Buck was fed up of running; for the past three days, all he had done was run around after Alsatian.
It became clear to him that his two companions had gone off searching for him. They had obviously got caught up at the pound and were still there.
Buck didn’t have a plan; hopefully the chaos of the escaping dogs was still taking its toll, and that the staff were confused and in no state to capture him.
With his legs screaming at him to stop, the beagle pup sprinted towards the pound.
“Why did they come looking for me?” Buck questioned silently.
The cage door was locked, guards were posted outside and the four dogs were curled up in a corner.
The air inside the cage was damp and cold, enough to leave the two small youngsters shivering.
Alsatian had pulled them closer, concealing them in his long stomach fur.
Dosi had yapped loudly for ages, not giving up, and determined to annoy the guards as much as possible.
After about half an hour, one of the burly guards had opened the cage door and dragged Alsatian out by the scruff.
Dosi leapt forward and sunk her needle-like terrier teeth into the man’s hand.
With a yowl of pain similar to that of a dog, the guard threw a badly aimed kicked at Dosi.
The disorientated young terrier could only watch as her adoptive father was taken to the end of the hallway and pulled through an evil looking door.
“What’s behind that door?” Dosi asked the two pups eagerly, hoping for a good answer.
“No dog knows. Once a dog has been taken through there, they don’t come back” the bigger of the duo responded.
It was not the reply Dosi had wanted. She sighed heavily, threw her head back and howled.
When she stopped, both of the pups crawled forward and nestled into Dosi’s wiry hair.
“I’m Tag” the biggest pup yapped.
“I’m Tumble” his smaller brother said.
“I’m Dosi” Dosi replied miserably.
At that moment, a beagle came rushing up to the cage.
“Buck!” Dosi shouted.
“Be quiet. Where’s Alsatian?” Buck asked.
“They took him into the door of no return” Tag sobbed.
“Wait here then. I’m going to rescue him” Buck explained.
“Wait here!” Dosi bellowed, outraged “Where do you think we will be going. We’re in a locked cage for dog sake”.
“It must have slipped my mind” Buck retorted sarcastically.
“Alsatian is gonna be killed, you know” Tumble barked.
With that, Buck took off down the hallway and forced his way through the door.
Inside, it looked like a veterinary clinic; there was a table that sat in the middle of the room, shelves of chemicals, a smaller table covered with scissors and knives and there was a row of cages that lined the room.
None of this mattered to Buck because he had spotted Alsatian, sitting terrified on the large table. He was surrounded by three men in white coats.
One of them held a sharp pointed needle in his hand, the second held a pot of blue liquid and the third had his hand wrapped around Alsatian’s muzzle.
“We need to humanely destroy him” the man holding Alsatian’s muzzle said.
The second man unscrewed the pot lid and poured his liquid into the first man’s needle.
Buck raced forward and, using his skill of crashing into things, smashed his head into the first man’s knee.
The man toppled forward, dropped the needle and fell into the third man, freeing Alsatian.
The needle landed in the second mans arm. Fortunately, none of the deadly liquid was released, but the shock and pain of the prick was enough to fore the man into unconsciousness.
Alsatian pulled himself up and leapt off of the table.
“Thanks buddy” Alsatian praised as he landed next to Buck.
The first and third men got up and stumbled towards the beagle and the Alsatian.
Buck led his friend through the door of no return and back into the hallway.
Repeating his trick with Rocky, Buck climbed up onto Alsatian’s shoulders and slammed the button once again.
All of the cage doors sprung open and a relieved Dosi came out. Tag and Tumble followed her expectantly.
“We need to go” Alsatian ordered as the two men that had tried to kill him exploded through the door and charged towards the five strays.
Alsatian grabbed Tag and ran down the corridor towards the entrance. Buck n turn picked up Tumble and he, the pup and Dosi followed Alsatian.
Buster trudged onwards through the thickening forest, suddenly; regretting his deal with Pasha.
Both the terrier stray and the posh pet had fallen asleep on his back, and they were weighing him down.
The moon rose ever higher, casting great shadows across the island.
Although the vast structure was only a little way beyond the trees, Buster was exhausted. In the end his legs buckled beneath him and he fell down. He was snoring before he hit the ground.
