I wandered alone for a long time, but it wasn’t always so. I have vague memories—little scraps of images—from the past: the tumble and tussle of warm fur, the shimmer of sun on my brother’s back, the freckles on my sister’s snout. We were given away, placed in a box in a grocery store parking lot and given to anyone who would take us. We were held up, cooed over, and carried off under people’s arms.
The person who took me changed his mind when I grew larger. He tied me up in the backyard for months—with intermittent water and food—and then took me on a car ride and left me on the side of the road. I fended for myself then. Sometimes I was thirsty, sometimes I was cold, often I was hungry.
This morning, a man saw me, stooped down, and called to me. I watched him warily and then darted away. I have trouble trusting people. He left and then came back, carrying a bowl that smelled good. He sat quietly beside the bowl and I approached carefully, then backed away, then approached again. With one last sideways glance at the man, who looked at me calmly, kindly, I stretched my neck toward the bowl and began to eat. The man reached out and stroked my fur, first tentatively, then steadily. When he slipped a lead around my neck, he bent down to my level and said, “Come with me; we will find you a home,” I go with him, to the first warmth and comfort I’ve known in a long time.