The Writer's Cramp 7/19/21 W/C 469
Today I am 21. I am considered an adult, in human eyes. But how old am I really?
This depends on which scale you use. If you use the rule used by humans, I am 147 years old. But that is impossible they say. I am used to the impossible. I was born to break the rules.
Let me tell you about myself.
I was born 21 years ago. My mother had seven others. But I was the only survivor. As a result, I have been favored since birth. Fed and coddled, protected and inspected.
One day, my benefactor came to speak.
“Arabelle Queen of Hearts,” he used my professional name, “we must speak of your future. You know that you are now ten human years. You are now too old to go to the shows. It is with great regret to tell you we must now retire you.”
I rose from my cushion. “My master, I respect the decision. But must I really retire? I trust my performance in the shows has been exemplary in the past. I have won ‘best of show' many times.”
He sat beside me. He stroked me. “I know this comes as a big disappointment. But rules are rules, and we must obey the rules of the organization. Your job, if you accept, will now entail teaching the young ones. You could be their guide.”
I lay back down. This was distressing news. I didn’t know how to act.
“Your mother would have been proud.”
“Leave my mother out of the discussion. She is not here to defend herself. She comes from a long line of winners. Her name is honored above all others. She was Monticella Arabella.”
The benefactor rose over me. He spoke gently.
“When your mother, Monticella, came to live with us, she was an orphan. We gave her a safe place. She gave us you. We never knew her origin, just that her gift of speech to you is rare. We kept her secret to this day. No one knows of this gift. We trust you will also pass this secret to your young some day. You are now an adult. Perhaps not in dog years, as per Earth tradition, but in human years.”
I rose to the benefactor. We walked to the door. Another dog stood across the yard.
“What dog stands waiting?”
“That, Queen, is your mate. We have chosen him for you. His name is Angus.”
“Angus? That’s it?”
“Well, he’ll tell you his full name when he’s ready, and if he desires.”
“Does he speak?”
“Only dogspeak. You do remember that ancient language?”
The two old friends stood for a time, then Arabelle Queen of Hearts left her benefactor. Angus welcomed her as his new mate. She never looked back.
It was her freedom day.