This flash fiction isn’t for a challenge, I was inspired by watching my sister’s dog on our hike Saturday morning. You could almost tell what she was thinking by her eyes and her body language, so I thought I would tell her story and get into her head a little bit. I hope you enjoy the experience as much as I enjoyed telling it.
Sammy’s First Hike
“Sammy, do you want to go on a hike with us?”
I come running even though I don’t know what she’s saying. All I know is she’s getting the leash out and we are going outside for a run. I can’t help myself from jumping up and my tail is wagging so hard my but is wiggling back and forth threatening to pull my legs from under me. She laughs at me and rubs my head.
“I know you’re excited, but hold still while I get this on you.”
I think I know what she wants but holding still is beyond me right now. I want to be outside, smelling the smells and feeling the breeze rustle through my hair.
Now, that I understand. Okay, okay. I sit obediently while she puts my leash on but I can’t help but swipe her hand with my tongue, just so she knows how excited and grateful I am. I may not understand my humans completely, but every once in a while we communicate on a different level. She cups the jowls on each side of my face, bending down to look deep in my eyes. She doesn’t say anything but I feel her soul touching mine and it makes me even more excited. I hold still as long as I can, but before I know it my tongue betrays me and snakes out to catch her with a wet kiss right on the nose. She laughs and pats me on the head again.
Before I know it, we are making our way outside to the car. This is new. Normally we just run down the sidewalk. A different kind of adventure? One where we have to get in the shiny black car and drive with the wind blowing in my face? I am so in! I jump in the back seat and start pacing back and forth. Apparently it isn’t just me and Mom this time. This time Dad is coming and the younger human. I wouldn’t mind, but she takes up my pacing space and tells me to sit; but I am too wired to sit and no one enforces her command, so I don’t listen.
Once Mom gets in the car and Dad starts it, the window slides down and…. Aaaaah, fresh air! I stick my head out the window, tongue drooping to the side. Am I drooling? Yes I am and I love it! The car starts and the cool air is blowing through my fur, my tongue flapping this way and that. I hear the smaller human say something, but I don’t hear, nor do I care. I’m in heaven.
It seems like only moments later when the window starts to close. I keep my face out the window as long as I can, hoping they will change their mind; maybe they’ll be too afraid of closing my head in it… but, no. They shut it and I am forced to pull my head in. I will not whine, I will not whine.
Pacing! I’m pacing again, as best I can in such a small space. I feel some cool air blowing on Mom and Dad and I get excited and bound up by Mom.
“Sammy, NO!” I stop in my tracks and look at her, hoping she sees the question in my eyes. She pushes on my chest. Apparently I don’t get to partake in the cool air up front. I retreat to the back and continue pacing, trying my best not to think about the window and the air and the cool breeze coming from the front.
The jerking movements of the car settle to a steady buzz. I’m getting anxious again. I forget the small human is there and before I know it, I’m on top of her. “Ow! Sammy, settle down!” She pushes me off her and keeps her hand on my fur as if she can stop my pacing. It doesn’t work because I am a bundle of sizzling energy just waiting to be released.
The steady buzz of the car changes to stops and starts and finally, we stop for good. When the door opens, I leap out of the car and turn around a few times, getting my bearings. I know it’s not good to run ahead of Mom so I keep my forward bursts short and remember to come back right away.
I’m delirious with the smells – trees, running water, dirt, other humans and animals! I’m overwhelmed and my tail is back to its steady beat back and forth, back and forth. The younger human has a pretty tight hold on my leash at this point and I’m not able to greet the two dogs properly when they walk up to me. I think it makes them upset because one of them starts growling. I flick my head to the side, curious.
“Good girl, Sammy! Let’s go!” I don’t know what I did to earn her praise, but I don’t care. I lift my head a little higher and we start walking. Only, Mom doesn’t take my leash. I’m still with the smaller human. I glance back at Mom and wonder at this strange development. She doesn’t notice, so I assume everything is okay and continue walking on the hard ground that soon turns to dirt. We aren’t running, but we are definitely heading up.
