Sprocket the shaggy mutt

Yer lucky, Ralph, y'know that? I mean, sure it's sad that yer family left you 'n all, but... at least you had a family for a while. You grew up eatin' good. You got more meat on you now than I ever had on me. An' more energy.

Yer a good asset to us, Ralph. Max and me, we can't run fer long, so we can't catch food. We lived off trash and already dead food, fer the longest time. Then we found Daisy, an' she was young, well-fed, spry... At first she could catch live food... rabbits, rats, stuff like that. But it didn't last long. She's still young now but not strong like she was. She can run and fish fer a while, but she only gets one good burst of energy for the day. But now we got you, Ralph... yer stronger than she was even when we first found her! So big and tall, and healthy. Maybe if you and Daisy work together, we can start catching more live food, and we can all eat better!

See Ralph, not all of us dogs had families. The earliest thing I remember, the thing I called home for a long time, was a nook behind a dumpster in an alleyway. I had a mother, and a brother. There was usually a puddle by the dumpster where we drank. People would always come out of the building with big black trash bags to put in the dumpster, and it smelled sooo goood. Sometimes food would come out of it, and my brother and me would sneak around an' eat it. It was 'nuff, for a while. But we got bigger an' bigger, and hungrier. Our mother always left us for days at a time, an' eventually she never came back.

My brother and me, we knew that there was food inside the building. That's where all the food came out of. But we didn't even need to know that... the smell made it clear 'nuff. Under the crack in the door... and when they opened the door... ohhh.

We were both scared o' goin' in, cause we'd never been anywhere but our little nook and around the dumpster. But our momma was gone and we were so hungry... we decided the next time someone opened the door, one of us would go in, just behind the door, an' scout it out. Then he'd come right back out and together we'd decide if it was safe to go all the way in. Well it happened... someone came out with more trash, and my brother slipped in while the door was open. He never came back out t'see me though...

I dunno what happened t'him. At first I was sure that he was gone for good. But I was just a pup then... all I knew was here or gone. Our momma was here, and then she was gone. My brother was here, and now he was gone. I was even scareder to go in there now, so I left the dumpster, and the alley... an' I started learnin' about the world. I found better dumpsters that spilled food more often, and I found trash cans left outside without dumpsters at all, and some trash cans don' even have lids! I figured it all out eventually, and I made my way.

Now that I'm older, an' I've met more dogs here an' there, I know all about families. Humans taking care of dogs for whatever reason... an' now I tell myself that's what happened to my brother. He went in to that building and one of those humans who brought out trash noticed him, and wanted to be his family. I hope that's what happened.

Sometimes I wish I'd followed him in there, maybe someone would have wanted to be my family too. But it's too late now... People don't like full grown dogs like they like puppies. Once yer grown it's too late for a family. I learned that th' hard way.

But now listen 'ere, Ralph, and remember this next time you think about yer family. The most 'mportant thing I learned in my years is not t' get too down 'bout anything. If yer mind is down, so's yer body, and that's not good fer yer health. If yer happy, you got more energy, and the more energy you got, the better you do in life.

The End

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