan was in place and it was easier said than done. All Buck would have to do in the first sage of his brilliant plan was to yap really loudly to gain the attention of the guards.

He gulped in a mouthful of air and let out an ear-splitting yap.

He did it again and again until one of the guards finally came over to investigate. Buck fell to the ground panting in supposed agony. He dragged his body towards the cage door and whined pitifully.

The guard unlocked the door and put his hand out to the young Beagle puppy.

“What’s wrong you mangy mutt” the guard hissed.

He noticed that the pups back legs weren’t working and turned to face his colleague who had also come over to see what was wrong. “It looks like this one needs putting down”.

Perfect Buck thought to himself.

The man reached out and attempted to take Buck’s scruff. He would have succeeded if it wasn’t for the fact that Buck wasn’t hurt. He back away, causing the guard to tip forward and fall headfirst into the cage.

With a yelp of triumph, Buck leapt over the guards squirming body and landed in the hallway beyond. Rocky had already managed to slip past the guard when Buck was performing his injured act.

The old, overweight pug galloped towards the wall where the button that released all of the dogs was placed.

In one swift movement, Buck jumped up onto Rocky’s shoulders and stood on his hind legs. Rocky lifted Buck up until his small forepaws were just touching the button that symbolized the stray’s freedom.

The beagle slammed his paw against the button, savouring the moment that he, a young stray puppy, saved over a hundred dogs from certain doom. 

As if anticipating Buck’s victory, the caged dogs streamed out of the cells in their hundreds, jamming the hallway with their skinny bodies.

The guards that were posted at the entrance of the long hallway were soon knocked over ad trampled on by the stampede of canines. The strays may have been underweight, but they were fast; the hallway was cleared of all animals in a matter of seconds.

The front door of the pound was thrown open by the catastrophic mass of tails and fur. Within their midst was the two perpetrators and the cause of the sudden disaster.

Rocky whooped with joy as he sucked in a lungful of fresh air.

Once the commotion had died down, and the dogs had gone their separate ways, Buck and Rocky said their goodbyes.

“I would help you, but I have me own problems to sort out” the old Pug muttered.

“I know. Anyway, I need to find my friends” Buck said as he started to pad off.

“I’ll see you around then” Rocky shouted.

 

Alsatian and Dosi raced towards the massive building that the humans called the pound.

As they neared the dreaded structure, rivers of dogs came rushing towards them. Buck was not among them.

“He might be still in there” whined Dosi. Without further thought and hesitation, Alsatian led his young companion towards pound.

At that moment, a pug and a beagle brought up the rear of the pack of strays. They ran past Alsatian and Dosi, mistaking the pair for part of the escaping group.

“We need to go in” Alsatian muttered darkly. The duo sprinted through the double doors and past the traumatized staff on duty.

They weren’t shocked to find all the cages empty. Make that all cages but one.

The cage at the far end of the corridor contained two terrified puppies that were too scared to come out and join their fellows in the great escape.

“Who are you two then?” Alsatian asked gently as he and Dosi strolled up the hallway.

The question was answered with some more snivelling. The pups didn’t have any family; if they did, they would have followed the group.

“Your orphans, aren’t you?” Dosi yapped quietly.

Both of the small puppies nodded. They looked to be younger than Dosi and they were definitely terriers of some kind.

Alsatian and Dosi, confident that Buck wasn’t not at the pound, scooped up a pup each in their jaws and carried them back down the corridor.

Their pathway was blocked by a man mountain wearing an evil grin on his face.

“At least we have some dogs” he chuckled.

“Uh oh” Alsatian barked.

 

Buck scampered back through the deserted streets of the town and onto the beach. He swiftly located the makeshift den that Dosi had built and went closer for a better inspection.

To his horror he found it empty.

“Those idiots went looking for me” Buck puffed “they might have been captured!”

 

Far away, on a distant island covered with trees and hills, three dogs made their way up a steep hill. It was a tough climb for anyone, let alone three small dogs.

Princess had started to walk due to Buster beginning to falter.

Once the hill had been tackled, a sheer mountain climb awaited them.

Buster, with his extensive knowledge of tying knots, managed to tie some vine around Pasha’s waist. He did the same to princess and then finally finished with himself.

He connected all three vines with a piece of stringy bark, and then threw the now-single rope skywards. The rope soared up, and then fell back down. It snagged itself on a rock jutting out of a ledge and came back down.

“Yes!” Buster hissed.

He took the end of the rope that was not tied to a dog and pulled it down. As he did so, the three dogs went up.

“Brilliant!” shouted Princess.

A few more forceful tugs brought the trio level with the ledge that the vine rope had snagged on.

Buster had to chuck the rope up again to repeat the process. By the time the three dogs had been pulled to the summit of the cliff, it was well beyond nightfall.  

“Looks like we have to camp here” Pasha said.

“No, we need to make it to the building”

“It’s gonna rain and its very dark. We are all exhausted” Pasha protested.

“We need to make it to the building!” Buster repeated, with much more anger in his voice.

“Fine” Pasha puffed, confused at Buster’s sudden change in mood.

Princess was oblivious to the anger used during the short argument, but she knew better than to interfere.

“If we’re going to that freaky looking building, your carrying me!” Pasha insisted.

“And me!” Princess shouted suddenly.

“Fine, nut my back is not long enough to hold both of you” Buster groaned.

“I’ll go on your neck then” Princess muttered.

The End

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