I am filled with so many sounds ringing in my ears flopping in the breeze; so many scents filling up my nose even after I stick it in the dirt and end up with a rather fine dusting; so many people and things walking and zipping back and forth. We have to stop all the time, but sometimes I just stand in the middle of the dirt trail and I hear Mom saying, “Sammy, you’re going to get hit in the butt. Get over here!” After a tug on my leash, I sidle over to her, looking this way and that.
Once, the dirt changes to a different substance and I stop, not sure what to do. Do I walk forward? Do I stay? “Come, Sammy, it’s just a bridge, silly.” I don’t know what she means, but she’s on it, so it must be okay. The second time we come across one I remember, although I pause at the beginning, just in case.
Mom almost gives me water in time, but by the time we stop, I am so parched my tongue is no longer dripping; it’s just a large, meaty mass hanging limply over my teeth. She pours some into a small container and I am doing my best to get my muzzle in it so I can reach the cold goodness at the bottom, but it’s no use. I look up at her, hoping she knows.
“You need to pour more water in, she can’t reach the bottom,” Dad says.
She pours more in and I lap up the pouring water and the dregs at the bottom – she finally turns it a little so it gathers in a generous puddle. So much better! She pulls it away before I’m through and I follow her hand with my nose, nudging it, begging for more.
“I’ll give you more when we reach the top. You almost drank the whole bottle. Look at that!” Mom shows me, but all I see is water in a cage begging to be in my mouth.
We start again, and this time I’m with Mom. The smaller human went back and as much as I am happy to walk with pretty much anyone, I am comfortable next to Mom. We walk on and on and on and while the place we are walking is mostly shaded, I grow tired and weary. I start bumping my head into Mom’s leg, signaling her that I’m at my limit. As much as I hate to admit it, it is time for this old dog to rest her weary bones.
“Do you think we should stop?” I think Mom is talking to me so I lift my head, but no. She’s talking to Dad.
“I think we can go a little bit longer.”
Is he crazy? Okay, I just need to put one paw in front of the other and hope we are almost done. My head is down, my tail has stopped wagging and I’m just trudging along when Mom stops. “Which way?”
Dad walks in front of us and around a bend and comes back to gesture us forward. “Over here.”
We walk over and Mom is happy and laughing. “We made it!”
I sit, like the good dog I am, and wait.
She starts pulling things out of her bag and I get really excited thinking its water, but I smell treats and almost leap over to her. She pours some into the container and I crunch them down, hardly swallowing them as they slide down into my belly. They’re gone before I can even blink and I look back up at her. “I’ll just give her a few more. She’s already eaten half the bag!” I look between her and Dad, my tail wagging expectantly. She pours a few more in the container – so not enough! I finish them in record time and shove my muzzle in her hand, pleading for more. It looks like she’s putting them away. I’m hoping my eyes tell her how much I need more, but it isn’t to be. They are in the bag and she has closed it. I sigh inwardly as my butt slumps to the ground.
After some much needed water, I wait patiently as they sit and exclaim on what they see and talk to other visitors who come. I’m too weary to sniff them or my surroundings. I flip my ears lazily, hoping this excursion will be over soon.
Finally, Dad grabs my leash. I look at him and look at Mom, bewildered. She kisses him and then she’s off, running down the trail. I’m in shock! How could she just leave me like that? I look up at Dad and he smiles. “I hope you’re okay walking down with me.” He starts walking and I have to follow, but I can’t without some protest. I stop and pull on the leash, just to let him know I’m upset, but it doesn’t faze him. He keeps walking and I have no choice.
We make it back down in record time with a few stops along the way for other humans and their strange contraptions. I also can’t help myself from pulling off to the side of the trail to empty my belly. Dad laughs, “You couldn’t wait until we got home, eh?” I finish my business and we continue the rest of the way with just a quick swipe of my tongue on his hand to thank him for letting me stop.
When we make it down, I see Mom and I can’t help myself from leaping over to her. It takes everything I have to not jump up on her. I missed her! She bends down and I lick her face lovingly as she vigorously rubs my fur. “You’re such a good girl, Samus!”
I don’t remember the car ride home. As soon as the shiny black door is opened, I climb in, lay my head on the seat and without further adieu I’m deep in blissful sleep.