For Tag and Tumble, the fresh air had never been so good.
For them, it felt as if they had been trapped in the pound for weeks. As they were only five weeks old, the two days they had spent cooped up in the cages seemed like a long time for them.
They had had a horrible kind of life; their father had left their mother to take care of them single- handily.
During the night of their capture a few days ago, their mother was killed by the Dog Hunter and they were caught.
By this time their father had fled.
All they could remember of their father was an angry terrier-like creature who lashed out at everyone and beat their caring mother constantly.
They barely had time to breath in the salty Cornish air before they were whisked off by their rescuers and carried towards the beach.
The beach was a welcoming change from the mouldy cages at the pound, and both Tag and Tumble whooped with joy.
Only once the ground became soft and sandy underfoot, did Alsatian and his team halt.
Dosi led them all back to her cosy little den and Buck set the twins down on the pillow.
Alsatian found some dried newspaper and a small blanket to cover the duo with.
Dosi pushed her paw into the pillow and tucked the two young pups in.
They fell asleep almost immediately.
Dosi carefully backed out of the small entrance and spotted Alsatian and Buck sitting on the sand by the beach.
She lowered herself into a stalking position and, with her belly fur almost touching the ground, she crawled forward stealthily.
Once she was within pouncing distance, she leant on her haunches and sprang forward, colliding with Alsatian and knocking him forward. Buck bellowed with surprise and dodged to the right.
“Ow. Dosi your stalking is getting good” Alsatian praised.
“I felt that your special moment with Buck needed some action” Dosi boasted.
“Yeah whatever” Buck hissed moodily.
Sensing the tension in the air, Alsatian headed back to the den.
“Still think I’m not sensible and afraid of nothing” Buck puffed.
“I’m sorry. I was wrong to say that stuff. I’m surprised you came back for me” Dosi apologized.
“I only came back for Alsatian and the two youngsters” Buck corrected.
“Although you’re a good friend and I admire your courage, sometimes you can be very annoying” the wiry terrier said.
“Me, annoying, no. That’s your department” Buck giggled.
“And your department is to be courageous and the knight in shining armour” Dosi laughed sarcastically.
“Yeah, off course it is” Buck raised his eyebrows playfully.
Dosi nuzzled her snout in into Buck’s soft neck fur and wrapped her front paws around his chest.
“I agree” Dosi said suddenly.
“With what?” Buck queried.
“That we need to save Pasha” Dosi concluded.
“How can we?” Buck blurted “we now have two very small pups to care for”.
“They can come” Dosi pleaded.
“I doubt Pasha is even alive. Those Night Wolves that are staling around, they don’t kidnap, a creature as vicious as that hunts to kill” Buck explained.
“Please, Buck” Dosi begged.
“I’ll talk to Alsatian about it” Buck decided.
“Thanks” Dosi praised.
The pair huddled closer together, trying to keep the chilly breeze at bay.
Buster awoke to the strange surroundings he had fallen asleep in and the rustling of a bush.
He sat up and scanned the clearing he and his companions were in.
It was merely a patch of open low grass surrounded by thick trees and dense bushes.
A twig snapped, breaking the deafening silence. The bush rustled again and a low hoarse growl erupted from the bush.
Buster raised his muzzle and barked twice. The creature that was stalking them retreated, knowing that Buster was not one to hurt.
Princess and Pasha were still concealed in a deep sleep, curled up like vulnerable pups, which they were in this hostile environment.
“I don’t want to hurt you, Pasha” Buster whispered “but I’m afraid I have no choice”.
The wiry haired terrier opened her weak eyes and lifted her weary head.
“What?” she uttered, almost dreamily from her sleep.
“Nothing, we need to get moving”.
Princess, being a snobby pet and used to having lie-ins, refused to get up when Buster tried to arouse her. He fretted about leaving her, but the stubborn dog would have none of it.
In the end, Buster resorted to carrying Princess on his back.
Pasha couldn’t wait to get out of the forest; the trees around her seemed to reach out and try to grab her, and the vines that hung from the trees and littered the floor attempted to grab her.
It was when they were nearing the end of the nightmare