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Rated: E · Fiction · Animal · #2187164
A farmer's loyal dog who has lived for one soul purpose: to make her owner happy.

The horse came back alone, that not being a good sign to Vanessa. She stood rigid as her owner's clydesdale sped past her. She followed it with her gaze, twisting her head and watching it run and disappear into the haze. Fear gnawed at her belly, her ears laid back on her head. Her brown and black german shepherd pelt was soiled with soot, her sense of smell hindered because of the thick smoke. The fire had destroyed the barn completely, her owner being inside freeing all the animals.

But he hadn't come out yet. It had been half an hour since he went in, and when he did he had told Vanessa to stay. She whined and barked in protest but he didn't hear. Now Vanessa paced around the barnyard field, watching and waiting for him to come back. But she couldn't bear it any longer.

Scrabbling at the muddy ground, she pelted toward the barn where the fire was still ablaze. She growled in surprise and swerved out of the way just in time, nearly being trampled by the huge hooves of a frightened cow. But she didn't waste any time. She continued on, ignoring the heat and burning sensation in her nose and lungs. She was about to leap over a small burning piece of wood when another bigger piece fell from the ceiling. She skidded to a halt, panting hard.

She had to find him. He was everything to her. He had rescued her from a cruel place where men came and either traded a handful of green paper or a bag of small green plants that they sat around inhaling all day for a dog. And the man who was in charge of the place was mean. He beat them, kicked them, forced them to fight their own littermates. It was horrific. Until Vanessa's owner had come and saved her.

She had slipped through the rusting bars of her tiny cage and headed for the big black pathway in which large metal creatures ran across tirelessly. Her owner had took his creature by the side of the road and picked Vanessa up and took her with him. She was then named after his mate who had dies from some sort of sickness; for she could smell the depression, illness, and death in the whole house when they returned home. And sensing this, she stayed with her owner wherever he went, making sure he stayed happy. And that's why she stayed outside while she watched her beloved human run into the barn and save his other animals. It's also why she herself was now in the barn: to make sure he was alive so she could keep continuing to make him happy.

Looking around, she strained her ears and, ignoring the acrid smell, tried to sniff out her owner. Finally, she heard weak--very weak--wheezing coming from her left. She swivled her ears that direction and ran on, following the sound desperately. She had to leap over burning hay bales and duck under blazing pieces of roof, stall, and equipment, but she finally reached him.

She was horrified to see his clothes and skin covered in thick black smudges, his beard singed at the end, and more frienteningly, him laying on the ground hardly able to breath. She padded up to him and whined in his ear and nudged him gently. He didn't respond. She barked at him and nipped his cheek. He slowly opened his eyes. He said something in human talk like "told" and "stay." But Vanessa didn't care. She tugged his torn sleeve, urging him to get up and follow her. He didn't. She then looked at his legs.

They had been crushed. A bone jutted out of one, blood turning black due to the ash falling all around them. Vanessa then looked at where he lay. They were in a stall, the door wide open.

The cow.

When he opened the stall door, the cow was scared and bolted, trampling him before he could move out of the way. Her gut twisted.

"Vanessa," her owner said in quiet, hoarse voice. "Go." She whined and nudged him. She didn't want to. She didn't want to leave him.

He told her again, "Vanessa, go." She looked into his eyes. Love and sadness sparked in them. And so did years of them being together, playing, working, sharing bad times, celebrating good ones.

She also saw that it would make him happy.

She whined again. Vanessa felt torn. He then smiled his toothy grin.


Vanessa laid down and snuggled up to him for the last time. She stared into the flames, not able to see the love and sadness mixed in his gentle blue gaze. But he patted her head and she summoned the courage to look at him. Tears leaked from his eyes, falling into her fur. He buried his face in her scruff and she laid her head on his shoulder.

He then said something in human talk again, but this time: "I love you." And with that he looked up, shoved Vanessa away and before she could jump back to him, a crossbeam from the roof fell in between them. Vanessa whined and cried, the feeling of being alone too much to bear. But she knew it would make him happy. So with that in mind, she cast one last look at the blazing crossbeam, and ran for the entrance.

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